If His Holiness the Dalai Lama was cooking, could you feel the love in his food? I wonder if he would feel at all flustered as a new student in cooking class, trying to strain his vichyssoise and get the white pepper flavor just right while rushing to finish up his “knife skills tray” with its small perfect piles of uniform onion dices and potatoes allumette. “The clock’s ticking your holiness,” the chef blurts out. “You’ve got three minutes!”
I would like to think that he could locate, without stopping to meditate on his cushion, some inner peace and relaxation to handle the pressure. Come to think of it, I would like to locate some inner peace and relaxation that did not slow me down in these moments. And today I did. I took some deep breaths, smiled, zoned in to the tasks at hand, got it all done well, and on time. I did not act on anxiety and fear. I acted from a place of peace and serenity. I was putting the love in. I was the chef I wish to be.
His Holiness has said to approach love and cooking with reckless abandon. In cooking, you need to be organized, efficient, fast, and most importantly, safe. I do not think he means to be reckless while actually working in the kitchen because somebody could get stabbed. Or burned. But I do think he means to just dive in there and make it happen. Do not let anything get in your way to learning, creating, and busting out some awesome food. I also think love and cooking can be infused with eachother at the same time when in the kitchen. I felt that co-mingling today.
You know what got me in the zone? Two things: I thought about my ceaseless drive for being a loving and compassionate chef, and how these things need to be engrained in my learning at culinary school from day one through to the end. And I thought about my love for my girlfriend. I thought about her beautiful smiling face.