A seriously ill Milton Keynes boy has been given the experience of a life-time, which has brought him one step closer to his ambition of becoming a chef.
Seven-year-old Johnathan, who has a rare genetic condition called x-linked CDG and congenital glaucoma, was thrilled when Cheltenham based children’s charity WellChild paired up with their supporter, Creed Foodservice to arrange a cookery master class for him.
Winner in the 2013 inspirational child category at the WellChild Awards, Johnathan is fanatical about cooking. After first meeting Johnathan last year, Creed invited him and his family into their Development kitchen.
The morning began in Creed’s butchery with a sausage making demonstration, before a guide in the kitchen by Robin Stock, Creed’s renowned Development Chef along with 2011 Celebrity Masterchef winner and professional rugby player Phil Vickery. After cooking, Johnathan then shared his dish with his attending family, Phil Vickery and Chris Creed, Chief Executive.
Johnathan has had long periods in hospital with serious infections and also has to cope with partial sight but remains cheerful throughout. At five-years-old, Johnathan he critically unwell with Pancreatitis triggered by his genetic condition. Although doctors were able to manage the inflammation, he had to be prevented from eating or drinking for five months.
Having a passion for food already, Johnathan coped with this setback by instead turning his attentions to cooking, transforming his isolation room into a kitchen with its own sign ‘Johnathan He – Head Chef’, and writing poems and stories about his love of food.
After hearing Jonathan’s story at the 2013 WellChild Awards, Juliet Gardiner, Business Development Manager and Chris Creed, chief executive of Creed, were so inspired by his passion for cooking that they wanted to offer him a unique experience for him to enjoy.
Chris Creed said: “Creed Foodservice has supported WellChild for the last two years since discovering the fantastic work they do to help care for sick children like Johnathan He. Charity work is an integral part of our CSR activity, including internal and external events.”
As Johnathan and his family are from Milton Keynes, they travelled to Cheltenham the day before his chef experience and stayed in the luxurious Ellenborough Park, courtesy of the hotel who are also a valued supporter of WellChild.
WellChild’s chief executive, Colin Dyer, said: “We were so moved by Johnathan’s infectious personality and inspirational story when we were first introduced to him last year that we weren’t surprised when he had the same effect on others.
“It’s wonderful that our supporters Creed have taken time to organise such an amazing opportunity for Johnathan who has had such a fantastic day in the kitchens with the professionals.”
For further information about WellChild’s work, please see www.wellchild.org.uk