This paper reports on a qualitative study exploring the phenomenon of creativity as experienced by world - leading chefs in the organizational setting of their creative industry - haute cuisine. By capturing holistically the complexities and interactions of high - level creativity in high - performance settings, we endeavoured to illustrate how world - leading haute cuisine chefs constructed and understood their experience of being creative and what this can tell us about the nature of creativity more generally. T he experiences of our sample of chefs indicate that the phenomenon of creativity is an evolutionary process of 'becoming creative'. Insights into the experience of high - level creativity in a deeply creative commercial setting explain how intra - subjective meaning making of what high - level creativity entails impacts directly on creative outcomes and what this means for creative workers' self - concept, and can be generalized to other settings.