A thing that has always been a source of inspiration for me is the city, is my environment. I wasn't born in New York City, but I grew up here in the city. I feel like it's an endless source of inspiration culinarily. It's a melting pot. You can use Mexican ingredients with French technique. You can use French ingredients with Japanese technique, and it's all acceptable. It's all fair. You can draw from so many different things. Your city, where you are, your place, is an infinite source of inspiration. I think of urban terroir. People talk about the terroir of cooking. It seems like they always think of chefs out in the countryside cooking, but look around you. New York City is an endless opportunity with flavors from all over the world. Inspiration is everywhere. You look up, and you see metal, and you see steel, and you see glass, and you see stone, and you see a tree popping through the concrete. You realize the way the sun passes through a fire escape is maybe a way you can arrange food on a plate. You never know where the inspiration will come, but your surroundings, the city that you live in, or the places that you've been are infinite opportunities, sources for inspiration. I tell my cooks that you never know when inspiration will strike, but you have to be prepared at all times. So to this day I still carry a notepad and two pens for redundancy because you never know when you're going to have a good idea, but you have to be ready to receive it when it happens. My mother told me— she's a graphic designer by trade—she said you can't plan for inspiration. You can't know when inspiration will strike, but you can go hunting for it. You can go after it. You can't wake up and say, “Today I'm going to be creative,” but you can wake up and say, “Today I'm going to try and be creative.” New York City is an endless opportunity with flavors from all over […]
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