I have been catching up with the second series of Top Chef Masters. It is a fundraiser competition starring very high-profile professional chefs. They are already renowned experts in their field. Even as the competition gets tighter, these amazingly talented ladies and gentlemen harbor so little animosity toward one another and lack in overt self-boasting. There is some, but I have a feeling it is egged on by the factors of reality television producers.
It reminds me of times when I was an undergrad. I worked as stage and concert manager for a couple of years, which gave me the opportunity to interact with very, very high-level musicians regularly. And what always struck me was how humble and kind these artists always were.
I never experienced being looked down upon as a little music student. They were more often than not, enjoying being able to perform for an appreciative audience, usually as a fun favor to work their friends, my professors.
I remember the nasty, catty nature of art students. I wanted no part of it, but I succumbed occasionally. The pettiness is abundant. There is a competitive nature to it, music especially seems to strive for that lead position.
But these pros are happy to see one another’s work, enjoy experiencing more, participating more. They don’t bother wearing an “I’m Awesome, Bugger Off” badge around. I just watching in Top Chef, one guy was over his money for ingredients, but even at the end of the competition, other chefs were willing to pitch in their leftover cash so he could get what he needed.
It strikes me that upon reaching that upper echelon, all that petty nonsense disappears. You’ve made yourself, made your career, so now all that’s left is the pleasure of life. How wonderful to be in that place.
Can you be in that place while journeying to the top or not? I don’t know.