Making Mistakes In Pursuit Of Excellence

May 7, 2018 | Cooking Tips

Over eight-teen years have passed since I first stepped foot in a professional kitchen. A lot has changed since my first-day prepping vegetables in a Chinese restaurant. I have learned a lot over the years and grown more than I knew I could. It likely wouldn’t surprise you to know that I can create delicious food out of only a few ingredients. I can make something magical out of almost nothing. I have set myself down a path towards excellence and work every day towards it. I’m not bragging just setting the scene. What would likely surprise you is that even with everything I know, I have screwed up way more food in my life than you have.

In the last two weeks, I have made mistakes that have almost completely ruined two meals.

I have made more mistakes and made more inedible food in eight-teen years than any home cook will make in a lifetime. To be perfectly clear, this is not something in my past. In the last two weeks, I have made mistakes that have almost completely ruined two meals. Part of this is that I have really high standards for myself and so what I consider to be a giant mess up others may consider fine. Another aspect of this is just sheer numbers. I have cooked thousands upon thousands of meals, of course, I have messed up more than you.

The main reason I have messed up way more meals than you is because I’m willing to make mistakes in order to learn and to create something I haven’t seen before. I experiment, I try new things. Sometimes I just do dumb shit, have no idea why and it either works out or it doesn’t.

No one is excellent right off the bat.

I operate based on a philosophy that the pursuit of excellence is a continuing series of mistakes we have stopped making one by one. No one is excellent right off the bat. No one attains anything great in their life without making a pile of mistakes. As cliche as it sounds, we learn from our mistakes.

There are a million reasons why people aren’t willing to make mistakes when cooking. I think a lot of it has to do with the imaginary perfectionism we see constantly on Instagram and the food network. Very few people are willing to show their mistakes. They aren’t willing to show how the sausage is made so to speak. This gives a false sense of isolationism. It is not unreasonable, based on the information provided to think that you are the only one who has ever messed up a meal. But it’s not true.

Mistakes are the tiles that pave the path to excellence.

I’m here to give you permission to mess up. It is okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to take risks. Try new things. I promise you that when you have to eat something that tastes like shit because you messed it up, you learn quickly not to make that mistake again. If you aren’t willing to make mistakes, you will never become a better cook. You will never learn to truly enjoy cooking and you might as well just lay down and die. Life is about learning. Learning is about making mistakes. Mistakes are the tiles that pave the path to excellence.




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