Chefs Share What Inspired Their Careers at NYCWFF 2015

NYCWFF 2015 Panel

Angela Carlos

Dana Cowin, Carla Hall, Kristen Kish, and Dominque Ansel discuss their careers.

“Where a lot of people stop their creativity is when they are afraid to fail,” said chef and television personality Carla Hall at the Dana Cowin-led panel at this year's New York City Wine and Food Festival at the Theatre at Bumble and Bumble on Saturday.

“The Spark! With Dana Cowin of Food & Wine,” brought together three leading culinary professionals, Dominique Ansel, inventor of the cronut and James Beard Award winning pastry chef; Kristen Kish, winner of Bravo’s “Top Chef” season 10 and co-host of “36-Hours” on the Travel Channel; and Carla Hall, former contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef” and co-host of ABC’s “The Chew.”

The panel, led by Cowin the Editor-in-Chief of Food & Wine since 1995, discussed constant creative pressure, finding inspiration, and the importance of failure to success.

As for what led these chefs to their successful careers? Ansel didn’t just wake up one day and invent the cronut, it was years of hard work in the kitchen. He credits discipline and inquisitiveness saying, “I was always very curious, and not afraid.”

Kish found comfort in cooking at a very young age, having struggled in school, Kish picked up a knife at age six and realized, “that was the first moment I knew I could be good at something,” she explained.

Finally, Hall found her way to the culinary world later in life, attending culinary school at age 30, but she was no less motivated. Her successful business, Carla Hall Petite Cookies, was a product of sarcasm, she explained. In response to watching people time after time waste half a cookie at buffets she had catered, she decided, “I am going to make a cookie so small you can’t break it.” 


Each of these chefs shared experiences in their careers that depicted the story of failure and success, but most importantly hard work, which landed them in the roles they fill today. For full event coverage, click here.