Netflix recently released a fascinating docu series about famous chefs, called Chef’s Table. The first episode was focused on Italian chef Massimo Bottura, a passionate man with a deep love for the Italian kitchen. He talked about the history of one of his famous dishes, called ‘Oops! I dropped the lemon tart’.
One of his sous-chefs dropped a perfectly made lemon tart. Of course he felt horrible about it, but chef Massimo did something unexpected. Instead of getting all angry as chefs are prone to do, he studied the fallen lemon tart. He saw beauty in the disaster that had happened.
He told the sous-chef to carefully grab the fallen pieces and put them on a plate. With some added flourishes, a new dish was born and it would become world famous: ‘Oops! I dropped the lemon tart’.
When I watched this documentary and heard the story behind this dish, it struck me how deep a lesson this was for youth ministry. Too often when disaster strikes, we get angry or play the blame game. We give up or give in to feelings of hopelessness.
Massimo Bottura embraced the accident. He immediately switched his perspective and reframed what could have been a disaster as an opportunity for reinventing a dish. And it became a classic.
What do you do when your best laid plans go wrong? How do you handle it when disaster strikes in your youth ministry? Do you get angry with yourself or others? Or do you have the guts and mental agility to embrace the disaster and reframe it as a learning experience, maybe even an opportunity for success?
Think about that, the next time you drop a lemon tart. Or something else.
(p.s. Make sure to watch this docu series, as it’s brilliant. Be aware of some crude language though, especially in the second episode)