Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lessons from Top Chef

top chef masters

We've been watching Top Chef Masters, and my mom likes it a lot more than regular Top Chef because there's not so much infighting among the chefs.  The question is, why?

Obviously, the stakes for the Top Chef Masters are lower than for the amateur Top Cheftestants.  They're winning money for charity, not themselves; and if they don't win the contest, they're still great chefs.

But I think there might be more to it than that.  Does the behavoir of the Top Chef Masters have anything to do with their success?  In general, they treat other people with respect, learn whenever they can, teach whenever they're asked, and for the most part don't seem to be ass holes (with some notable exceptions).  Whereas in regular Top Chef, at least half of the people are usually ass holes.

So the question I've been wondering about is, are the Top Chef Masters so calm because they're already successful in their field, or are they successful in their field because of their attitude?  Obviously, there's a level of talent there; but what good is talent if you can't execute your craft?  Especially in a kitchen where people have to work together?  One of the first things I learned in my various jobs is that the job itself doesn't always matter; it's who you work with that really makes a job enjoyable or sucky.  Clearly many of the chefs in Top Chef Masters can get along very well with personalities in the kitchen--whereas with the regular cheftestants, that ability can be hit-or-miss.

In a way, this also reminds me of blogger jealousy.  Recently, there's been some bad behavoir from bloggers directed at others who get more visitors, more "perks" (re: free stuff), and more comments than they do (for a few examples, see these posts from Katiebabs, J Kaye, and Pam).  Aside from rolling my eyes in disgust, I would point out one thing to those who issued these attacks:  do you see the more popular bloggers throwing accusations at people and whining?  No.  Do you see them acting professionally and trying to be inclusive to other bloggers, instead of insulting them?  Yes.  No matter how good someone is at writing reviews--or cooking--the response people have to them and their work is partially dependent upon how they present themselves and interact with other people. 

So some advice to those bloggers who feel like they should have more attention paid to them than they're getting:  try treating people with respect.  You might earn some in return.

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