Conversation with Rene Redzepi, chef and co-owner of NOMA restaurant in Copenhagen.
During the press conference you mentioned that success kills creativity.
RR: It’s extremely difficult to achieve success, especially for chef. In some particular moment, you use the same patterns, you do the same, you repeat, you are not creative. In the end of the day, you come closer to the wall and just repeat your actions. From the outside, it seems you are developing, but in fact you make a step back. Then, you have to realize that failure is an element of the success. It is alternative and rescue just as a remedy to change your habits. Successful person has to accept the possibility of failure.
How important is creativity for you?
It is everything for me. It is 100 % of my work. Even though you have perfect products in your kitchen, or you know wonderful technics- without creativity you are just artificer. For the chefs who want to make new things, creativity is the most important element.
What are you doing to be more creative though?
I come for Cook It Raw for example. Events like that, triggers natural levels of creativity. CIR is a big challenge. You do not have your own kitchen, cooks and tools. You do not have anything what usually makes your work easier. But, from the other hand it makes perfect opportunity to be inspired by other amazing chefs.
Due to Cook it Raw. What is more important: people or the place?
People are the most important. Our meetings consist of variety of feelings: fear, happiness, curiosity but also knowledge and magic. Compared to that kind of emotions, location has secondary importance.
For many young chefs you are a master. Do you have some advices for those who want to become successful and well known?
Firstly, fame is foolishness. If you want to become a famous chef, probably you will never manage to do that. Key thing is to find your sources of inspiration. If you find what really inspires you, and you will transform it in your own cooking style, like it is said: you won’t work a day.
What is your opinion about Polish chefs? Some on them have worked for you?
I do remember Robert Trzópek and Piotr Piątek. Robert was working in fish section. It is an extremely modest and quiet man. A Totally antithesis of Piotr – who is more extravert type of person. I had also many stagiares from Poland, but only those two cooks I did remember. They are incredibly talented. I do not understand the extremely level of competition between Polish chefs, it is unbelievable. I do not mean that competition is something bad, but in my opinion cooks from the same trade should cooperate, for their own good.
I think it is Polish nature. We like to fight.
I do understand. But try to imagine situation like this. Five men start music band. They are more and more successful. Almost got famous. And just before the entire world will learn who they are, they are fighting for the copyrights- for the songs that nobody has even heard of. And in the end, conflicted they decide about the end of the band. Prospective band is no longer existing. That is why, my advice for Polish chefs is: be careful.
We talked at the Hyatt Hotel Regency, during COOK IT RAW press conference in Warsaw. The article was published in the magazine “Czas Wina” in 2012.
Picture courtesy of Food Service Magazine.