Managing a kitchen full of workers to consistently produce excellent food, perfectly timed so that every dish is served in unison, plated to look effortlessly beautiful, is nothing short of magic. It takes years of training and decades of practice, but when everything is going well, it feels like the entire crew is caught up in an elegant choreography of execution.
Despite the demanding schedule and high-pressure work environment, the siren call of the kitchen can be inescapable. Working as a chef is a unique artistic calling, and if you hear it singing your name, all the burnt fingertips of a lifetime won’t teach you to keep your distance. Preparing food is an act of love, and the final product is often much more than the sum of its parts. Here, we’ve collected 12 quotes from famous chefs talking about cooking, life, and love. May they inspire you both in and out of the kitchen.
I’ve been a cook all my life, but I am still learning to be a good chef. I’m always learning new techniques and improving beyond my own knowledge because there is always something new to learn and new horizons to discover.
— José Andrés
Get up every day and try a little harder than the day before.
— Emeril Lagasse
Food is culture. Food is a gateway to democracy and diplomacy, a gateway to communication and friendships.
— Timon Balloo
If I'm an advocate for anything, it's to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else's shoes or at least eat their food. It's a plus for everybody.
— Anthony Bourdain
I value connection and finding the common denominator in food, because it is something that can transcend race and ethnicity and gender.
— Nyesha Arrington
Never be a food snob. Learn from everyone you meet – the fish guy at your market, the lady at the local diner, farmers, cheese makers. Ask questions, try everything, and eat up!
— Rachael Ray
My parents taught me to take what you learn and make it your own. That’s what being a chef is.
— Preston Clark
Every individual’s journey is different. No two things work exactly the same. You will make many mistakes. Take ownership that you made the mistake, learn from it, move on, and work to not repeat it.
— Emily D. Edwards
I wish someone would have told me to not sweat the small stuff. I took everything personally at the beginning of my career and instead of looking at it as feedback, I took it to heart.
— Crystal Blanchette
Take risks and you’ll get the payoffs. Learn from your mistakes until you succeed.
— Bobby Flay
There were two things that kept me from throwing in the towel during the beginning stages of my career: faith and passion. I knew I had come too far to give up and I believed that the best was yet to come.
— Jolie Oree-Bailey
I love faltering. I love, in a sense, coming up short. Because you learn nothing from success. You learn so much from failing.
— Charlie Trotter
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