Watching a chef work is an experience in beauty, wonder, and awe. Most of the chefs I know love what they do. The love and passion for food comes through in the attention to detail, the level of technical knowledge and discipline, and through their joy in sharing it with anyone who cares to spend the time listening. The smallest things become x factors. The steps most cooks skip are keys to the secret taste that emerges to make their dish different. I watch and wonder – how do they make something so impossible look so easy and natural?
From hawker stalls to the best kitchens, it is the individuals that are leading the effort that make the difference. Inspired and committed, sous chefs follow the lead and contribute their part. It all works in a magical way that reflects leadership, commitment, and discipline to the craft.
As I reflect on fantastic tastes and incredible dishes, the role strong leadership played is clear. When it is combined with passion, commitment, and followers, extraordinary actions and outcomes often result. I have benefited from this with food, in business, and at times where a group of individuals wanted to help another.
I often catch myself thinking that only physically tangible actions count. Never mind the force at the time. Ignore the inspiration for it all. Forget about those with visions. David reminds me that across the ages, action and leadership came in many forms. He credited Divinity saying “You lopped off the heads of Leviathan, then served them up in a stew for the animals.” (Psalm 74.14) While the images morph over the centuries, it is clear that the devastation was brutally complete.
Leadership always starts with one who sees something with passion and a commitment to realize what s/he has seen. It could be a great dish, a victory in battle, or a moment of stunning beauty. S/he often inspires others to join them. Some may need to sample the dish before enrolling. I realize that when I think of compassion, community, and caring, I am all in.