I’m am a little tired of TV cooking shows to be honest, for what else is there to say?
But after starting in on Netflix’s terrific 2017 food documentary series, Chef’s Table, I can tell you. Lots!
I expected this show to be full of super-confident men running noisy, crowded, stainless steel kitchens in the world’s smartest cities. Instead, I’ve been beguiled by a tiny nun named Jeon Kwan, who runs no restaurant and cooks for monks and guests at a quiet and beautiful Buddhist monastery in a forest south of Seoul.
World-famous now due to being discovered and feted by the sort of big-city chefs mentioned above, she now finds herself a globe trotting star, with people clamouring to learn the secrets of her simple vegan style and delicious flavours.
And that’s what I want to highlight here. In this first half of January, all our social media feeds are full of exhortations to set goals, aim high, get organised and be the best that we can be this year. It all sounds so stressful.
As a theme for 2018, I love, instead, these lines from her Chef’s Table program about the creativity with which she approaches life, work, gardening and food preparation.
“Creativity and ego cannot go together.
If you free yourself from the competing and jealous mind, your creativity opens up endlessly.
Just as water springs from a fountain, creativity springs from every moment.
You must not be your own obstacle.
You must not be owned by the environment you are in.
You must own the environment, the phenomenal world around you.
You must be able to freely move in and out of your mind.
This is being free.”
How I like her style. If you like it too and would like to experience an overnight stay at the temple, Lonely Planet (whose photo I used at the top of this blog) has all the knowhow on prices and getting there.
BTW Here’s the trailer for the whole season – watching it reminds me I have more yet fascinating cooks to learn about. But none as calm and charming as Jeon Kwan.