For my eminent interviews, I had the pleasure of interviewing two Masterchef winners: Christine Ha and Luce Manfe.
Let’s start with Christine.
Christine Ha is an incredibly notable cook. One of the main reasons she is so revered is because she’s a blind chef. She was diagnosed with neuromyelitis optica as an adult, which is a disease in which a person’s immune system attacks the optic system and spinal cord. Although she lost her vision, she is still able to create beautiful and delectable dishes while navigating her way around a kitchen, which includes ovens, stoves, knives, and other appliances that might be dangerous to someone who cannot see.
(I had a screenshot of an email but it won’t show up on my blog for some reason.)
I contacted her via the contact information I got through her website. Her assistant replied to me and graciously accepted my request for an e-mail interview. I came up with 13 questions that I sent to her, and she answered every one of them with thought. She told me a bit about how Gordon Ramsay impacted her as a chef – she calls him “a great mentor and motivator” and charismatic. He told her to believe in herself, and Christine thinks that confidence goes a long way in the culinary world.
She also offered some insight into the world of restaurants. She says that most restaurants don’t earn much of a profit.
“A chef my have wonderful food, but may not have the business sense to keep the restaurant in the green.”
Gordon is able to run multiple restaurants at a high profit and turns out delicious food. From this information, I deduct that Gordon is a great businessman. This is also shown by his ability to aid businesses in need on his shows like Kitchen Nightmares and Hotel Hell.
The second person I interviewed was Luca Manfe. He was born in Italy and moved to America, where he worked as a restaurant manager in New York before he competed on Masterchef. He is the returning contestant, as well as first male contestant to win the show.
My second interview was a lot more nerve-wracking. First of all, it was with the first Masterchef winner who’s full season I had followed from start to finish, and secondly, it was over the phone, which meant that the interview was happening in real time and I had to think and speak on the spot. I recorded this interview using my phone so that I could listen to if for reference.
He provided some opinions of what he thought of Gordon’s shows. He’s not exactly a fan of the more aggressive shows that involve tons of swearing and anger. He believes that his performances on those shows are definitely exaggerated for entertainment. This is something I want to get across to anyone who only has a stereotypical impression of who Gordon Ramsay is.
Although I learned much from these two Masterchefs, I would say the most valuable thing I took away from my Eminent Interview experience was realizing that if you reach out, you will get a reply. (Duh, right?) I’ve always been scared of messaging people or reaching out to strangers for help, but this year I learned the value of shooting off emails like crazy. Last year, I just met a past art teacher in person for my interview and didn’t search for alternate sources because I was too scared to hold an interview with someone I wasn’t familiar with.
I think I could definitely improve with my interviewing and communication skills. My family are all people who only clarify our plans at the very last minute. When my brother and I text, he only responds at the last possible moment, the moment when I NEED a reply…and vice versa. Most of our inter-familial conversations go something like this:
Person A: Can we do this thing on Monday
Person B: idk what time
Person A: 4:30
(3 days later)
Person A: ??? ????? ????????? hello
Person B: I’m outside
Sure, its frustrating, but it somehow works. Since we’re all such *flexible* people who don’t communicate, I went berserk the first year of TALONS. Schedules who? Planning what? Actual structured itineraries? Self-directed learning??? It was such a contrast from what I was used to. I admit I was overwhelmed, and I dedicated myself so tightly to having a plan and completing everything and going beyond the call of duty that at the times I didn’t have homework I would just sit on my bed with nothing to do, forgetting that my hobbies existed, that I was allowed to take time for hobbies, still feeling like I wasn’t doing enough. If I wasn’t feeling stressed or angry, I felt wrong. This was because at school, I was rewarded for the work I did when I was feeling upset. I became distant from my friends, because I didn’t consider hanging out with them to be “productive” or “beneficial”. Instead of finding a balance, I went to the extremes. This made me very unhappy all of last year. I wasn’t fun to be around. When I was with my friends, I wanted to be doing homework. When I was doing homework, I wanted to be chilling with my friends.
I now realize that this lifestyle is just really stupid. There’s no better word for it. This year, sure, my grades are slipping, but my emotions won’t. Maintaining high self-esteem without material validation, such as the approval of teachers, is on my list of priorities now.
This all connects back to learning to communicate better, with my family, myself, and interviewees. After an interview, I often found myself wishing I’d asked a different question, or grabbed an opportunity to delve deeper into something the interviewee said. I believe both my interviews could have provided more useful information if I were more competent at communication. I might improve at communicating by speaking out when planning projects or events even if it feels necessary.