Too Many Ingredients

So, a couple of my favorite shows are Top Chef Masters and Top Chef. I love TCM because the chefs are seasoned (haha) and weathered, in a good way, they seem to know who they are and create out of it, and there is just such amazing artistry in their foods. And, the show makes them so human – yelling and messing up here and there, tweaking recipes, running around crazy, chopping anything and everything psychotically. They help each other out as well, and others, too, since they are trying to win money for whatever charity organization; it’s interesting to see their interactions. There is such a huge difference between TCM and Top Chef, but I like the rawness and energy of TC with young chefs trying to make it, and find their identity as chefs.

There was one episode from Season 1 that made me think of the parallels to being pastors. The chefs were cooking for long-time veteran chefs from Napa Valley, and each chef would be critiqued by them. The elements they used were incredibly extravagant, some exotic black truffles and an expensive, rare wine, so they were supposed to make some kind of plate pairing the two, but highlighting the truffles. One girl, Lee Anne Wong, one of my favorites, an impressive chef who’s honest and kind, did some kind of dish that I can’t remember right now, some kind of risotto that looked lovely. But the chefs thought there was too much going on there, too many ingredients, too many flavors, too much, and it was overwhelming to the palate. I’ve heard that critique on the show many times in subsequent seasons, but it didn’t hit me until one of the older chefs said something to the effect, “she’s a young chef, I remember being a young chef and trying too much at once.”

It made me think, in terms of preaching, how easy it is, especially for those of who have little experience in it and/or preach once a month (even after 5 years that’s still only a little over one full year of preaching) to try to say too much in one sermon. How many times have I heard that I am trying to do too much in one sermon or that there is too much going on…and that it’s better to go with only 1-2 “ingredients,” and “showcase” them well? I guess it’s a matter of age and experience, and eventually figuring out who we are behind the knives or in the pulpit.

Anyways, I like these kinds of connections – it helps me in my own development, plus who doesn’t love food metaphors? It’s a process, and as someone once told me, “Sometimes when you preach you serve macaroni and cheese, and sometimes you serve filet mignon.”

Andy likes to tell me (though he can’t remember where he first heard it) – “You don’t have to give them a feast…just daily bread.”

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