Kings on Fire

Last night, after a busy for both of us day, I met my partner Mark for a stroll in downtown New York. As we met, instead of a stroll we decided to give a shot to a documentary Kings of Pastry playing at Film Forum on West Houston in 10 minutes. What a chance!

While waiting for me, the title of the documentary attracted Mark’s attention from the Marquis of the theater. About 30 years ago Mark used to work as a pastry chef. When later he moved on to preparing “real food”, all the while remembering his first passion – making the deserts.

This movie portrayed 16 passionate French pastry chefs gathered in Lyon, France, for 3 grueling days of participating in the most prestigious chefs’ competition called Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (MOF) (Best Craftsmen in France). The competition is only held every four years. So imagine the preparation work involved with creating readiness to perform at the top of the skill for 3 days! The competition is judged by the personal pastry chef for President Sarkozy, who took part in this competition three times. To become a “MOF” is so prestigious that it brings instant fame, and dreams come true for aspiring chefs who receive this award.

During the 3 days, the participants create truly artistic work, using the eatable ingredients, to create eatable art. Their creations are judged by the level of mastery of their hands and by the level of their creative imagination, and also by taste and by visual presentation.

Sculptures made entirely of sugar are breathtaking. The director’s close-ups of the process, people and work are so involving that you feel that you are present inside this room with all the participants where the tension grows with waning hours of the competition.

Suddenly one of the participants, a well known French pastry chef Philippe Rigollot, experiences a disaster, – his sculpture broke, just a few hours before the end, and with it, obviously shattered his dream to become a MOF, his 4 years of devoted preparation, conceiving the artistic image of his sculpture, drawing it, calculating the moves, timing and the right ingredients, so all comes together as a piece of outstanding sugary art.

It is amazing to watch, how in this culminating moment, the chef wipes his tears of despair and finds inside the strength to go on, how he begins to build again, resetting the frame, refinishing the idea, making necessary adjustments to the original scheme, timing, ingredients, and in the end …. wins the award. How uncommon to the average and how showing of a master is the act  of continuing with the chosen intent, to the end, no matter what, and remaining flexible enough to be able to adjust to the occurring circumstances of life.

Recreating the position of being at your best, continuing to begin every moment of your life from this position, noticing the signals in the system requiring an update, and finding the necessary personal power and creativity to update in time to win the title!

Just like the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, where only those who deserve to be called leaders end up with the title of the “best”, taking the point of deciding on what you want and pursuing it, updating constantly, and timely, becoming your own leader, pursuing your own life to the top.

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