Whoa. Wait a minute. It’s not what you think. Let me explain…
When I was a lonely woman working at an up and coming company on the top floor of the tallest building in downtown Smallville, I would come home from work and immediately watch Take Home Chef. As soon as I walked in the door, Curtis Stone taught me how to cook for an hour. It was my getaway. For an hour, I forgot how lonely I was and how much I hated my job and how unappreciated I was at said workplace. I thought it was because Curtis Stone happens to be a handsome man with an Australian accent, not to mention, my love for learning.
I’ve started watching Take Home Chef again. This time I watch it on Netflix. This time I’m a happily married Trophy Wife who isn’t captivated by Curtis’ accent. I still love watching the show, and I know why. Curtis is passionate about what he does. He is passionate about cooking, and it permeates every episode. He gets excited about ingredients. He loves showing the people how to use the cooking gadgets he bought for them. He feeds off the excitement the person shows when they do something right.
It starts as soon as he introduces himself to the potential chef. He tells them that he worked in London for ten years, he has his own restaurants, he has written a few cookbooks, and has had cooking shows. He offers his expertise to help them cook an “amazing meal” for their family or whoever they were going to make dinner for in the first place.
When he gets the inept housewife or occasional man in the kitchen, he doesn’t just teach her or him how to chop a carrot. He gets their senses involved. He tells her to look at how beautiful the food is. You can see the look on the person’s face change from “how is he doing that” to “I’ve never noticed that before.” He gets the people to knead dough and mix with their hands. Even when they have a grossed out look on their face, he talks about the texture of whatever they are making. Sometimes that eases the look and sometimes it doesn’t. He has them smell the food. There are so many moments when a person’s eyes light up when they smell something mundane like a pepper. It never occurred to them to smell the food they were preparing until Curtis told them to.
When someone is able to do something they never thought possible, Curtis is their cheerleader. Curtis encourages them to keep trying when they don’t do something right. He gives them helpful advice. He tells them when they are doing it correctly, but all they see is a less than perfect mess in front of them. Curtis shares his passion for cooking through encouraging less skilled cooks into breaking out of their comfort zone.
After the meal, he tells the family or significant other that the person he cooked with was the one who did all the work. That is never true. He even gives the other person credit when they didn’t even help! I have seen some episodes where I thought, “That was a waste of time for you! You could have chosen someone who really wanted to learn.” But he still has a great time because he is doing what he loves.
I want to be that passionate about my writing. I want to be, but I’m too afraid to be passionate. I feel like I don’t have anything to be passionate about. I mean, look at Curtis – he’s worked in premier kitchens in London, he’s written cookbooks, he has the experiences to be passionate. However, he has always been passionate about cooking. He started cooking as a child (I wrote my first book at four and asked my dad if he would make it into a real book. He stapled it up for me). He began honing his craft as a teenager (I worked on a book at thirteen and worked on my poetry like a mad woman in high school). He moved to London for experience (Screenwriting found me when I was twenty). I may not have as many accomplishments as Curtis, but I think his passion fueled him to succeed. I am going to take myself less serious as a writer and become passionate about the experience of writing.