Kitchen Creativity

Unlocking Culinary Genius–With Wisdom, Inspiration, and Ideas
from the World’s Most Creative Chefs

by Karen Page
Photography by Andrew Dornenburg

(Hachette Book Group / Little, Brown; October 31, 2017)

From KITCHEN CREATIVITY‘s book jacket:

Unlock your creative potential with the world’s most imaginative chefs.

In this groundbreaking exploration of culinary genius, the authors of The Flavor Bible reveal the surprising strategies great chefs use to do what they do best. Beyond a cookbook, KITCHEN CREATIVITY is a paradigm-shifting guide to inventive cooking (without recipes!) that will inspire you to think, improvise, and cook like the world’s best chefs.Great cooking is as much about intuition and imagination as it is about flavor and technique. KITCHEN CREATIVITY distills brilliant insights into these creative processes from more than 100 top restaurant kitchens, including the Bazaar, Blue Hill, Daniel, Dirt Candy, Eleven Madison Park and the NoMad, Gramercy Tavern, the Inn at Little Washington, Le Bernardin, Oleana, Rustic Canyon, Saison, Single Thread, and Topolobampo.

Based on four years of extensive research and dozens of in-depth interviews, KITCHEN CREATIVITY illuminates the method (and occasional madness) of culinary invention. Part I reveals how to learn foundational skills, including how to appreciate, taste, and season classic dishes (Stage 1: Mastery), before reinventing the classics from a new perspective (Stage 2: Alchemy). Einstein’s secret of genius-combinatory play-pushes chefs to develop unique creations and heighten their outer and inner senses (Stage 3: Creativity). Part II’s A-to-Z entries are an invaluable culinary idea generator, with exercises to prompt new imaginings.

You’ll also discover:
  • experts’ criteria for creating new dishes, desserts, and drinks;
  • comprehensive seasonality charts to spark inspiration all year long;
  • how to season food like a pro, and how to create complex yet balanced layers of flavor;
  • the amazing true stories of historic dishes, like how desperate maitre d’ “Nacho” Anaya invented nachos; and
  • proven tips to jump-start your creative process.

The ultimate reference for culinary brainstorming, KITCHEN CREATIVITY will spur your creativity to new heights, both in the kitchen and beyond.


“Utter genius…If Leonardo da Vinci wrote a book on culinary creativity in 2017, this would be it.”

—Michael Gelb, New York Times bestselling author of How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci and The Art of Connection

An instant classic, the rare book that helps the creator learn to think, not just do.”

—Seth Godin, New York Times bestselling author of Linchpin

“Who was that visionary who first intuited that the tasteless red berry on the bush, if processed just right, could burst into coffee? Who made that first cake? Chefs have always been an intuitive lot. The best are visionary sensualists for whom food is high lovemaking, unleashing ever new and ancient, multisensory delights.  KITCHEN CREATIVITY is a walk on the wild side with today’s most visionary chefs.

—Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, founder and director, American Visionary Art Museum

“Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg have dedicated their storied careers as gastronomic scribes—diligently researching and documenting the culture, history, science, and techniques of cooking.  Not surprisingly, each one of their acclaimed books has become a must-read for professional chefs and home cooks alike.  Their latest, KITCHEN CREATIVITY, proudly joins the family—generously ladling practical advice towards acing the art of culinary innovation, imbuing the reader with newfound confidence, skill, and inspiration. No doubt it will become essential in my own collection!”

—Danny Meyer, CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group and author of the New York Times bestseller Setting the Table

“The hardest question I’ve ever been asked is:  ‘How do you teach someone to be creative?’ Now I have a resource I can wholeheartedly recommend!

—Michel Nischan, founder and CEO of Wholesome Wave, and winner of the 2015 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award

This splendid book is the perfect roadmap for a young chef to attain culinary stardom. First, follow the great classic cooks by imitating them. Second, massage that knowledge to fit your palate and esthetic sense. Third and finally, become yourself.”

—Jacques Pepin, Emmy Award-winning television host, recipient of France’s Legion d’Honneur, and author of A Grandfather’s Lessons: In the Kitchen With Shorey

“An incredible reference for home cooks, young chefs, and seasoned pros alike.  KITCHEN CREATIVITY should be in everyone’s library.

—Eric Ripert, chef and co-owner of Le Bernardin in New York City, and author of the New York Times bestseller 32 Yolks

KITCHEN CREATIVITY is a book we would love to have written. A delectable mix of sensuality, intellect, insight and surprise that reveals not only the secrets of creative chefs, but of creativity itself.”

