"Primitivo, eh?" (Luke 17:10)

On a recent vacation in Spain, I had the privilege to dine at Asador Extebarri.


This Michelin-starred restaurant is renowned for grilling and smoking all of its food, even desserts! One dish boggled my mind. It was fish with a tempura batter. The tempura coating was perfect and there was a delicate hint of smoke. I asked the waiter how the chef could accomplish this, assuming that he used a frying pan placed on top of the grill or oven. To my surprise, the waiter said, “No, he does this all on the grill!”

“How could that be?”, I wondered out loud.

The waiter’s eyes twinkled. “Would you like to meet the chef?”

Say no more! After our lunch, we were escorted to the kitchen where our family met the famous chef, Victor Arguinzoniz. Chef Victor proudly displayed the grills that lined one wall, burning oak wood. In the center was a food preparation table. And on the other side were two wood burning ovens.

Anticipating my astonishment, the chef looked at me and smiled, “This is it. This is where all the cooking is done.”

I could not believe it. The grills were very similar to the ones I use. How was he able to achieve such brilliant dishes? Chef Victor carefully watched my expressions and grinned, “Primitivo, eh?”

Primitive? I was floored! This culinary genius had singularly defined an entire genre of cooking dubbed Creative European Barbeque. And yet, what defined him was his humility. The  staff later informed me that Chef Victor was pleased that I addressed him as Chef because he did not consider himself to be one because he was never formally trained; his background was in forestry where he learned the subtle nuances of wood and flavors. His life was not about seeking accolades. He was simply happy to cook and serve others, to do what he felt was his calling in life.

So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, "We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty."
Luke 17:10 (ESV)

My life as a servant of Jesus Christ can take a lesson from Chef Victor. So often, I look back upon my accomplishments and want others to recognize what I have done. But this is not what God asks of me.  In the end, all that matters is whether I was faithful to God’s calling for my life. I am unworthy of any accolades. My only duty and joy is found in serving my Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.

Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.