What I Learned From Watching Netflix’s “Chef’s Table”

Have you ever seen an episode of Netflix’s docuseries, “Chef’s Table?” It’s beautifully produced and explores some of the world’s best chefs. Recently I heard from a friend that the series had added a pastry section to the series. I was pretty excited to hear that news because I love any show that features desserts. There’s something about it to me that is so captivating. I could watch someone pipe cakes all day because not only is it beautiful but it’s completely relaxing. Because of this, I’ve watched basically any dessert competition known to man. I’ve even ventured into British television to get my fix. So when I heard there was something new on the horizon, I took the first opportunity to jump right in. The perfect moment presented itself this past weekend when my husband’s cousin was graduating late on Sunday night. I had to stay back and I didn’t put that alone time to waste. I prepared myself for a nice binge.

I went into watching this expecting to see beautiful food be made but in addition to that, I was presented with incredible stories of challenge, redemption and a journey to discover identity. Running through the various episodes, I saw many creations that were absolutely breathtaking but once chef really stood out to me. She was different. She wasn’t overly complicated or prestigious. She was the type of person you could easily see yourself spending the day with, having fun and rambling on about this or that. As Christina Tosi of Milk Bar shared her passion on my television screen I began to realize there were a lot of things in my own life that demanded my attention.

For one thing, she addressed something I’ve been I’ve been racking my brain for in such a way that the light bulb turned on. For weeks I’ve struggled with binging or simply eating things that are high in sugar. It’s become more than a craving, almost like a daily need. I’ve been trying to dig deep and see if I could figure out why that was my default for stress relief. With a new baby, many times I don’t have the time or resources for self-care. So I often find myself stealing a quick five minutes to savor something delicious. It seems to make everything feel right in that one moment. But I kept thinking that my recent weight gain from this indulgence couldn’t be that simple. There had to be something in my past, a trigger that made me run to food instead of something else. Perhaps that drive to dig deep came from growing up with a mother who was a therapist. But what Christina showed me this weekend is that it actually is that simple. For me, it brings joy and in this whirlwind I’m currently living in, a few seconds of joy means everything.

“Within any given day in life there should always be a moment where the weight of the world is just a little bit lighter on your shoulders.” ~ Christina Tosi

It doesn’t change the fact that I should slow down on the sugar or eat healthier but it does finally make sense to me. There’s a lot of power in knowing why you do what you do from the simple solutions to the most complicated. But this little epiphany wasn’t the only thing I grabbed from Christina’s story. She talks about her story to getting where she is today. It’s that perfect story that really speaks to the American dream many of us have. If you’ve seen any episodes of Chef’s Table, you know how high end the food can be. But Christina isn’t like that. She chooses to be more simple and nostalgic. I love that she is confident in being herself and not worried about the pressure from an industry standard. In that way, she’s paved her own way and it’s resulted in a great success. Getting there took her creativity, talent and ambition. She never gave up and she took risks. So often we are afraid to take that next step towards our dream. There’s such vulnerability there. What if we fail? What if no one likes what we do? If we let them, these little doubts form into a true fear which can keep us from ever pushing forward. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve let fear stand in the way of my ambition, my passion, my dream. But fear is all a figment of the mind. It can’t physically stop you from trying anything. So why not try? What if you fail? So what, get back up and try it a different way. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain.

“You’re allowed to be what you want to be and no one gets to tell you different.” ~ Christina Tosi

And with that, I’m sitting on the couch completely relating to this woman’s story and I find myself literally crying. I’m genuinely happy for her. Why? Because good people who work hard for what they want and actually get it, there’s such encouragement in that. I just totally connected with her, right there through my television. It’s not because I’m crazy or need more friends, it’s simply because I found solidarity with this chef. She understood where I find joy and she showed me that I can’t possibly give up now because doing what you love is one of life’s greatest rewards.

You can find inspiration in just about anything if you look hard enough. There are so many stories of redemption out there from people just like you and me. You just have to listen and be willing to learn.

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