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Pioneering Chef Juan Mari Arzak's Best Advice for Aspiring Chefs

It includes going to college and thinking "like a kid."

Juan Mari Arzak/Facebook

At this year's MAD4 symposium in Copenhagen, attendees were given a book of essays to complement the live talks at the conference. Legendary chef Juan Mari Arzak (Arzak, Spain)'s contribution was an essay about what he believes the future of the restaurant world will look like. In the piece he offers up some serious advice for aspiring chefs who want to make an impact. Below, the most memorable suggestions:

  • "I genuinely feel that to be a cook today, you have to get a bachelor's degree before you start in a kitchen. In this new landscape, you are better served if you have general knowledge and a sense of context; this helps, too, if the cooking path turns out not to be for you."
  • "You have to respect the guests and be professional, but you can't be servile, because the most important thing is showing them that you have heart and you want to give them everything you have."
  • "If you want to make something happen and build something special, think like a kid. If you don't want to do what everyone else is doing or has been doing, go to a playground or walk around a park and see how kids carry themselves: the way they walk, the way they interact with everyday objects, the way they ask questions about the most basic things."

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