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The Perfectionist
Photo: Craig Jewell
From the time he was a teenager, Bernard Loiseau had one driving ambition – to be the chef of a French restaurant rated three stars in Michelin’s Guide. You see, Michelin’s Guide is the bible of French dining. It has been called “the gold standard of food guides” for more than a hundred years. The French people have great faith in Michelin, so much so that a restaurant which receives three stars will immediately catapult to success, its’ business booming. Conversely, a dining establishment dropped from three to two stars by Michelin, (which is still an excellent rating!) might easily experience a 50% decrease in clientele.

For many years, Bernard Loiseau drove himself toward his goal. He started from the bottom up doing many humble culinary tasks while training under some of the finest French chefs.

He borrowed money to purchase his first establishment, a small restaurant and hotel many miles from Paris. Then he threw himself into building an eatery that would be so outstanding it would catch the attention of Michelin and draw them to make the long journey from Paris. That trip in itself is an honor only awarded fewer than 20 restaurants annually in the entire country of France.

In 1991, Loiseau reached his goal. His eatery, the Cote d’Or, received the coveted three Michelin stars. During the 1990’s the Cote d’Or was a trend setter in the restaurant business and immensely successful.

Tragic Response

However, the pressure of maintaining the perfection the Michelin three stars demanded proved too much for Loiseau. After receiving a less than perfect review by another restaurant publication, Gault Millau, he worried constantly about losing that third Michelin star. He was troubled by depression and at one point suffered a nervous breakdown. Finally, in February of 2003, the 52 year old chef took his life.

Loiseu’s tragic and unnecessary death points out both the futility of striving for perfection and the danger of allowing others to define our value and worth – something only God can do.

Our value is beyond calculation and each one of us is irreplaceable for two reasons: One, God created us which makes us each special and unique. Two, the Almighty paid the infinite price to secure our place in heaven by sending Jesus to die for us on the cross.

Since time began, only one “perfect” person has walked this planet. That’s why the Lord’s death on the cross was the perfect sacrifice for our sins.

Hard as we try, we can never reach perfection in anything we do. But we can strive for excellence in everything. In fact, the Bible encourages us to do just that. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).  So, strive for your best in all that you do, knowing that when you fall short of perfection, your value and worth are not lessened one iota in God’s eyes.

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By Kathy A. Lewis. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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