This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What Is the Moral of the Story?

I love the Bravo series Top Chef. They spun off an even more interesting version of Top Chef last year called Top Chef Masters. This series offers well-to-do chefs - known in the culinary world - an opportunity to do the Top Chef-like challenges and win money for their chosen charity.

It truly is a great show: seeing master chefs, who may not have had to actually do prep work/cook work/etc. in a very long time, come down to trying to make a dish out of, say, vending machine ingredients.

Episode 2 of Season 2 was a surprise episode for me. Usually, there is very little emotional connection to the show...and this includes from the contestants, other than stress and anxiety that the chefs deal with in their attempt to win.

But episode 2 had me upset on a "life is not fair" stratum, as well as master chef Monica Pope.

Here is *my* recap:
First: Top Chef Masters have three judges to rate each master chef's food on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. There is a fourth rating, which comes from the target audience of the elimination round. The average score of ratings from the target audience is used as the fourth and final score for the master chefs. The two chefs with the highest score will move to the finals, which will be the last episodes of the series.

So for episode two's elimination round, the challenge was to cook a dish for the actor Mekhi Phifer's birthday party.

There are two days to put the dish together: one is for dish planning, shopping for ingredients, and prepping the dish. Day two is taking prep work to the party destination and finishing the dish up there, then presenting it. Time is of the essence and there is little-to-no-room for error.

But in this episode, a big boo-boo was made: Chef Carmen Gonzalez left her main dish, a sausage stew, at the day one prep place. She is at the party place, ready to finish it up, but obviously, figures out she has left behind the main dish. She decides to go back for it, which means losing about 1 to 2 hours of preciously needed time to FINISH the dish. She cannot cook anything during that time because, well, she will be in a car traversing L.A. traffic. She asks, politely and sheepishly, if anyone would help her with one of her other ingredients while she is out.

Chefs Monica and David Burke offer to help. A couple of others say 'no way Jose' because, well, it's a competition and they were out to win. Marcus Samuelsson especially is noted in this episode for not offering to help and implying that Monica and David were foolish to do so.

So what happens? The help didn't pan out as the item they were helping with ended up burning. Chef Carmen almost bailed out because she only had one item to the dish she had planned, but she proceeded anyway.

And guess what? Chef Carmen WON. With all the bad that happened to her, she ended up having the highest score over a 'simple' stew.

And guess who won the second position? Marcus Samuelsson. The guy who refused to help *and* felt it idiotic to do so. And what he whispered to Monica Pope, after they announced he won? 'The lesson learned here is: always look out for yourself.'

Really? That is the lesson to be learned? To be a selfish bastard and think for yourself? Instead of an attempt, out of good citizenship, human kindness, a 'giving soul', to help someone else?

And of course, this is just a TV show, a reality cooking show on top of that, but Marcus Samuelsson walks away with a pat on his back with his own hand, accepting that what he determined to be the right move worked. Which means, he will act this way again in another scenario.

And the person who tried to be 'fair', lost.

This really upset me.


Because, in fact, this is what happens in real life. This has happened to me. You think you do something nice and you get screwed in the end. But this is not how I want life to be. I want the people that screw other people to get dinged and the good people to get rewarded. Why does that not happen?

I do believe in Karma. But I have two issues with Karma: 1. It works too damn slow and 2. It'll bite me in the ass wishing for Karma to hit other people.

I still stand on being a good person. But in truth, it's hard to be a good person to bad people. I have done it...and still do, but in the back of my mind I think: karma is going to get you bitch. And then my mind goes bezerko and starts thinking "who's the bitch? me or you?"

1 comment:

  1. Wow, your mind is truly a scary place ;-). Not to get too philosophical but you could just stop watching the show. I mean if people stop watching, then producers/directors will stop encouraging this type of behavior to get ratings. They are counting on the fact that there are two types of people that they can keep watching, your type the ones that will tune in, in hopes of seeing karma get this guy, and those that agree with him and are like yeah, he was right, look out for yourself and screw everyone else. But as I'm sure you know, he will amazingly make very far defying all reason, except that they need him to make the conflict. Don't all "reality" shows do this now? At least when the show was fiction we could say to our kids, this is just make believe, people don't really act like this...