Do you think a well-cooked meal can change someone's world? Celebrated chef Kylie Kwong certainly does, and this year a proud young mum would be sure to agree with her.
Friday December 18, 2015
Georgia and Kylie at this year's Young Parents Program Recognition Ceremony.
Georgia, 18, is one of a group of young mums and dads living at the Young Parents Program centre in Sydney.
Red Cross volunteers and staff help young parents develop the skills they need to give their children the best start in life, to find a job or begin studying and to break the cycles of trauma, abuse and neglect that can go back several generations.
They are supported to secure their own place to live, and get tailor-made, intensive help from a dedicated Red Cross case manager, plus a weekly program of classes to develop their parenting knowledge, living skills and education.
Red Cross helped Georgia take part in a cooking course, where she met Kylie at her famous restaurant Billy Kwong. Kylie was so impressed by Georgia's skills when she helped out in the Billy Kwong kitchens that she has now offered to mentor Georgia as she pursues her goal of becoming a professional pastry chef. Kylie was invited to the annual Young Parents Program Recognition Ceremony last week to congratulate Georgia in person.
"My mother taught me that lovingly cooked food connects people and food makes people happy. From our first conversation I was very impressed with the way in which Georgia spoke about her passion for cooking along with her naturally sunny, bright and positive disposition," said Kylie. "Georgia was an absolute star in the Billy Kwong kitchen - no mean feat in a kitchen full of Chinese male chefs! She worked with great skill, focus and speed. She is a credit to herself and her beautiful daughter."
Georgia is delighted at the opportunity, and she's now determined to realise her dream of becoming a chef. "On my 18th birthday I was given the privilege of working with Kylie. I could never have asked for a better birthday! We made fried rice and dumplings and many other foods in front of 40 people. I realized how hard it actually is to twist dumplings, a lot harder than it looks! She also gave me an amazing birthday present and cake," she said.
"One day I hope to become - in fact I will become - a pastry chef. I would like to run my own patisserie in the future. This will also show my daughter that whether you have a kid young, or whatever your age or your circumstances, you can become anyone and do anything you want."