MasterChef Australia — A Masterclass of leadership lessons.

Food connects people. Food inspires. Food is culture.

I have been watching MasterChef Australia — Season 8 (2016) for over a month now and I should admit the profound impact it has created on professional and personal me. The show has been a real motivator and very inspiring. I adore how the show has been put out and here’s why this is more than a reality show for me:

The Mystery Box Challenge

It is thrilling to hero one of 8 ingredients and bring out the best dish possible when you don’t know what they are. I remember in the first mystery box challenge, Marco Pierre White says

Keep it simple. Don’t over work. Don’t be over ambitious.

He goes on saying,

Be honest with yourself and be honest with what you put on the plate.

When given with limited resources, planning and execution plays an important role to bring the best out of you. Small things make the biggest difference. If I am ever put in a situation as mystery box next time, I would embrace it. I would be happy to take the challenge and plan wise to deliver the best in me.

At the end of this challenge judges taste only top 5 appealing dishes.

Tells us how important presentation is. It is not just important to work the best and deliver it with great quality, it is equally important to present your work to wider audience so others can adapt it.

The Pressure Test

As the name says, pressure tests are meant to see how best one can perform when put under pressure. In one of the pressure tests, Matt Preston, the judge, says:

It is important you know we believe in you, and we believe that by applying pressure we can turn you into diamonds. Today, precision and focus are your only friends.

No leader wants to push the team under pressure. If me or my team has to perform under pressure, I would reassure them it is not the end of the world for us. We would collectively take responsibility and make sure to carry the lessons learnt to every phase of our professional life.

Isn’t it the same with personal life too ? When we knew we put ourselves in problems for whatever the reason, we ensure not to repeat the same mistake again.

The Immunity Challenge

You are never less than any other.

If you are top 3 in mystery box challenge, you will be a part of immunity challenge in which you get a chance to compete with a successful chef. Shannon Bennett in one of the immunity challenges says:

I am looking forward to getting to see the skill that all of you possess and developing that skill a bit more and getting that pin for you.

If I ever have my team compete with some one who has best skills than us, I would stand with them and and don’t let fear kill their hustle before even they get moving. I would be their mentor, I would work with them and make sure they get “the immunity pin” and they win.

The Service Challenge

What one can’t do, the team does.

A challenge in which you don’t know who you are cooking with, what you are going to cook and who your leader is, yet you work as a team and brings the best out there. During the first service challenge, Gary Mehigan tells contestants:

The pub has been serving meals to customers for 140 years. So if you weren’t nervous when you walked through the door, get nervous.

To excel and give my best, I should understand the capabilities of my team, be prepared and be ready to work efficiently. I should make sure to deliver on time. Communication is the key for a teams success. And to ensure success and to avoid making my customer wait, I will communicate efficiently.

Marco Pierre White in a challenge says:

You have to have a strategy when you’re feeding 70 people. You have to be able to deliver the first plate as good as the last plate. That’s what service is all about. It’s about pushing, pushing to retain those standards and the way you retain consistency is by being disciplined and by communicating. Because if you don’t communicate and you don’t stay disciplined, the heat of the stove will get the better of you.

Well, those words will have a profound impact on my attitude at work each day starting today. I might have been doing the best but how consistent am I matters a lot. And that is what I am going to take with me from now on.

The Master Class

A master class is your opportunity to sit back, relax, and make some notes. Pick up some tips that you’ll want to take away and apply to become the best.

Isn’t that right ?

As a leader, one should not only lead the team but train them on how to become one. The best practices of making a good team, the tips to improve skills, how to coach, how to drive enthusiasm, how to be open to listen, what are the challenges I as a leader faced and how I overcome those, all of these has to be told to my team too. And that is what masterclass is all about. Everyone in the team has a story. Listen !!

Isn’t it amazing on how one show changes the way you think about profession? Thanks for making such an engaging show and to the excellent writers who gave viewers lessons for life.

Never hesitate to share your story.

Special mentions:

  1. Brett Carter, 43, an airplane captain who has been flying planes for 18 years shows it is never too late to achieve your passion.
  2. Cecilia Voung, who was recognized by her Macarons, returns to the competition. Tells one should not give up their dreams.
  3. Karmen Lu, who was always been quiet, stood up and took the challenge to be a leader. Tells how one should not under estimate their own abilities.
  4. Theresa Visintin, who gets eliminated, comes back fiercely by giving her best. Tells it is okay to fail but when given another chance, bounce back with double the speed.
  5. Matt Sinclair, the one who goes beyond expectation every time he was put through a challenge tells what “Fire in my belly” meant.

Lead Programmer at Novartis Healthcare Pvt Ltd.