I've always thought that a good cook/chef was one who used a recipe as a guide or suggestion. A good cook is one who can take a piece of meat or special vegetable and build a meal around it without consulting a cookbook or any of its recipes.
Ever since I started cooking as a young teenager, I've always needed a recipe. I could never rely on my imagination. That's why, I believe, I'm a good baker. If you're baking, it is very important that you stick to the recipe.
Lately, I've tried experimenting and have had some success with my meals. Because of these small successes I tried something different today. I had a box of Ghirardelli brownie mix and a bottle of raspberry extract. Since chocolate and raspberries go well together, I decided to try adding the extract to the mix. Everything turned out well, but I think I could have used a little more than a teaspoon of extract. Next time I'll try orange extract.