Yesterday, I came up with a new recipe. I wouldn’t call it a new dish, because nothing in it is especially original. It is fish and seafood ramen – but the ingredients, the amounts, the seasonings… These were my own.
But the interesting thing is not the dish itself, but how the idea came to me. It was not because I was looking. It came out of nowhere, like a sudden burst of inspiration.
Only… Not quite. It didn’t come like that, not completely.
The day before, I saw a dish of shrimp linguini with coriander being served. That was a data point. It didn’t lead to me thinking of anything, but it got filed away somewhere inside.
At lunchtime, on the day when I came up with the recipe, I asked for some mayonnaise to dip the chips that came with my steak. They had none – instead, the waitress asked me if the house’s dip would do. “Why not?” I thought.
That was the missing ingredient.
When I tasted it, and tried to figure out the ingredients that made up the dip, I tasted a touch of shellfish. Suddenly, the idea for the recipe came to me. I knew the taste profile I wanted to achieve, and I knew what to use as a base. Everything else fell into place from there.
You don’t just have ideas – whether it’s for dishes, books or music – by sitting around trying to have ideas.
Ideas come from inspiration. And inspiration is like a campfire – it requires fuel. It must have something to consume. You need to collect experiences if you want to come up with ideas.
It’s those experiences that feed the flame of creation.