Show 250, December 2, 2017: James Beard Award-winning Author, Karen Page, Kitchen Creativity

Karen PagePerhaps eclipsing painters and musicians, chefs have emerged as the world’s leading creative professionals—so there is no better place to turn for insight into the creative process than the pages of the new book by two-time James Beard Award-winners author Karen Page and photographer Andrew Dornenburg, creators of the beloved 400,000-copy bestseller The Flavor Bible, named one of the ten best cookbooks of the past century by Forbes.

KITCHEN CREATIVITY: Unlocking Culinary Genius—with Wisdom, Inspiration, and Ideas from the World’s Most Creative Chefs is filled with secrets and strategies from more than 100 leading culinary minds—including José Andrés, Dan Barber, Rick Bayless, Daniel Boulud, Amanda Cohen, Kyle Connaughton, Curtis Duffy, Emily Luchetti, Eric Ripert, Marcus Samuelsson, and Joshua Skenes. Beyond a cookbook, KITCHEN CREATIVITY is a guide to a more inventive and intuitive approach to cooking (without recipes!)—one that will inspire readers to think, improvise, and cook like the world’s best chefs.

Anyone who’s ever dreamed of walking into a kitchen and creating a dish from scratch, knowing exactly how to season it to perfection, will find the book’s three-stage process a godsend:

  • In Stage 1: Mastery, a cook copies the masters—their dishes, their techniques, their seasoning—to develop a knowledge and skill base. Here, Page recommends essential books for the chef’s library, explains the difference between enhancing flavor and adding flavor, lists trusted food sources for the best-quality ingredients, and demonstrates how to learn time-tested flavor pairings and affinities.
  • During Stage 2: Alchemy, a cook integrates and applies new knowledge and experience, converting ingredients and classic dishes into something fresh.
  • By Stage 3: Creativity, a cook connects and combines elements into a new creation. Page teaches you how to take a look at the cooking techniques you know, and the dishes you love, to play with different combinations and create dishes without recipes, using your informed imagination. You’ll also find countless proven techniques for enhancing creativity through both stimulation (including travel, reading, and dining out) and stillness (such as lowering brain wave frequencies via meditation and yoga).

The book’s A-to-Z section prompts starting points for creative inspiration, from flavor pairings for marijuana, to Damian Sansonetti’s idea of grinding Italian rice to make gluten-free gnocchi, to the dishes top chefs cook on Super Bowl Sunday.

Karen Dornenburg is our guest.