Motivation’s the key to kitchen creativity

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Nayar: "I want my chefs to learn and experiment:
Nayar: "I want my chefs to learn and experiment:
Having spent half my life in catering I still wake up with great enthusiasm and energy to go into work. I need that drive to push me and the team forward. The day that I wake up, without that feeling, that’s when it’s time to call it a day.

I’ve been lucky enough to have worked in some great kitchens with some amazing people. No matter where I was, I was always surrounded by motivated, eager and excited people. When people ask me what I take with me from my time in Michelin kitchens, it’s exactly that.

Not the technical cooking or the extreme discipline. It’s the eagerness to push forward and keep evolving. It was always a sense of, what was done yesterday was good, but let’s make it even better today.

Now spending my days in a small kitchen in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside I try to take this aspect with me. We have some great talent here, but it is rare and these people need to be nourished. I have goals, plans and ideas of what to do and where we want to go. I expect everyone to work hard, bloody hard sometimes, but I never want them to step into the kitchen without that excitement and hunger. It is up to me to fuel that hunger and get them excited.

I want to show them how to butcher half a cow, take them nettle picking, to visit the local rapeseed farm. I want their interest to grow and the more I show them, the more they come back for more. I don’t do it because it’s trendy to visit farms and go foraging, I do it because it’s fun. If they have seen where the cow lives, what it eats and how it’s looked after, then they will have more understanding and respect for how to treat the meat and how it tastes.

I always tell my chefs, whatever they haven’t done before, let’s do it. If it is cooking a lobster, preparing calf brains, starting a sourdough or anything else, let’s do it. I want them to learn, and the more I can teach them, the longer and harder they will work for me — hopefully.

It’s not always possible to do such things. But if there is a chance, take that moment and do something or go somewhere, because as a chef or an employer, you get back so much more in the long run. 

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