Yes, this was one of the themes of this week's Top Chef. And if I were to write about this week's episode I could write of many things: where an exaggerated sense of competition boarders on self-sabotage, the dynamics of team work, etc. But, no. I want to focus on the strawberry and banana girl.
It happens that she explained how her parents had a very messy divorce, and how she parented her sister, saving her from foster care - among other things, cooked for her. And such a quiet soul.
When her team was at the check out, her team member who was dead set on making sherry chicken (for children, no less!) did not forfeit the sherry or make a move to compromise. Strawberry girl lost her chocolate and, we were told, only had bananas and milk for her desert (unclear how she got the strawberries).
As many students know, low-quality bananas are really starchy and unpalatable, so strawberry girl doused them in sugar. So, she lost.
But, as she was leaving, she said, this challenge (cooking for kids) meant a lot to me, it was an honour to be a part of it, and, in a most mature and sound tone of voice added, we all have to stand behind our decisions (or something to that effect, was as you make your bed, so you must lie upon it?).
One could write her off as an inexperienced chef who was just voicing gratitude to mask incompetence. After all, she lost. But did she lose? She still made it somewhere and tried something. She also had a tough beginning in life, and still went on to become something. I think strawberry girl is a winner. The attempt is sometimes so much greater than the results. Not all people will be best at what they do, but they may do it more graciously. And there should be a prize for that. Doing what you love, putting your heart into it - isn't that at least on par with the heartless cook who tries to take down his opponents dishonourably? That's bananas! How can that be good for the soul...
I think it was Dostoevsky who wrote that he honoured the man who would die for his cause, but not the one that sacrifices others...

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