“A bit more Miles Davis…”

I was channel surfing last night.

I’d watched the most recent episode of BETTER CALL SAUL (fabulous), I’d watched the final episode of Season 3 of the Scandinavian noir series THE BRIDGE, (heart-wrenching and so so smart), and I’d endured another episode of THE PEOPLE vs OJ SIMPSON (horrible writing, horrible performances, but the car chase down the 405 is still mesmerising, even if fictionalised.)

I flipped channels and came into a programme half way through, called WORLD’S BEST RESTAURANTS. 

I’m always intrigued by the best of anything – excellence in all its forms fascinates me, and I always like to try and learn from those who are the best at whatever they do.

And so I began watching this show.

It was about a restaurant in New York called ELEVEN MADISON PARK. It’s regarded as one of the most expensive restaurants in America, but also one of the best.

Someone was being interviewed – it must have been the Chef, Daniel Humm – because he described how when they first started out, they were given a review by a famous food critic. The review was largely positive, but the review finished by saying that the only thing wrong with the restaurant was that it “needed a bit more Miles Davis.”

Humm was confused by that statement.
What did the reviewer mean?

Instead of dismissing it, or rejecting it as being too obscure, Humm and his team over the following months tried to determine exactly what that reviewer meant by that statement: They needed to be a bit more Miles Davis. 

So they compiled a list of commonly used keywords associated with Miles Davis, and they came up with the following:

  • Cool.
  • Endless Reinvention.
  • Inspired.
  • Forward-Moving.
  • Fresh.
  • Collaborative.
  • Spontaneous.
  • Vibrant.
  • Adventurous.
  • Light.
  • Innovative.

Eleven words for ELEVEN MADISON PARK. 

This became the restaurant’s mission statement. They put this list up a board and hung it in the kitchen. And they decided that they would become “a bit more Miles Davis.”

It propelled them into the stratosphere. They became one of the top restaurants not only in the US, but in the world.

Their cuisine became renowned for being all those things on that list –

Why do I put this story up on this blog?

Because it’s a wonderful lesson in how to deal with negativity. You can dismiss it, or allow it to consume you, or you can use it to your benefit.

You can examine it,  learn from it, and you can grow.

That’s what those guys did… Screenshot 2016-03-20 13.57.51

2 thoughts on ““A bit more Miles Davis…”

    • Thanks Michael. I’ve just downloaded BITCHES BREW by MD on Spotify. Looking forward to listening to it. That list though is applicable to any new venture, or just to an approach to life generally.


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