I had the opportunity to listen to humanitarian chef Jose Andres recently. Chef Andres started his talk with a beautiful story about learning to cook from his dad.
Every Sunday, his dad used to invite a whole host of people from the village for lunch. His dad loved cooking and his son was his de-facto assistant. Despite his eagerness to learn how to cook the paella, his father used to always put him on fire duty. This meant going to the forest, finding logs, and then making sure the fire was burning with the right intensity.
One day, his father explained why his obsession with the fire. He shared that everyone who was eager to learn how to cook paella jumped to trying to stir the paella or put ingredients into the pot. However, he believed that the most important part of cooking well was learning how to control the fire. Control the fire right and you’ll figure out the rest.
This was a wonderful lesson in cooking for an eager young cook. But, in retrospect, it turned out to be an important life lesson that stayed with him since.
Learn how to control your fire. The rest will follow.