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tagliatelle with orak arik

There is this chef, working hard in a prominent Michelin-rated restaurant. His kitchen is always busy, although what he and his staff are doing is not always visible. As a respected customer you just want to enjoy a beautifully decorated tasty meal. Whether is done through magic or sweat-and-blood does not matter much.

After a long day, the chef goes home and always enjoys himself, whenever family duty is not calling. Do you think he grabs a bag of pop-corn and then watches some cheap flick on the TV? Apparently he prefers to sharpen his craftsmanship in his personal kitchen. It’s private and less glamorous, yet that is a new stage of freedom. No restaurant satisfaction is at risk, no serving deadline is approaching. Zen moment.

Every now and then, fellow chefs from the neighboring joints drop by, providing a shower of advice and critique (and if that is not enough, Twitter is just a few taps away) in exchange for some cups of carefully brewed best-of-the-best coffee. In that hidden corner, an otherwise boring task to a layman is often carried out. One day it is about perfecting zest-flavored crème brûlée, another time the challenge is forging the most delicious Inarizushi ever.

In many aspects, the situation above resembles the good traits of an engineer whom an organization loves to employ. It is therefore in the best of interests of all involved parties to cultivate and promote the passion. The restaurant owner should not worry that the chef’s innovative crème brûlée becomes a masterpiece which steals the spotlight, as the chef most likely does not plan to open his own cafe anytime soon. Meanwhile, hours and hours spent in the kitchen, personal or not, would indirectly benefit whoever employs him, present and future.

After all, like what George Bernard Shaw once said,

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.”