These are two of the most important words a chef will ever need to know. They may all seem like the same thing at a first glance, and although they do have things in common they also have acute differences. Last night I went to a Thomas Keller book signing for his new book: Ad Hoc At Home, which is a beautiful book I must say. Before the signing there was an hour and a half interview and question period. During this interview he adressed both of these points in a way that increased my capacity to push myself further in all both of these areas.
Thomas Keller stated that when hiring potential employees he looks for those with drive above all else. Who here can honestly tell me that they have always been passionate about one thing. I know that all of us on here have a passion for food, but some days it is stronger than other days. Sometimes we see an ingredient that sparks something in us and inspires us to create something wonderful. Say the first cherries of the season. but two weeks later when the cherries are still as beautiful, is our passion for them still as strong as it was when we first got them? Probably not. Drive then is the key force within us that moves us to keep on using these beautiful cherries and making the dishes just a little better than the day before. When you are tired, sick or just not “feeling it” it is your drive that keeps you pushing for the best possible results that you are able to deliver. Whereas passion ebbs and flows, drive will remain constant.
I will also ad that Thomas Keller took the time to personalize, take photos with and chat for a few seconds with any of the 450 guests who were willing to wait in line. I was of course one of them, and I have to give the man credit. He is a true ambassador for our industry and a classy man as well. Much respect Chef Keller, much respect.