Day 57: Chef Jesus

Have you ever considered what Jesus would have been like as a chef?


Probably not, because it’s admittedly an absurd question. But as I read about how He cooked for the disciples on the beach in John 21, a food lover like myself can’t help but wonder what Jesus would have been like in the kitchen.


Seriously, think about that for a second. What type of cuisine do you think He’d specialize in? Would he prepare humble dishes perfect for eating during long treks between towns? Or would He use His godly powers and never-ending knowledge to craft the most exquisite tasting menu this world has ever seen?


But the cuisine and menu instruction is only part of a chef’s job. It could be argued that leadership is as important as culinary knowledge; a chef must earn the respect of his cooks and sous chefs so they listen to and work hard for him. He must correct mistakes when necessary, but also show love and grace when errors are made. And he must know how to empower and raise up less experienced chefs to carry out his dishes and menu.


Given all that, I don’t think it matters what type of food Jesus cooked; He would have made one heck of a chef.


Just look at how He treated those around Him.


Peter, his right hand man (His sous chef, if you will), betrayed Him in His moment of greatest need, publicly denying even knowing Jesus three times (Matthew 26:69-75). Jesus calmly reprimanded Peter, reinstated him, and changed the world through him.


A sinful woman, someone the world deemed had little worth (say, a dishwasher or busboy) washed His feet with expensive perfume and her hair (Luke 7:36-50). Rather than shoo her away, as others tried to do, Jesus forgave her sins and blessed her.


Thomas, like the talented young cook who thinks his chef no longer possesses the skills to work on the line, doubted that Jesus had risen from the dead (John 20:24-29). Rather than fire Thomas, Jesus allowed him to touch His wounds and confirm His resurrection.


At various times, Jesus was caring, demanding, patient, thoughtful, skilled, and brilliant. He showed tough love. He transformed a band of fishers, vagabonds, and tax collectors into men who changed the world.


On a recent episode of my restaurant podcast, I hosted a couple of cooks from The Boiler Room (if you live in Omaha and haven’t been here, change that. It’s phenomenal). These guys couldn’t say enough about their head chef, Tim Nicholson. Though he’s been nominated for numerous James Beard awards and is regarded as one of Omaha’s top talents, he can be found fixing the plumbing or working in the dish pit on a busy Saturday night. He helps his cooks move between homes. He encourages them, even the least experienced, to come up with dishes and concepts that may be placed on the menu.


I think this is what it would be like to work for Jesus, only to the nth degree. As awesome as Tim is, he’s just a man. He’s flawed. Jesus is God. His knowledge is unapproachable. His leadership is inspiring.


And His love is unmatched.


I’m not perfect at this, not by a long shot. But when my chef Jesus gives me an order, I want to respond to His love with a loud and hearty, “Heard, chef!”