fixing what is not broken


I recently learned about one of the top chefs in America, Grant Achatz.  His restaurant is known for its innovation in reimagining food and the way we experience it – from floating desserts and edible art to pillows of seasoned air.  While I was fascinated by all of Achatz’s creations, what most made an impression on me was his philosophy.

While his restaurant was at the pinnacle of success, he made the decision to close it temporarily to renovate the building and create a new menu from scratch.  Some may ask, “Why fix something that’s not broken?”  But Achatz believes that keeping something because it’s “perfect” or “the best” is counter-creativity.

He said, “I don’t think Wednesday night we’re going to put out the best meal that we’ve ever put out, but I think it’s important that we’re putting out different meals.  To me, the evolution of the experience is almost more important.”*

In other words, he values taking a risk by trying something new and hopefully better, even if the end result is not always better.  The process takes priority over the end result.

As a perfectionist who typically favors routine over change, this attitude inspired me to humble myself by asking, “What can I fix in my life that I may not see as broken?”  What changes can I make in my career, in my habits, in my relationships, in my character?

May we challenge ourselves to recognize that maybe sometimes the “evolution of the experience” is more important than perfection.  And sometimes, it may be only through that experience that we ever truly achieve progress.

*Chef’s Table / Season 2 / Grant Achatz