A story of passion – cooking to chef


Passion found – Shock phase
It was Early 2017 that we were asking Aadarsh about his hobbies. Our 2nd child Siddarth used to do multiple craftworks like Origami. We were curious to know what Aadarsh wanted to do as part of his hobby time. He never replied after severalinquiries but one evening he mentioned that “cooking” is his hobby. It was a moment of shock and disbelief for both Sreelatha and me as we were not sure if that can be a worthwhile hobby. We just ignored his input and forgot it almost then and there.

After a few weeks, we were back on to the topic of hobbies and curious to know what Aadarsh’s “real” hobby was. This time without hesitation he repeated that it was cooking. This time it was shock and annoyance as our reaction. As parents of a male child in India, it sounded very counter-intuitive, given our own backgrounds. The conclusion from this discussion was that we had to expose Aadarsh to more options and the right hobbies. When all of this was going on, Aadarsh never went into the kitchen. He did show interest is watching cookery videos during his screen time.

Aadarsh was in his early twelvesin 2017 and we never even felt safe to let him into the kitchen. He would request to be let into the kitchen once in a while but was never allowed in the following few months. It was a blessing in disguise that Sreelatha was unwell one day and Aadarsh put his hand up to make breakfast. It was a mission that pleasantly surprised us all with good results. For the 1st time, I took a pause to notice his good skill & interest in cooking, given his age.

Was this a one-off spark or is cooking his passion and not just a hobby?How do we as parents deal with this?

Stay tuned to know more on our journey!!

Journey into Into Open Learning

I hope you got to read1st onein this series. If not, pls do.

2018 was a roller-coaster year for us as a family. We were in Singapore from 2017. Aadarsh was moving away from us emotionally and my mother’s long-term illness was resurfacing. At a tipping point that was critical, we took the plunge to have Aadarsh goto Aarohi in Bangalore. At times, the beginningis an indication of great things to come on that journey. Aadarsh never traveled alone until then but we decided to have him go to Bangalore from Singapore alone. Aadarsh was longing to stay in a hostel for the last 2 years until this D-day came by.

Aadarsh arrived in Bangalore all by himself and was taken to Aarohi by his uncle in Bangalore. We had intriguing stories to listen in from both Aadarsh and his uncle of no-running taps, no grid-based electric connection and children deciding even how their day should look like, etc.,

Little later in 2018, our Family moved back to Bangalore. We found a regular school for our 2nd one and Aadarsh continued in Aarohi. We had no expectations and opinions at that stage. Aadarsh was a guest (Phase1) and seemed to be enjoying his first few days and 2 weeks at Aarohi. It is not clear as to how and where his interest in cooking came out, he started mentioning about working around the oven and trying his hand on cooking. While trying to cook was a “hurdle” in studies at home and discouraged, at Aarohi he seemed to be doing things around the kitchen, trying his hand on random things.

Maybe it was somewhere between 4th week to 15th week (just can’t remember), Aadarsh came back home in the weekend, mentioning that he baked a cake. It sounded accidental to us still but the next week, he baked a cake at the home, which looked promising and good for a 13 yr old.

Where is this going and what should we lead Aadarsh to?As parents, the struggle for both Sreelatha and me was getting grave.

Stay tuned to know more on our journey!!

Journey with Aarohi – Facilitator sharing – 2018-19

He says that he got interested in cooking while staying with grandmother. The first time when he cooked, he surprised us with his resourcefulness – He found each ingredient in the kitchen by himself, cut and chopped all the vegetables required, even went to the market by himself to buy some missing ingredients. Next week he cooked for with cooking for 20 people without any apprehensions or doubts.

He likes spending time with a guest at the campus and especially learning every possible cooking tip from them. He connects with people over social media to get many details to hone his baking/cooking skills. He can learn from a chef and also from a grandmother. He asks about cooking without any apprehensions, He also asks questions to understand. He would prefer to watch videos for the recipe – but he would understand each step in detail and rarely miss a step or take a short cut in cooking. Sometimes he works 6-7 hours to get that right stuff.

He began with the baking cake with the conventional recipe – he was challenged to try to other ingredients like Wheat instead of Maida, Jaggery instead of Sugar – It was difficult for him to come out of that conventional way of baking – but he tried. Sometimes he tried, sometimes he failed, sometimes disappointed, sometimes hopeful.

He would fire the rocket oven at the campus (another challenge), spend time cutting wood without any complaints. When the oven not working (under repair) or not available, he started to explore another medium of baking like steam and sand. Although there would be a big fight between him and his mentor on cleaning that last utensil he and his mentor Leela both did not lose any hope in each other.

The journey was not easy – he needed the courage to try unknown, the willingness to experiment, the courage to fail, and breaking his own barrier to read more whenever required.

His internship at a local bakery gave him a jump start to understand the various techniques of baking – he immediately applies most of them at campus while baking.

If you ask him to read books he will be enemy with you, If ask him to write or take notes, he will hate you like anything, but if you ask him to help in cooking (any kind), he will be the most helping, caring ad doing creature on the earth.He is also learning how to cook for himself (make it less spicy), how to take feedback (bake it more), how to face criticism (too salty, too oily), and how to keep the kitchen clean after cooking!

He is also not away from worries on “what will I be? Will, this cooking gives me the future?” But the good news is that he is thinking!

The way forward – The year 2020

Aadarsh has a dream of becoming a Chef. He wants to join a hotel management institute to realize his dream. He hasbeen part of Aarohi for the last three years and this year he has chosen to prepare for 10th board exams. In between he also started a hoem based business of baking cakes on order – he