Sunday, January 20, 2013

Monday morning inspiration

There goes the weekend, here comes another week! A few of the things that passed my way this weekend, that brought me inspiration in starting a new week:


I was rather captivated by the penguins, but it wasn't lost on me that he was trying to surf in ANTARCTICA. Crazy cold. Crazy guy.

I also saw this paragraph by Pema Chodron, from her book Awakening Loving-Kindness. It really resonated:

"Our life's work is to use what we have been given to wake up. If there were two people exactly the same--same body, same speech, same mind, same mother, same father, same house, same food, everything the same--one of them could use what he has to wake up and the other could use it to become more resentful, bitter, and sour. It doesn't matter what you are given, whether it's a physical deformity or enormous wealth or poverty, beauty or ugliness, mental stability or mental instability, life in the middle of a mad house or life in the middle of a peaceful silent desert. Whatever you're given can wake you up or put you to sleep. That's the challenge of now: what are you going to do with what you have already--your body, your speech, your mind?"

My last little piece of inspiration came in the form of my favorite chef being booted from Top Chef. I am no longer an AVID Top Chef watcher--meaning, live TV on the night that it airs. No, the only show that gets such adoration from me currently is Downton Abbey.

But, I did do a little catching up on Top Chef Seattle this weekend, and watched, slack-jawed, as one of the best chefs of the season got axed. In many ways, it was the "right" thing to do, but boy was it hard to watch. Reading Tom Colicchio's blog about it, later, was helpful, and echoed what I'd been thinking about Kristen's character and willingness to have the buck stop with her and her restaurant, both in concept and execution.

Here's my short version (in case you're not a watcher): Kristen (on the left in the somewhat editorialized photo above) had an overly ambition restaurant concept. She had three team members to assist her, and she assigned them dishes. Josie (who should have gone home, in my humble opinion) didn't make her dish (bouillabaisse) on the day she should have (giving it time to deepen in flavor and make any necessary adjustments before service), didn't make it the way she should have and didn't taste it until it was going out. Lucky for her, the sauce was apparently very good, there just wasn't enough of it on the plate. (There were, however, issues with her seafood--some being undercooked, other pieces overcooked, so I was hopeful *that* would do her in). Kristen plated the judges' servings, Josie didn't speak up and say "More sauce!" So, Kristen goes home: her restaurant, her concept, dish goes wrong, it's on her. (If you'd like a longer, more  strident recap, here's one I enjoyed from the LA Times.)

And where exactly was I was inspired? Well, in a setting where throwing other contestants "under the bus" is de rigueur, Kristen’s ownership and refusal spell out in detail the goings-on in the kitchen (Josie is a slacker with a bad attitude) when she so easily could have showed a lot of character. And according to Tom: "It shows, further, that she truly understands what it means to run a restaurant kitchen and be responsible for every plate that leaves it." She didn't whine, didn't pout, didn't cry, but left with her head held high. I can't help but think we'll be seeing her again.

What inspired you this weekend to get out there and have a great week? I'd love to hear it.


  1. My writing class is very inspirational...but the odd thing is I want to go sketch and paint and not necessarily write...???

    I need to look for some inspiration in my cooking. Looking for something relatively simple but oh so tasty....

    It is a new week with a new start available and I love that. That alone is inspirational.

  2. The penguins are great...the guy is crazy!!...but love the idea of that close a relationship with the animals around us. I love it when I am working in the garden quietly weeding and a bird will come by and sit on my shoulder or my head...I am so brown they think I am just an old stump.


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