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Wednesday, October 14

Lessons From Hell's Kitchen Season Finale

Last night, I was in my hotel room in Raleigh flipping through channels to find something to watch. (I don't have cable at home, so when I work out-of-town I look forward to the luxury of having more network selections). Somehow I settled on the season finale of Hell's Kitchen, which ended up being a battle between over-confident-to-the-point-of-annoyance Kevin and laid-back-slow-talking Dave.

Dave appeared to be the underdog in the competition. First, because he competed with only one arm--after he hurt his wrist early in the season leaving his left arm in a cast. (He competed most of the season in excruciating pain because several challenges required him to cook with his left hand). Second, because he decided on a really simple, underwhelming dinner menu for the final competition while Kevin pulled out all of the stops with a complicated, well presented meal.

Dave's justification for the simple menu was that he had exhibited and proven his culinary talent throughout the season. And the final dinner was an opportunity to go back to the basics and cook a simple meal perfectly using the skills he had developed and strengthened week after week.

It paid off.

About about 55 minutes after the show began, Dave was announced the winner of season five, winning head chef privileges at Araxi restaurant in British Columbia during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

As the show went off, I reflected on a few things that we can all learn from Dave.

1. Never never never give up. Dave actually contemplated leaving the show on three separate occasions due to his wrist. But he didn't. He persevered through the pain to become the grand prize winner.
2. Keep It Simple. Dave's final menu was simple, whereas Kevin's menu was very involved. I'm sure we've all heard the common phrase, less is more. Dave focused on cooking a less intricate yet palatable menu extremely well. He wanted to avoid higher error margins with a complicated menu but still showcase his skills and ability to lead in the kitchen. It worked.

So the lesson....If we can learn to persevere through even the hardest times while trying our best to keep life simple, I think we might all be able to free our goddess.

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