I learned a writing lesson from Gordon Ramsay this week!
I was watching Gordon save a restaurant from inevitable doom on “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares” in his typical fashion (ie., lots of spirit and lots of swearing). I love watching Gordon on television, especially his British shows.
On one of the episodes, he said something that made me perk up. “Everything that goes on the plate has to have a reason,” he said to a chef who had a tendency to have too many flavors in his dishes. “Not for this (pointing to his head), but for the palate (pointing to his tongue and mouth). [By doing so] You’ve given your food clear insight.”
The chef had been showing off his various “skills,” overembellishing his dishes, piling on too many ingredients…until in the end, the character and flavors of the dish had been destroyed under his arrogance.
A lesson for writing, too. You have to have a reason for the things you include in a story. And your stories have to taste right. You put too many things in, especially in the name of showing off…and your story will collapse underneath the burden of your ego.