One of the most inspiring people in my life has one of the most recognized faces of any chef on Earth. He owns restaurants in seven countries, has written innumerable best-selling cookbooks, and is the host of several highly popular television shows. Yet, he is most infamous for his swearing at the sight of undercooked salmon and raw scallops. Some of his eloquent one-liners include: “Oh, look at that, overcooked on the bottom, crispy as fuck, and it looks like Gandhi’s flip flop!” and “Oh my god, right now… I’d rather eat poodle shit than put that in my mouth!”
Chef Gordon Ramsay’s use of expletives has earned him as many critics as fans. I remember watching my first episode of Hell’s Kitchen – the very first time I was exposed to Chef Ramsay’s colorful language and boastful demeanor. I hated the volume and the manner in which he spoke. Yet, I kept watching – and what continuously engaged me wasn't the drama of the television show, but the realization that his anger actually had a time, a place, and a purpose. I began to watch his other programs, including “Kitchen Nightmares”, and my favorite, “Gordon’s Great Escape” in which he escapes to India where not many know who he is, discovering the most exotic cuisine and traditions of Southeastern Asia. His respect and passion, perhaps overcooked, for all forms of cuisine and his fearlessness is why he is my inspiration. All his yelling and swearing—it's because he cares about what he's doing. Chef Ramsay is that devil’s advocate you don’t want by your side, but know you need, and that is why he is my inspiration.
See, as I've grown older, I've learned inspiration is quite a versatile feature of life.
From the very beginning of his mission to spread Islam, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was opposed by his people. In fact, some of his worst enemies were members of his own family. When the Prophet gathered all of the people of Quraysh, his tribe, and said to them that he was the Messenger of God, his uncle, Abu Lahab, shouted, "May you perish!" and sent the people away. Abu Lahab was so vehement in his opposition to the Prophet that he would actually follow the Prophet along the streets of Mecca and told everyone Muhammad was a madman.
Whatever a person believes, it’s hard to refute the fact that these stories are more than mere tales. Islam was once a religion that never existed; spread by one man victim to opposition, Islam today has a following of over one billion believers. And it doesn't take one to realize that incredible feat.
Prophet Muhammad and Chef Gordon Ramsay may sound vastly dissimilar to even be uttered in the same sentence, but the fact is – both have one thing in common – me.
Whether I’m reciting a speech, writing poetry, or speaking to my inner doldrums, inspiration seeps through every fiber of my body. Inspiration defines what I do, why I do it, and who I am.
Prophet Muhammad and Chef Gordon Ramsay may be on opposite sides of a secular spectrum – but the fact is, both are human, and each has successfully implemented their passion to shed prosperity in this world.
Human life is amorphous, yet we all have the power to inspire and bring form into each other’s lives. We are each the product of another human's inspirational palette.
I can only wish that I absorb even an ounce of the wisdom of Prophet Muhammad and an atom of the will-power of Gordon Ramsay and hopefully, one day, be able to be a passionate piece on another person’s puzzle of inspiration.
But honestly, I would be more than grateful to live a life finishing my own puzzle.