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May 11, 2013


On Risks


Do you watch the show, Chopped?
I do.
It's like my favorite show right now. I watch it whenver I get the chance, which is pretty frequently because it's on a lot!

Whenever the contestants open the mystery basket and they are confronted with items that people normally do not know how to handle, I'm ever impressed with those who know how to handle them. It's sexy, quite frankly, when a person doesn't squirm or flinch or hesitate with whatever is before them ... from jumbo squid to frog legs, nopales to habaneros ... but rather takes command of the kitchen and the ingredients to make art happen.

Jenny Doh
One thing that is always on my mind about this show is how the judges value those who take risks. They are constantly saying it, right? "You played it safe by going the safe route and making the predictable bread pudding ... or the pot pie ... or the (fill in the blank)." It's when contestants take the road less traveled and truly invent, truly innovate, and truly take risks to make something unimaginably fantastic rather than imaginabley good.

When contestants go on this untraveled road, I start biting my nails. Will they make it in time? Will the sauce reduce in time? Will the souffle rise in time? Shouldn't they have just played it safe? Is it worth the risks that they are taking? What if their efforts are met with unexpected calamity?

Jenny Doh
And of course sometimes, the risk-takers do fail. Flat on their faces. Their dishes don't work. The inventive combinations of spices don't come together. The cake doesn't rise. The sauce burns. And unfairly, the ones with less imagination and less courage and frequently less skill ... who play it safe end up stay on for another round as the one who took the risks gets chopped. It's a tragedy.

But then of course there are plenty of times when the risk-takers do become victorious. Eveyrthing comes together beautifully, and the judges' palates are ever impressed with what they experience.

. . . .

So with art ... and with life.

I always wonder ... am I playing it safe? Or am I being bold and taking risks?
These are questiions contantly on my mind. I want to invent. I want to innovate. I want to experience something unimaginable. Even if that means that at times, I fall flat on my face.

I think about Frida Kahlo. She was consumed with taking risks and living out loud, with passion, and without hesitation. To say the least. And arguably, her approach lead to a lot of hurt and pain. Oh, but the brilliance of her work, her art, her life.

Jenny Doh

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