Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Hell's Kitchen

Tonight was the final episode of Hell's Kitchen. If you haven't seen it, it is a reality show where Master Chef Gordon Ramsay has 12 aspiring chefs attempting to win their own restraunt. I really respect Gordon. I would love to train alongside that man. He has a passion for what he does, he is creative, he is confident, and he is a perfectionist. He has all the traits of an excellent Master Craftsman. Tonight, the two survivors squared off to see who would get their own restraunt. On one hand was the polished salesman, Ralph. Ralph is a freelance chef from New Jersey. He dresses appropriately, has the "right" attitude, and is dependable. On the other hand is the creative guy, Micheal. Michael is an executive chef from Colorado. He has a body full of tatoos and is shy and a bit schizophrenic.

Each contestant gets to create his own restraunt and menu. Ralph chooses a throwback to the 20s. He creates the traditional Italian Steakhouse. It looked like a very elegant New York restraunt, which is exactly what he wanted. Michael decided to go contemporary. He created an LA "mod" restraunt with a flareful, imaginative menu and a private, but relaxed dining experience. Ralph's waiters were a focus point, dressed in bright red shirts with black pants, while Michael's were afterthoughts in grey and black attire.

Each Chef had to manage a hot plate. Michael struggled with this, while Ralph performed well. Michael had a hard time gaining respect with his mild mannered demeanor; whereas Ralph's bubbly personality kept everyone moving. However, Ralph chose personnel poorly and had to spend much of his time away from the hot plate and in the kitchen, covering for others mistakes. Michael's personnel was much better and he could focus his attention on quality control.

In the end, both had excellent nights. Both restraunts were given rave reviews by the diners, and they had 90-94% of their customers say they would return, a truly phenomenal number. So, which one did Gordon pick?

He chose Michael. In particular, Gordon commented on Michael's creativity. This bolsters what I said earlier. Software development, like cooking, relies heavily on people and thier creativity. We all have the same basic ingredients (if,while,for,data structures,algorithms) and the same recipies(design patterns, idioms) but it is how we piece them together that gives us a great Beef Wellington or an overcooked Steak Tartar. It is that intuition and creative ability that separates the truly great chefs of the world from the average Joes. I respected Gordon before, but after that choice, when I saw that he got it, I admired him. He looked past Michael's form and saw his true function.

Afterwards, Gordon even offered Michael a chance to move to London and work in one of his restraunts alongside him. Michael, like a good Journeyman, accepted. I would have expected no less from Michael; he gets it too. I wish all of our executives were like Gordon, masters at what they do, demanding perfection from others, giving perfection in return. I just hope they do a sequel :-)

1 comment:

Mama Mouse said...

My husband and I liked the show too and respect Ramsay! We've followed his career on BBC and was pleased to see him doing something here.

Michael was the winner from day one ... and he will do very well. Ralph will too for that matter ... but he just couldn't beat Michael.