Six lessons learned from "Chef’s Table"

The first season of Chef’s Table portrays the lives of six different Michelin chefs. Each episode explains how a chef came to be and what influenced their style of cooking. Here are the six “lessons learned” to become truly exceptional at what you do.

Go against the grain

When Massimo Bottura started serving untraditional dishes at his osteria in Italy, none of the locals appreciated his creations. When a stranded culinary journalist finally found his restaurant, he was praised for challenging the status quo of the Italian cuisine.

Help others help you

Dan Barber is a huge advocate of sustainable agriculture and food production. When he talked to farmers about rotational crops, he noticed the significance of rye. Although the demand for rye is low, growing this crop is a necessity to keep the soil healthy. Barber started serving dishes that included rye at his restaurant, which is great for everyone involved; the farmers are able to sell a hard-to-move product, while restaurants get great and unique produce!

Don’t get too comfortable

When things become too familiar we start slacking off. Humans need a change of scenery from time to time–-even when you happen to live on a beautiful island in Patagonia, like Francis Mallmann does. “You have to let it go at the best moment”, was what Mallman said when talking about his team. “Because from there on, there is only one way: down”.

Go big or go home

At Nakayama’s first restaurant she served sushi. Not because she loved making sushi, but because it was the safe choice. When she realized this wasn’t the way to go she sold the business, did some soul searching and opened a new restaurant where she serves modern kaiseki (Japanse multi-course tasting menus).

Don’t lose sight of what’s important

Getting Attica on the culinary world map sure wasn't a walk in the park. When Ben Shewry started working at the restaurant he put in some grueling hours, without getting much in return. When his son started playing in a basketball team he didn’t make it to a single game for the first year. Now he’s the team’s coach.

Embrace constraints

Magnus Nilsson’s restaurant is located 600 kilometer north of Stockholm. Due to the cold climate and his dedication to local ingredients, fresh produce our out of the question from early October until spring. This has led to the resurgence of cooking techniques like fermenting. Instead of being limited by his surroundings, he used these constraints to set his cooking apart from the rest.