Blind Chef28 Aug 2009
This article was found on the SMH website. It is a very inspirational story of an apprentice chef, Tony Carter, who has 4 per cent vision in his right eye, no vision in his left and no peripheral vision. He cannot see up, down or sideways but he can make out blurred figures and bright colours. Despite this, he has just joined Atlas Café Restaurant, a busy eatery in Newcastle.
He says "As a kid, I was always in the kitchen; I spent every night, weekend and school holiday helping my mum with the cooking and learning my grandma's secrets for perfect home-made apple pies."
Hired by the head chef and owner, of Atlas, Bartholomew Connors, worried at first says "When Tony applied for the job, I spoke to him over the phone and he said to me, 'There's one problem. I can't see,' of course I was taken aback but everyone deserves a fair go.”
His method of cooking is very different from conventional chefs, Tony cooks meals, using taste, smell and touch. He memorizes his way around the kitchen and most of his ingredients are kept in brightly coloured containers for him to identify them more easily.
He says he's had some close calls in the kitchen, though his worst disaster that he can remember to date is overcooking a steak; sounds as though he does his job just as well as anyone else could.
Even after being told he shouldn't venture into this career by his TAFE teacher, he didn't let his vision impairment get in the way of his lifelong dream of becoming a chef. He had been knocked back from a lot of restaurants and cafés but he committed himself, until Atlas gave him a chance, which paid off.
I think the owner of Atlas, Bartholomew Connors, deserves a pat on the back for not letting stereotypical views get in his way of hiring a reliable, dedicated chef. More people need to be aware of these types of success stories to show what people with disabilities are capable of overcoming with a little patience and trust.
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to view the article in it's entirety.