Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Yes, Chef

By Mary Ann Hughes
Mary Ann Hughes

There’s an old TV show on Amazon that I find kind of intriguing.

It features a world-renowned chef who is invited into restaurants that aren’t doing very well.

Every episode has the same format. The chef arrives and orders a few items on the menu. When the food arrives, it’s bland and tasteless or the ingredients are old. Basically, the food is pretty awful.

When he heads into the kitchen he often finds a food storage area that is disgusting and egos that are running amok.

During the show he questions the employees about the problems in the restaurant, and eventually he creates a new menu using better recipes. He always encourages the kitchen staff to work together.

In short, he gives them a recipe for success.

At some point in the show, lightbulbs go on as the chefs, managers and wait staff realize that his recommendations are sound. Some of them jump on board right away, while others take longer to process his advice.

The show features a Reveal Night when all the changes are implemented. Despite a few glitches, that night is usually a success.

I’m not sure why this show has captured my attention, but it has.

I realized that the one thing that happens in the restaurants is the response from the cook staff. As a group, they all begin to say, “Yes, Chef.”

They respond “yes” to the suggestions, and they say “yes” to the demands. And when they do that, when they take the advice of a Michelin chef, they are the better for it. And so is the restaurant.

Isn’t that just like our faith lives?

Sometimes our recipes just aren’t working. Sometimes the ingredients don’t blend well together. And sometimes, and probably most importantly, we forget to listen to the Divine Word and answer, “Yes, Lord.”

The words in Psalm 95 remind us: “If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”

It’s easy to read those words, but hard to live them. Life sure does get in the way, and so do our egos. And just like the restaurant staff members on the TV show, we think we are on the right path until someone shows us that we aren’t.

Sometimes that person is a very good friend. Sometimes it’s our pastor speaking to us during his homily. Sometimes it can be the words we hear during the readings at Mass.

At any rate, it’s important that we listen and make changes. We’ll be the better for it.