—MacArthur Fellow Robert Root-Bernstein and Michele Root-Bernstein, authors, Sparks of Genius: The 13 Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People

“Just as The Flavor Bible and Culinary Artistry have been invaluable to chefs and cooks navigating the world of flavor, KITCHEN CREATIVITY promises to guide them insightfully and inspirationally through the creative process—mindful of the fact that this is something that should always be fun.”

—Marcus Samuelsson, chef-owner, Red Rooster, Ginny’s Supper Club, and Streetbird in Harlem, and author of the New York Times bestseller Yes, Chef

KITCHEN CREATIVITY is a book we would love to have written. A delectable mix of sensuality, intellect, insight and surprise that reveals not only the secrets of creative chefs, but of creativity itself.”

—Shoshana Zuboff, Charles Edward Wilson Professor of Business Administration Emerita, Harvard Business School, and author of Master or Slave? The Fight for the Soul of Our Information Civilization

“[The authors have] an incredible body of work….KITCHEN CREATIVITY is life-changing, life-altering, life-enhancing [and] in the culinary world we don’t see that too often….I love this book.”

—Kim Bailey, host, Food Talk AM 820

“2017 Cookbook Gift Guide:  One of a dozen most-loved (and coveted!) cookbooks of the year…. KITCHEN CREATIVITY:  Written by the same authors behind my favorite FLAVOR BIBLE and VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE, this latest book is about learning how to become more creative in the kitchen.  It draws on knowledge and ideas from chefs, teaches you how to jump-start the idea process, and shares information about historic dishes from all over the world.”

—Laura Davidson, A Beautiful Plate

“Extraordinary….[KITCHEN CREATIVITY] is an absolutely astounding book.”

—Ann and Peter Haigh, On the Menu Radio

One of the Fall and Winter’s Best Cookbooks for Chefs….This new tome from Karen Page, author of THE FLAVOR BIBLE, aims to spark chefs’ creativity. Page gathers insights both philosophical and practical from famed chefs: Kyle Connaughton of Sonoma’s Single Thread, for example, muses on the differing role of creativity in cooking in Japan and the US, while Tal Ronnen and Scot Jones of Crossroads in L.A. discuss the nuts-and-bolts development of their vegan ‘seafood’ tower. Page points out the patterns in how great dishes come about, encouraging readers to recognize the pressures and accidents that often result in something wonderful, as well as the self-reflection and experimentation required to get there.”

—Maggie Hoffman, Plate Magazine

KITCHEN CREATIVITY [is] an essential reference for any and every cook….A wonderful resource….Amazing–it will change your life….

—Margaret McSweeney, host, Kitchen Chat

This book left me flabbergasted….You defy a niche….I love that it encourages people to play….This book is great….A fabulous book.”

—Sukey Pett, Sukey’s Diner on Milwaukee’s Riverwest Radio 104.1

Staff Picks: Inspirational, practical, and often philosophical, KITCHEN CREATIVITY is a compendium of advice from dozens of chefs and is a cookery book unlike any other. This is not a book of recipes to keep in your kitchen; this is a book to keep in your favorite reading spot for some daily food-oriented, aspirational reading. KITCHEN CREATIVITY is truly unusual and has managed to put in book form the spirituality that many cooks feel when providing for family and friends. (Tracey T.)”

—Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon

“Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg are authors of a number of wonderful books….BECOMING A CHEF changed the whole conversation….KITCHEN CREATIVITY:  Love it!”

—Clark Wolf, host, At the Table

Top left: Daniel Boulud (center) and his team: Aaron Bludorn of Cafe Boulud, executive chef Jean-Francois Bruel, executive pastry chef Ghaya Oliveira, Travis Swikard of Boulud Sud, and chef de cuisine Eddy Leroux; top right: Jose Andres; middle left: Ana Sortun and Chris Kurth; middle right: pastry chef Taiesha Martin; bottom left: Curtis Duffy; bottom right: Rocco DiSpirito, Tom Colicchio, Marc Vetri, Nancy Silverton, Bill Telepan, Dahlia Narvaez, Andrew Smith at WITS benefit at Riverpark

  • KITCHEN CREATIVITY is available at better bookstores everywhere as of October 31, 2017.
  • For review copies and further information, contact:
    Little, Brown publicist Zea Moscone at or 212-364-1464.
  • For foreign rights inquiries, contact