I’m a HUGE foodie.
If foodies were people, I’d be China.
And I’ve spent the last few months indulging in some of the finest food porn available.
The grand finale of the latest season of MasterChef Australia just aired (which makes the UK version look like “Chimps Make Toast”), and the latest winner declared (no spoilers). I’ve slobbered at the sights on my screen, luxuriated in lusciousness, and dreamed of the delicious dishes on display. Seriously, it’s the pinnacle of food porn.
But besides the food, the contestants went through the wringer to figure out who they are, what their food is about, and faced many crises of confidence that would make most of us turn and run.
Like Julie, who won the very first season back in 2009. A home cook and Mum, she had a genuine crisis of confidence following her win, believing that her “home cooking” just can’t compete with the incredible food being made in restaurants and in subsequent seasons.
With a deep worry that she didn’t know what she was doing and didn’t have the skills to get anywhere, it was a huge gamble to put herself out there, come back, and compete again. But week after week, she rediscovered her passion, leaned into her knowledge and experience, and refined her craft to win huge praise.
Or like Daniel, who was undoubtedly the underdog. Barely knowing one end of a lamb rack from the other, he probably had the most pedestrian food knowledge and experience, and floundered at the beginning. I was sure he wouldn’t last more than a couple of weeks, and as he presented dish after dish with shame written on his face, it was clear he felt the same. He knew other people had more experience, more knowledge, and were better cooks.
But he stuck with it. He studied. He practised. He tried stuff. He learned.
And as the judges pointed out, his growth towards the end of the show was simply mind-blowing, winning “dish of the day” in multiple challenges and consistently surprising himself with the dishes he put up.
And then there’s Billie. Billie won in season 7, and before she even picked up the trophy the one and only Heston Blumenthal offered her a job in the Fat Duck, probably one the most sought after jobs for a chef on the planet. She spent a little time at the Fat Duck before heading back to Australia, feeling like she hadn’t earned her position there, didn’t deserve it and wasn’t good enough.
Her lack of confidence pulled her back from food, until seven years later she took a leap of faith to come back this last season to see if she had something, after all. And of course, she did. With some serious bells on.
Every single participant battled their confidence and self-belief as much as they battled each challenge thrown at them, with more ups and downs than Keith Moon’s medicine cabinet.
At rock bottom, amid split sauces or burnt protein or ruined desserts, you could see them physically rocked with stress. Trembling, tears, the works. I watched them pause and look at the total disarray on their benches, a moment where they had to make a fundamental choice.
Turn around and walk out. That would be easy, hell, it would be a relief. No more pressure. I can just chill. Yes please.
I’m here for a reason. Because this matters to me. Because it’s how I get to be at my best, because it’s how I get to express myself, and because I get to bring joy to people through my food. This matters to much to give up on.
Every episode, you could see people dig into who they are way down deep, reach for the confidence they didn’t know they had, and make a choice to apply themselves wholeheartedly.
Over and over, the proof, quite literally, was in the pudding.
The combination of abundant food porn and proof of how damn important confidence is as we go about building a life that matters made it a total joy to watch.
- Confidence is threaded through anything worthwhile you’ll ever do.
- Nothing worthwhile happens unless you find the confidence to take a leap of faith.
- Confidence doesn’t require you to be ready, it just allows you to engage.
- Being stressed, feeling not-good-enough, or being right at that point of giving-up is when you can pause, breathe, and see if there’s a different kind of choice to make. That’s what confidence is.
Your capability and capacity for growth is a gift. Use it.