Lessons From Top Chefs: Concept vs. Execution


I was watching one of those cooking reality shows the other day while I was putting a frozen lasagna in the oven and opening a bag of salad. I don’t remember if it was Top Chef or Naked Chef or Chefs with Big Knives or That Hot Foreign Chef with the Really Cute Accent, but it was one of those.

If  you’re not familiar with these type of shows, they assemble a crew of amateur or professional cooks who compete in these *very exciting* cooking challenges wherein they only have a limited number of ingredients – say a pork chop, four anchovies, 2 cans of mandarin oranges, and a bag of rice. The chefs have to make something that tastes good and looks good on the plate, and that is also original. On the show I was watching they had 20 minutes to do it, outside, over a campfire, with some snooty looking Top-of-the-Toppest Chef looking over their shoulders.

And what’s a reality show without an elimination? There were two tied for last. One chef had an amazing idea. She had combined ingredients in new and stunning ways that impressed the judges. Her execution, however, left them hungry. She hadn’t quite manifested her vision on the plate. Her competitor had done the opposite. He delivered a somewhat predictable, ho-hum dish. But he’d done it flawlessly.

Who won? I don’t know because I changed the channel. But I kept thinking about the issue, and I think you should too.

What’s more important in business – concept or execution?

Image Credit: nicholas.boullosa, Flickr