Why creativity is key for chefs and restaurants

The latest Academy seminar focused on one of the most important topics for any chef: creativity, and how to bring structure to your creative work whilst running a successful restaurant.

Presenting were chefs from two of the world’s most avant-garde restaurants: Ramon Perisé Moré, R&D Director at Mugaritz in Spain, and Diego Prado, Head of R&D at Alchemist in Copenhagen, also named on the recent 50 Next list as a Hospitality Pioneer, a category supported by the Academy.

Both shared details of their respective projects and current work, whilst also giving practical tips for how to encourage creativity both personally and within a kitchen team.

“Creativity is a matter of teamwork, and time and space,” said Perisé Moré. But referring to the need to keep R&D outside of the day-to-day running of the kitchen, for example in a dedicated space, he continued: “The mindset for creativity is different to the one you need to work in the kitchen.”

Prado also emphasised “the power and importance of collaboration” and how essential to the creative process it is to work with similarly open-minded people (especially given the projects underway at Alchemist currently, which include coagulating milk using ants, and whipping silk). “We’ve grown a lot, but only because we found the right people,” he said of the restaurant, which has been open for less than two years in its current iteration.

Both chefs also talked about viewing creativity in a different way, whether that be encouraging your guests to also be creative through your dishes, or placing less importance on innovation. “We’re not doing anything new, we’re just changing the context of it,” said Prado.

Both chefs were also available for a live Q&A with Academy members following their presentations.

The seminar was the latest educational activity for the Academy, which is seeking to nurture the next generation of culinary talent through an educational program that will teach, inspire and connect them with some of the most influential figures in gastronomy. The program is available exclusively to members via the Academy’s private Facebook group, and soon, in a reserved area on the website.