Spent a couple of hours the night before watching Food Network. Several chef challenge reality TV shows. The food was stunning. No surprise. However, the pride and insecurities on display outshone the food easily:
A good chef who had an ex-employee as a fellow contestant.
A very experienced steak master, pitting his experience against three younger and daring-to-think-out-of-the-box chefs, for the executive chef position at a renowned steakhouse.
A dessert extraordinare, whose bulky frame belied his tiny heart.
The case of the Ex-Boss + Ex-Employee was distracting. Ex-Boss was probably keeping his eye as much on this Ex-Employee contestant as on the food. [Correction. He kept his eyes on the food, and rolled his eyes at the Ex-Employee.] Was glad that neither of them won.
The steak master – I wonder how much of his perspiration came from the heat of the kitchen vs. fear of losing his long-held reputation (X decades, and in Chicago too!). We knew all about his reputation – he kept mentioning it. Steak Master won by keeping to the steakhouse tradition, but even the judges said they missed the 2nd runner-up’s personable manner, creativity and good humour. Give me that other guy any day.
The dessert extraordinare really turned me off. I have nothing against his World Guinness Record or amazing dessert sculptures. I just didn’t think those were good reasons to behave arrogantly. His competitors were clearly much younger and much less experienced than him. They knew it, and they held Dessert Extraordinare in high regard – when interviewed (you know, where the contestants say a bit about themselves and each other), they all spoke of him with the same Wow! expression.
In one round, the judge complimented Dessert Extraordinare on his creation. He stunned me with his reply: “When I compete, I compete to win.” Oh dear. A Thank You would have sufficed?
Became even more disgusted when another contestant received honest feedback from the judge – and Dessert Extraordinare wore a big smirk on his face.
But the last straw: after he’d successfully knocked out the last competitor and won, the judge asked Dessert Extraodinare how he felt. He said, “Happy. I have the World Guinness Record…” Congratulations. But give me the other guy’s imperfect carrot cake with kaffir lime cream cheese frosting anytime.
I wonder how these winners might have felt if they watched themselves on the recorded shows after the competitions. Would they have noticed what they really projected – not technique, but their character?
It is of course, easy to watch them and criticise their behaviour. Watching them made me reflect for quite a while after. Oh dear, am I guilty too? What about my pride and insecurities? I will never have the courage they did – entering televised competitions – but I still have an Audience of One, and the many people He has given me the privilege to know and walk with. I pray to not grieve Him.