Charlie Rose talks to everybody. But more importantly, he listens. He’s a great interviewer because he comes up with intelligent questions, then lets his interview subjects tell the stories they have to tell and guide the conversation.

That’s why a compilation of Charlie Rose interviews with some of the greatest minds in modern cooking is like concentrated inspiration.

Here are some of our favorite quotes from the chefs compilation on Hulu.

Daniel Boulud

On whether his home cooking is like his cooking at Daniel:

“No. I do a one-pot meal. For example, I have a recipe of a chicken casserole. I love to cook casseroles at home. Because I start with what’s going to take the longest, and maybe it’s going to bring the most flavor, and finish little by little by adding as it’s cooking, and within 45 minutes, I have a meal ready for everyone.”

On wine:

“Wine is, I think, the most important equation when we talk about French cuisine. We can talk about French wine, or we can talk about wine in general. I think the way French cuisine has been the foundation to many other cuisines, I think France has been the foundation for many other wine countries, or countries that develop wine in their own country. Wine is…I could not think of dining without drinking wine.”

On the state of cheese in America:

“Today, we have the most comparable selection of cheese in America that we can wish from France. [Rose asks if cheese in America is as good as in France, to which Boulud said, “Oh yes.”] Cheese today, we have some wonderful cheese locally and nationally. And we always have half-and-half on the cheese tray at Daniel. Half French, half American — very much like everything I do.”

On cooking in New York:

“Just before coming to America, I lived in Denmark. I was already in Denmark when there were things happening with chefs. But I felt…I am maybe 45 minutes away from Paris by plane, and I felt very far away from France. The community of French wasn’t so big. And I felt like, unless I was becoming Danish, I was never going to be French in this country. Coming to America and being in New York, I felt like I can stay French, and I can be an American.”

Ferran Adria

On being one part chef, one part scientist, and one part artist:

“I’m just a kid from the neighborhood. I didn’t go to university. I gave classes at Harvard, and I have the good luck to be with marvelous people. It wouldn’t be logical now. All I’ve done is learn, observe, and ask the ‘why’ of things. Always “why? why? why?” Because I have passion for what I’m doing. Because I like challenges that I always believe I’m not going to reach, but I fight to achieve them. In the end, that’s what life is — it’s a struggle to reach a challenge….Among humans, the first creativity was cooking.”

On closing elBulli:

“I close elBulli as a restaurant to not close elBulli. We decided to transform elBulli. It was because we could look ahead and see that maybe in five years, we were going to decline…a creative decline. And we had to sort of create a chaos, a big chaos, so that that wouldn’t happen. Especially because I’m 50 years old, I’m very good friends with the vice president of MIT, Israel Ruiz, and he was telling me, ‘Ferran, you know that you’re going to die. And what’s going to happen then with all of this? What’s going to happen with the legacy of elBulli? In the end, the restaurant is ephemeral. And how are you going to do this?’ And so we started constructing the elBulli foundation. It’s a strange space, because a restaurant either opens or closes — it doesn’t get transformed….this is amazing. People will come from other disciplines, from any discipline. We’ll compare, and we’ll share in the creative process.”

Grant Achatz

On persistence:

“I wrote a letter to Chef Keller, wanting to work at the French Laundry, for months and months. And finally he said yes. Multiple letters. I think there was probably 15, all in.”

On his first day at the French Laundry (October 20, 1996):

“[It was] life-changing. Not only from a culinary point of view, but from figuring out how you’re going to live the rest of your life, meeting people that are still in my life today. It was a monumental step to becoming who I am.”

On Achatz’s dream either succeeding or killing him after his stage 4 cancer went into remission:

“I feel like, if people are truly passionate about what they do, and really wholeheartedly believe in it…as I mentioned [before], you almost don’t have a choice. Not that you don’t want to make a choice, but it catapults you into this energy, into this passion, into this sense of being that…if you weren’t doing it, you would feel unfulfilled.”

On how he and Thomas Keller differ:

“[laughs with Keller] I think we look at it very similarly, but there’s a generation gap that makes it different. So in other words, where Chef’s [Keller’s] food was maybe more based on classic Western European technique, and then he took that American ingenuity and creativity and whimsical approach to things at the French Laundry and Per Se. Where me, now, it is more about trying to find my way to create that next genre of cooking.”

Thomas Keller

On spotting special talent in the kitchen:

“Certainly, you can tell there’s something special there when someone comes in the kitchen and works, and you see their ability. It’s kind of a natural ability, whether it’s the way they walk through the kitchen, or the way they hold their knife, the way they clean their station…just the way they handle food. There’s a huge sense of respect. And when you see that, you say, ‘OK, there’s somebody who’s going to be wonderful and great someday.'”

On what he’s most proud of:

“There are so many things that I’m proud of. What I think I’m most proud of are the next generation, the Grant Achatzes, the David Breedens, the Eric Ziebolds, the Jonathan Bennos who are continuing this quest for — I don’t want to say ‘greatness,’ but for…to bring to America, to our culture and our society a really wonderful connection to the table and to each other. Because let’s face it, at the end of the day, the experience around the table is about those individuals at the table. And to be able to offer wonderful food in a great setting, so that loved ones can come together — family, friends can come together to experience something that is compelling, that resonates with them. I think that’s something that we can all really be proud of.”

Gabrielle Hamilton

On how she got from being a wild 12-year-old left to fend for herself (post-parental divorce), to writing Prune:

“I did educate myself…I have been educated, it’s true. That’s why, when you asked me earlier about being hellbent on getting into drugs or something, I don’t know if I was really getting into drugs, or…it was just part of the time. Nothing sunk in so deeply. I think I was on the border/verge of true delinquency, and stared at it when I was working at the Lone Star, and I was charged with grand larceny and possession of stolen property [at 12 or 13]. That was a pretty pivotal moment, when I understood that what I had been sort of practicing for, or rehearsing to be, like, truly badass — was actually about to unfold in front of me. And I got sobered by that. You know, you can play around the edge, and then the edge says, ‘Come on, here we go, talk the talk!’ And I think I backed off, and I went away to Europe, and took care of myself in a very profound way. I was alone for almost two years, traveling around with only myself to rely on for money, for getting from place to place. And it was an incredible time of deliverance…I think that might be the word. I purged everything. All my bad thoughts, all my sadnesses, all my falsehoods, all my false starts, and when I came back, I was ready to sort of…hit it. Hit the road. Go. Get on with life in a regular way.”

[via Hulu]