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LANDMARK’s chefs on how playfulness leads to inspiration and innovation
Spend enough time in kitchens and one thing becomes readily apparent: chefs play just like children. This is, of course, meant in the best of ways – their inner child is oftentimes the key to new forms of culinary expression that transcend staid rules of fine dining, in the process creating dishes that similarly inspire a childlike wonder in us diners. To celebrate LANDMARK’s Year of Play, we asked three accomplished chefs for their thoughts on the relationship between food and play in reimagining the boundaries of modern cuisine.
Oscar Luzon de Arcos, ZUMA
I believe that play is a key element that motivates creativity. In the kitchen I am like a coach, training and building a team who are inspired to create new things. In our line of work and during service times, consistency is key. Playing releases creativity which helps to ease stress yet maintains focus at the same time. The local fish markets are a regular hangout of mine on or off work. I enjoy discovering the varieties of fish that are caught every day. I also play football in my free time. Each player has a role to play and it takes the whole team to work together to score a goal. The parallel to running a kitchen is evident.
Umberto Bombana, 8½ Otto e Mezzo
I love art; I visit different museums and art galleries all over the world for inspiration. When I incorporate interesting elements into my dishes, they become like art pieces. This pleases both my guests and myself.
Valentino Ugolini, CIAK In The Kitchen
I can be very playful especially when trying out different ingredients, methods or approaches to cooking the same dishes. I can always learn something new from each trial. I love my job very much and even during my free time, I do a lot of things related to my work, like visiting the market to explore new ingredients and also to keep up with the trends of each season. Moreover, I like to watch movies, especially those related to kitchens and food which I find very inspiring.