My Mont Blanc Moment

I have talked often about what Bracken’s Kitchen has done for me over the past 3 ½ years but I continue to be amazed by the moments of self-realization that I encounter.  I had one of those recently, one I have dubbed my “Mont Blanc Moment”.

I have truly been blessed throughout my career to be able to meet, get to know and cook for many wildly successful people.  And by successful I am referring to people who have reached a level of business and financial success that far surpasses mine.  Be it business professionals, movie stars or sports celebrities, I have met many.   Over the past few years I have called upon many of those same people for support of Bracken’s Kitchen.  Many have come through in support of our cause and many have not.  I continue to be surprised by both but more often those who have chosen “not” to support our cause.  It has been at time challenging and always a humbling experience to be met with rejection from those people who are in the best position to help us the most.  Those whom I truly thought I could count on.

In a recent message at church our pastor talked about the excess that God blesses us with and what it is truly designed for.  Yes, for those who have worked hard and found financial success you are entitled to enjoy the rewards of your hard work.   But what I have learned is that it is those same rewards that we should also be willing to use to help and bless others.  After all, if not us, then who?

I certainly understand that we live in a capitalist society here in America and we often forget that our blessings are designed not only for our own enjoyment but for us to be able to help others. With that in mind I have struggled at times with people whom I know well and are in a financial position to help us but chose not to.  And by struggle I am referring to a struggle in my own mind and heart, wondering why they will not help or support us.  I tend to take it very personally and often think I have done something wrong or offended them in some way.  And of course at times I am human and judge.  I look at the choices and sacrifices that I have made to help others and wonder why others wont help, even  just a little.

Yes, I admit this is a fault of mine that I am working on but how many cars does a person really need?  How big of a house and pool do you need?  How many $3000.00 suits or $200.00 ties does that business professional really need?  How many fancy dinners, expensive bottles of wine and overindulgent vacations do you need?  Yes, these are some of the thoughts I have struggled with at times.

And let me say that social media has not helped me.  We can now see directly into a persons life via a variety of websites.  With all of the excess so proudly displayed on a person’s Facebook or Instagram page how can I not be bothered.  At times my struggle has gotten the best of me and I have even un-followed (not unfriend) a person or two just so their indulgent lifestyle would not be right in front of my eyes.  Yes, I know, shame on me, but it is just so hard to see so many people struggling right here on one side of Orange County while there is so much wealth on the other.

You see, I’ve always believed that I live a conservative and simple life and that material things, wealth and worldly success has never been important to me.  After all I have always driven a Ford, bought my clothes off the discount rack (when I do buy them) and I have never really indulged in the most expensive and fanciest of restaurants, regardless of my career.   Heck, my old boss was always so bothered by my cheap red G Shock watch as it did not fit into the world in which I worked.  But hey, I love my red G Shock.  No, I certainly did not overindulge with my success.

But then my Mont Blanc moment:  Last week, I had a meeting in Fashion Island in one of the high rent office buildings.  As I got out of my truck I realized that I did not have my Mont Blanc pen.  While I no longer work in luxury hospitality I still had my collection of expensive pens that I used when the setting called for it.  And then it hit me and I realized that I too have overindulged with the past successes in my life.  What a hypocrite I am.  I have been bothered often by others excess but look at me and my $500.00 pen.

Yes, I once spent $500.00 on a pen and worse yet I spent $700.00 on a pair of sunglasses. 


Sunglasses and pens were my thing and I really loved a nice pen.  The funny thing is I now find that my 25 cent bic pen writes just as good as my Mont Blanc and I don’t have to worry about losing it.

At that moment I was suddenly reminded of a well-known quote from one of the most influential men to ever walk this earth: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and ignore the plank in your own eye”.

It was indeed a “Mont Blanc” moment of self-realization.  I pondered this for the next few days and thought about what I learned most from this moment.  Beyond looking in the mirror at my own faults and areas that need improvement there were a few other lessons to be learned.

  • Yes, we are entitled to enjoy the fruits of our labor, but the excess we are given is truly designed for us to be able to help and support those in need.
  • We are all different people with different callings at different places in life. As a result your excess looks much different than mine. If you have more success and more blessings, good for you.
  • Stop looking at the speck in my brother’s eye.
  • If you are in a position to help a person out, please do so.  There is a lot of need, right here in Southern California.
  • A $500.00 pen is truly a waste of money. The .25 cent model works just as well.  Anyone want to buy a few pens?
  • Oh and a $700.00 pair of sunglasses is even a bigger waste, even if they are from France.

As I have said often, I am not a writer and I do hope that my thoughts and feelings come across in the manner in which I had intended, honest and humbling with a chuckle or two along the way.

Have a great day…

Chef BrackenMy Mont Blanc Moment

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