As part of National Autism Awareness Month, on Tuesday, April 14th, Executive Chef Greg Daniels will join 13-year-old aspiring chef and Irvine resident Chase Bailey, who was diagnosed with autism as a toddler, in taping an episode of his cooking show at Haven Gastropub in Orange. Chef Greg Daniels will teach Chase practical cooking tips and kitchen life skills that are often challenging for people with autism. The two will prepare Chase’s version of Haven’s noted Mac n’ Cheese and the public is invited to come try the unique dish, known as Mac n’ Chase (‘N Yur Face), which will be available as a special for the day to raise awareness of autism.
“In talking with Mary Bailey, I’ve learned how individuals on the autism spectrum can have difficulties with fine motor skills which affect chopping, cutting, and other ordinary cooking tasks,” explained Chef Daniels, who is familiar with cooking as a form of therapy from working with his own 3-year-old daughter, Madeleine, who suffers from a rare condition called Treacher Collins Syndrome. “Hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness can hinder a person with autism when it comes to cooking in the kitchen, so with Chase, I will be focusing cutting with a knife, stirring, carefully adding ingredients, and following instructions.”
The recipes for Haven’s Mac n’ Cheese and Chase’s special Mac n’ Chase (‘N Yur Face) are available here: http://bit.ly/HavenMacNChase.
Children with autism can be inspired through music, or by playing a musical instrument. For Chase Bailey, his inspiration is cooking and food. Without formal training, and certainly not a prodigy, Chase is a kid with autism and with a plan to become a chef one day. Diagnosed as a toddler, Chase didn’t speak, or socialize, and he only ate five (5) foods. Since discovering cooking and baking, and the cultural meaning behind food, Chase loves to talk—in front of a camera—eats foods that he never ate before and has a discerning palette. With Chase’s cooking show as one part of his Life Curriculum—Chase’s tailored home schooling curriculum written by his mom, Mary Bailey—Mary acknowledges that this style of learning isn’t for everyone
Chase ‘N Yur Face (CNYF) is a free online resource designed to inspire children and families. Created by Mary Bailey and her son Chase, who was diagnosed with autism as a toddler, the website focuses on cooking, learning at home, living with autism, and philanthropy. Mary knew she was on to something when she witnessed Chase light up and desire to learn after watching his first television cooking show. In 2014, Mary left her corporate job to home school Chase, and today she writes his curriculum, which revolves around his love of cooking. Reading, public speaking, writing, science, history, and math are integrated into his cooking show, volunteer unit study, and other school subjects. Since discovering cooking, Chase eats foods that he never ate before, has a discerning palette, is an aspiring chef, and serves as a foodie ambassador to kids his age. Future plans include creating a foundation for people like Chase who need a helping hand to make their dreams achievable.