It Pays to Have a Dream

10th December 2010

The last thing 18-year-old Tanya Padayachee expected when she applied to Ikusasa School of Cooking one year ago, was a job offer from Atul Kochhar, a Michelin rated celebrity star chef who was visiting the school.

Sometimes even the little person catches a break.

After Padayachee completes her three-year training stint at the prestigious Oyster Box Hotel located in Umhlanga, she will be recruited to the big leagues of chefdom.

The talented trainee said, “I can't explain, I have no words. I didn't even have a conversation with him. He congratulated me from a distance and gave me the job and that was it. To know he has so much faith in me is amazing."

The training school gives young people who serve up a passion for cooking the opportunity to train and eventually find careers as world-class chefs.

The teen’s mother died 13 years ago. Their father, who greatly loved both his girls, as well as good food, raised Tanya and her 13-year-old sister. After his death, the girls lived with their grandmother.

Padayachee’s goal was to make a better life for both her sister and grandmother, saying, "My aim was to finish top of the class. I am glad I accomplished that. Growing up, I knew I wanted to be independent and know that my future career is set. Knowing that I can provide for my family is overwhelming."

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