We just read these The 22 Rules of Storytelling by (former) Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats. Her approach to storytelling immediately resonated with us and we have taken her work and adapted it to create The 22 Rules to Delicious.
The 22 rules to Delicious
#1: You admire a dish for what it tries to do more than for its success.
#2: Keep in mind what's interesting to you as a diner, not what's fun to do as a chef. They can be very different.
#3: Trying for a specific inspiration is important, but you won't see what your dish is actually about until you've created it. Now taste, redesign, recook.
#4: Today I have X-ingredient. Most people use it for _____. My favorite dish I ever tasted with it was _____. Because of that I would like to ______. It will work because ________. Now cook.
#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine dishes/ingredients. Hop over detours. You'll feel like you're losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
#6: What are yours cook good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
#7: Come up with your dish before you figure out how to make it. Seriously. It’s easier to work towards a goal than stare at a blank plate.
#8: Finish your dish, make it delicious, and then send it, even if it's not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time or you’ll work on that one plate forever.
#9: When you're stuck, make a list of what you WOULDN'T add. Lots of times the ingredient you need will show up.
#10: Pull apart the dishes you like. What you like in them is a part of who you are as a chef; you've got to recognize it before you can use it.
#11: Putting it on the plate lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you'll never share it with anyone.
#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
#13: Give your dishes a point of view. Universal appeal might seem like a good idea, but if they can make it at home why come to a restaurant?
#14: Why must you make THIS dish? What's the belief burning within you that your dish feeds off of? That's the heart of it.
#15: If you were a customer, paying for this dish, how would you feel? Honesty with yourself creates value for the diner.
#16: Why do you need to use this ingredient? What makes it special? Why do you want to work with it? Why does your customer want to order it?
#17: No work is ever wasted. If a dish isn’t working, let go and move on - the ideas will come back around to be useful later.
#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Cooking is testing and executing, not constant refining.
#19: Building on past ideas to bring ingredients together is smart; relying on past dishes to get a new idea to completion is cheating.
#20: Exercise: take the building blocks of a dish you dislike. How would you rearrange them into what you DO like?
#21: Identify with your environment/ingredient/occasion. What would YOU want to eat in this setting?
#22: What's the essence of your dish? Most economical/functional way to create and share it at its peak? If you know that, you can build out from there.