Cook Ting

Who is your hero? Mine is Cook Ting.

Cook Ting laid down his knife and [said], “What I care about is the Way, which goes beyond skill. When I first began cutting up oxen, all I could see was the ox itself. After three years I no longer saw the whole ox. And now—now I go at it by spirit and don’t look with my eyes. Perception and understanding have come to a stop and spirit moves where it wants. I go along with the natural makeup, strike in the big hollows, guide the knife through the big openings, and follow things as they are. So I never touch the smallest ligament or tendon, much less a main joint.”

— Chuang Tzu, ch. 3: "The Secret of Caring For Life"

Cook Ting is my hero. He doesn't care about fame. He just wants to do the thing he does, well. And in doing it, he has become so good at it, it almost defies explanation. He's a cook, but not a chef.