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The Law of Diminishing Returns


tasting menu

I learned something fascinating while reading about one of the most influential chefs ever, Thomas Keller.  He speaks of the Law of Diminishing returns and how it completely, more than anything, could dictate the experience of his guests.  Chef Keller could create symphonies of flavor in his cooking.  He created new bars of creativity standards that blew the competition away and thus, made a name for himself.  The food he had mastered, but how to deliver it in a concept that would sear a lasting memory upon those who would visit French Laundry in Napa Valley was, maybe, even more important.  The first bite attacks the taste buds with everything it has, creating feelings, recollecting old ones, the brain releases certain chemicals because the stimuli is so high.  But what happens on that next bite?  And the next?  You may encounter a menu at French Laundry of anywhere from eight to even double-digit courses, each one only two or three bites, and consequently one of the more stimulating dining experiences of your life.  As business professionals, we sell, we innovate and create, we inspire and instruct and train.  Trying to place that figurative white coat on in the kitchen and see the value of this law can affect our performance this week.  Maybe we need to tighten up a certain habit, perfect a new proposal or finish that reading that is getting pushed to the back of the briefcase.  Do everything we can, then know when it is enough and move on to do it again.  Creating a menu of 12 courses, each one a masterpiece is not something every Chef can do, but it will separate them from others who are okay with the norm.


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