Chef offer: teen gets cooking

2011-07-26 00:00

“LIVE life to the fullest and don’t allow sickness to pull you back.”

These are the words of Tyron Pretorius (18) of Scottsville who was born with cystic fibrosis.

“Because of the illness I catch flu very quickly from anyone who has it and when I get very sick I have to go through treatment where the [doctors] keep a drip on my arm for two weeks to clear my system,” he said.

Cystic fibrosis is a disease that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive tract.

But Pretorius is not fazed and vows that he won’t stop pursuing his dream of becoming a chef.

Last Tuesday the Grade 12 pupil of Carter High School received a surprise that could be the beginning of great things.

The chief executive officer and head chef of Signature Life Hotels spoke to him live on Damon Beard’s East Coast Radio show after his aunt had written in to ask if they do something special for her nephew.

The Signature Life Hotels team presented Pretorius with a three- week course at its prestigious restaurant at the end of the year.

“It was huge surprise to be at the studio,” Pretorius told The Witness.

“Totally unexpected and it’s such an honour because I love cooking.”

Pretorius said he started cooking at the age of 12 after he saw his father preparing food for the family.

His favourite subject at school is home economics and he enjoys making spaghetti bolognese.

Head chef Jason Turner said, “Pretorius will get practical experience; he’ll research dishes and engage with the guests.”

He told The Witness that being a chef is tough and that one needs “unflagging passion” and the drive every morning to want to do it, traits that Pretorius seems to possess.

Pretorius is just like any other boy who finds pleasure in going out with friends, playing computer games and doing “normal guy stuff”.

His father Nicky said he is proud of his son and is thankful for the opportunity because hospitality schools are expensive.

“My son has such a passion for cooking and always tries new recipes and I’m glad that he’s chasing his dream when so many other young people give up on theirs.”

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