2 years ago

“Creativity and ego cannot go together.”

Jeong Kwan, the Philosopher Chef.

David Gelb’s emmy-nominated mesmerizing documentary series Chef’s Table returned to Netflix for Season 3 on Friday, February 17th.

One of my favorite visual documentary series since a while.  This time Chef’s Table focuses, for the most part on Chefs that didn’t become Chefs because of the title, but because they loved making food.

The new season’s first episode is about Jeong Kwan, a Buddhist monk who cooks “temple food,” very simple but elegant vegetables from her garden to visitors. It will change your life!” reddit user Abraburger – tsingapore.com

Such is the case of Korean Zen Buddhist Nun Jeong Kwan who is the “Chef” of her Buddhist Temple. Towards the end of the episode, she talks about Creativity and Ego and how the two can’t be present within the same space:

“Creativity and ego cannot go together. If you free yourself from the comparing 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. There is no way you can’t open up your creativity. There is no ego to speak of. That is my belief.”

You must not be owned by the environment you are in – Probably the hardest advice to hear and follow, especially in the troubled times we live in. If you’ve lived or are from a place with little political stability and possibly wars, creating and making Art that can step away from a reaction to something are very difficult things to do.

“I can’t recommend enough you watch this episode, as well as every season of Chef’s Table, it’s truly a show about creative process and growth through food. And if ego is a topic you’re interested to explore, the excellent book Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday is the next logical source to mention.” (source: Mentorless – Nathalie Sejean)

Jeong Kwan, the Philosopher Chef – The most exquisite food in the world, say many celebrated chefs, is being made not in Copenhagen or New York, but in a remote temple complex south of Seoul by a 59-year-old Buddhist nun – NYtimes – Food Matters By JEFF GORDINIER OCT. 16, 2015

—Zen Buddhist nun, Jeong Kwan, CHEF’S TABLE, S03E01