As a chef, it can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations and daily issues that arise in the kitchen. When wearing so many hats for both staff and members, it’s normal to get stuck in the creative process and lose inspiration when creating new menus. However, there are ways to proactively add sources of inspiration to your day without waiting for it to strike when you need it most. Inspiration takes many different forms—and can come from the most unlikely sources.
Connecting with food should be a key element of seeking menu inspiration. Especially when having a difficult time finding creativity in the club’s kitchen environment, there’s nothing better than eating somewhere new. Whether eating locally or planning a trip, it’s important to see how other chefs combine flavors and techniques to create unique dishes. Don’t be afraid to ask these chefs questions as well, especially if you don’t know much about a dish you enjoyed. Discovering new cuisines can challenge and inspire the way you cook. By finding dishes that excite and speak to you, you can use that feeling to achieve similar goals when creating new dishes for your club’s menu.
It’s impossible to know everything about cooking, but staying educated on new cooking styles and recipes will help keep menus fresh and relevant. Having a constant visual source of inspiration has never been easier. Subscribing to websites and magazines like Club + Resort Chef will provide a steady stream of ideas. Click here to subscribe to C+RC’s print edition and here for its e-newsletter—both free—and click here to check out C+RC’s dedicated recipe site. Following chefs, restaurants (and C+RC) on social media, watching videos and shows on YouTube or other streaming services, and looking through cookbooks are all sources of inspiration easily available when you need to get the creative juices flowing.
When trying to create new dishes, it can be easy to try and force ideas, but this pressure can have a negative effect on the creative process. People often do their best thinking when they least expect it, whether during a walk, eating at new places, or while doing research. To make the most out of your inspiration, write down ideas whenever they come to you. When it’s time to sit down and write new menus, you’ll already have a master list to pull from for inspiration.