Top chefs reveal where they find inspiration for their recipes

The  Staff Canteen

Esteemed chefs including former MasterChef: The Professionals and Great British Menu contestant, Adam Handling and Ruth Hansom from the Ritz, which holds a star in the Michelin Guide UK, share with us where they find inspiration for their recipes.

For years, cook books have long been held as the cornerstone of inspiration but with the rise of the internet and social media, food ideas and techniques can be found with just a click of a button.

Simon Jewitt, head chef, Norse
Simon Jewitt, head chef, Norse

We spoke to various chefs to find out what gets their creative juices flowing.

Most of the world’s biggest chefs have published cookbooks, sharing their secrets, tips and recipes in one handy source. For many, tradition still prevails when sourcing recipes and these books are the first port of call.

Simon Jewitt, head chef at the acclaimed Norse in Harrogate said: “I still read a lot of books and have just ordered the Geranium book, a couple I keep going back to is Biota and Relæ. When I look at books I tend to look for technique rather than product, that way I can adapt the recipe for what’s in season and to keep it original”.

This also rings true for head pastry chef Lucy Jones. She affectionately refers to Frederick Baus’ ‘Au Coeur de Saverus’ as the pastry bible. She said: “I like Stephan Le Rouxs’ book ‘Praline’, that’s got some great ideas.”

However, the rise of apps such as Instagram means that chefs have access to thousands of photos of food from every cuisine at their fingertips. Social media has revolutionised the way food and recipes can be shared, from viral videos on Facebook to foodporn on Instagram.

>>> Related: If you don't already, make sure you follow The Staff Canteen on Instagram for dish inspiration 

Chef Joe Mccarthy from Wychwood Inn said: “Social media plays a massive part for inspiration nowadays, I have met so many chefs through Facebook and Instagram that all bring something else to the table.”

Adam Handling
Adam Handling

Chef Neil Ferguson revealed that he has begun using social media for inspiration. He said: “There is much more out there these days then when I started. You get drawn in for hours.”

Adam Handling, chef patron of The Frog said: “I get most of my inspiration from eating out – in both London and when I’m travelling. I also follow lots of foodies on Instagram and get a lot of my inspiration from what everyone else is cooking and eating. Trends in the food industry are constantly changing and I like to be ahead of the curve.”

Both cook books and social media have been key sources of inspiration for chef Ruth Hansom. But, for the Young National Chef of the Year 2017, one other crucial factor is eating out and actually getting a feel for food.

She said: “Another important thing for me is eating out. It's all well and good looking at a picture but actually experiencing the food can be really inspiring especially if you're left wondering how the chef has done it.”

But, these aren’t the only ways to get inspired. The list of ways to get your imagination going is endless. Just ask last year’s North West Young chef of the Year, Daniela Tucci. “I get my inspiration from everywhere!" She said.

So, clearly cook books aren’t going anywhere any time soon. However, chef’s starting to find new and innovative ways to be inspired can really benefit the trade. The combination of traditional and emerging methods of sourcing recipes can only mean one thing – even more delicious and creative food being created.

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By Melo Ruswa

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 10th March 2017

Top chefs reveal where they find inspiration for their recipes