What is the secret to increasing process quality while saving energy, effort and time?
When my eldest son returned home from cooking school at Le Cordon Bleu, the first thing I asked him to make for me was a soufflé. Apart from being my favorite dessert, this particular dish is a potent testament to human ingenuity.
How anyone came up with this in the first place is a great example of persistent trial and error. To say that the original invention and every subsequent successful execution of a souffle is unlikely and difficult is a gross understatement.
Watching Kyle wrestle this beautiful creation into existence is always an inspiration. A soufflé, like many things, is the product of an algorithm. It takes enormous craft to pull one off–all the precise mixing and temperature adjustments that have to be just so–and he's always been crafty.
When he was still quite young, he devised a crafty algorithm for the board game Monopoly. He noticed that few of his opponents purchased any of the cheap light blue properties (Connecticut, Vermont and Oriental) early in the game as they passed go with fresh cash . He also figured out that houses and hotels on these were relatively cheap, allowing him to get an early monopoly with a limited cash position. He nonchalantly bought all three properties, built them up and used his increasing rent cashflow to quite quickly bust up and buy up all the other monopolies bankrupting everyone else. His only mistake was telling me.
Kyle is now working his way up in the kitchen of Taylor Bonnyman and Marguerite Keogh at the Michelin-starred restaurant the Five Fields in the London neighborhood of Chelsea. They have given him a piece of the kitchen to manage and he has developed algorithms for each component. They allow him to create a great result with minimal effort and he uses the time saved on the parts to achieve a greater whole.
Kyle has been working around the world immersing himself in the craft and picked this area with its high density of inspired culinary artisans to mount his breakthrough. He is learning what goes into a single Michelin star and what it might take to get a second and third. No doubt he will emerge with a novel Monopoly algorithm for how to run a world-class business with the kind of quality of life Chefs rarely attain. I assume we'll be part owners in a restaurant at some point. It's a matter only of time. I assume it will serve soufflé.
Ingenuity is for sure the product of flashes of genius, but there is no substitute for full immersion, time in the game and trial and error. Ask lots of questions. Study the masters. Experiment and Observe. There are no short cuts in figuring out a short cut.
This is the first post in the new series of curiosity and creativity. Book 3 with Bruce Croxon and John Eckert of Round 13 Capital is available in a few weeks, Order yours now and catch up on back issues you don't have.