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Raise Your Hands For the Pressure Test

Sir James and I have a favourite show together.

Master Chef Australia.

You could say it’s the champagne

of cooking competitions.

And not just because it pushes the standard of amateur cooking straight through the kitchen ceiling.


But because it’s actually up-lifting.

While North American cooking reality shows are busy tearing each other down, Master Chef is happily helping and encouraging one another.

Their main focus isn’t on competition. It’s on creativity.

Even so, at the end of the day, there's a prize to be won.

If you don’t perform well in a challenge, you'll end up at the bottom.

Which means competing in the dreaded PRESSURE TEST.

No one, and I mean NO ONE wants to go through this.

The Pressure Test is defined by nail-biting time constraints and one terrifying task:

Cook an impossible recipe created by a world-famous chef who will be watching your performance and judging your product.

If you haven't watched the show, you may not find that daunting, but I'm not talking about someone who has to make Grandma's pie recipe by following instructions on a 4 x 6 card.

I'm talking about a recipe that's often 12 pages long—one that normally take seasoned chefs MONTHS to get right.

And the contestants on Master Chef only have a couple of hours.

Being in a Pressure Test sucks.

And yet, I’ve watched this show long enough to know that the cooks who go through this round are actually (in the long run) very, very lucky.

They learn and grow more than everyone else in the competition.

The Pressure Test gives each cook the opportunity to come face to face with the best and the worst of themselves.

It forces them to calm their doubt and fear—in real time (with the clock ticking and people watching and all their dreams on the line)—so they can dig deep and finish the very thing they thought was impossible.

You can’t get that kind of experience when you’re watching from the bleachers.

Contestants who are in the bottom again and again are almost always the ones who rise to the top to claim the prize.

It turns out that stressful experiences can actually be good for you.

And while it's true that diamonds are created from pressure, I'm NOT advocating stress as a lifestyle. And I’m certainly not saying that life has to be hard in order to take home the gold.

Trust me, I’m a big fan of EASY!

Yet, when I look at my own life and remember all the challenging situations that have been thrown at me, I have to admit that those times always prepared me for something bigger and better in the future.

Maybe you know what I'm talking about

Maybe you've had a couple pressure tests of your own and discovered talents you never knew you had.

And maybe like me, you also discovered your limitations and had to grow beyond them.

Being in the hot, hectic kitchen of Life can be humbling.

That's certainly been my experience. But I can clearly see how all those uncomfortable, embarrassing, difficult moments forced me to open.

  • I learned to ask for help.

  • I learned how to be honest about what I need.

  • I learned how to work as a team instead of just an individual.

  • I learned that it's okay to admit my mistakes.

  • I leaned how to trust myself.

The pressure test is often a fast-track to the winner's circle.

So the next time you’re faced with an impossible situation, put on your apron, roll up your sleeves and GET IN THERE!

Raise your hands in celebration, my friend.

You’re being groomed for greatness.

Accept the challenge and I'm certain you'll learn something that will change the course of your life forever.

And when it does, I'll pop the champagne!

Sending you so much love,

PS. The picture for this blog is of a dish from a Master Chef Pressure Test. It's called the Jewel of the Sea and was created by Guillaume Brahimi. I love that it has inspired so many chefs to rise to greatness. Those who attempt to create this dish are changed in so many beautiful ways.


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