I was just on the phone with my sister, who mentioned how my brother-in-law is good with cooking and seems to have a sense of the ingredients. So he can go off the standard recipe, try something a bit different, and still make it taste good.
But we got to talking about how having a sense of the ingredients is perhaps just part of the story - the rest is about being adventurous.
I've noticed this in other creative fields too: There are people who follow form very closely and never go far from the beaten path. Maybe it's habit, maybe it's choice, maybe something else, but they just like to be in their comfort zone. And then there are others who are improvisers by nature. They experiment, try out new things, probably get some wrong, but very likely discover something different and better along the way too.
Of course, most people would be somewhere between these two ends of the spectrum. And I guess we all have some areas where we are more adventurous then others. But it is worth thinking about. The familiar is always comfortable, but the even more comfortable is not always familiar until we're willing to look in new places.