When Food Aversion Is Turned into a Passion in Cooking: Teen with Autism Turned Young Chef

Nov 16, 2015 10:09 AM EST | By Beverly Zeña Jane A. Linao

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His name is Chase Baley. 

After his diagnosis, friends and acquaintances prepared her mother, Mary Bailey, for the worst. Some would tell her things that is just too painful to hear for a mother. She would hear people telling her that her son might never get a job or never learn to socialize. He would never learn to be independent. "You just hear a lot of things that are downers," she said.

His mother feared that the younger Bailey wouldn't have be able to enjoy a typical childhood. Well, for the most part, it hadn't. There were days when the he would eat only pizza, chicken, fries, chocolate cookies, and chips. "He wasn't even eating food until he was 8 years old," said Nick Shipp, executive chef at The Upper West"

However, things started to change. Chase began watching cooking shows with his grandfather, and within a few months, he started asking to try some of the foods he saw on shows. "He was just devouring it," Mary recalls.

And two years ago, Chase Bailey proved them all wrong. Chase and his mother recorded his first episode of "Chase 'N Yur Face" and posted it on YouTube. Since then, everything changed for the better.

According to Telegram, for the last two years, Chase has "spiced up ramen noodles with Korean-American street food guru Roy Choi, simmered butternut squash soup with Sting's daughter, Fuschia Sumner, and baked hundreds of bright blue frosted cookies for guests at an Autism Speaks gala in Los Angeles where he was introduced by Conan O'Brien."

Chase Bailey has been helping Shipp in his restaurant, where he helps cook dinner once a week. "For him to go from that to cooking and eating all kinds of different things, it's pretty remarkable," Shipp said.

"To see your child go from little to no speech, no eye contact ... having extreme food aversions, all of these symptoms, to almost the exact opposite," Mary Bailey said, "I don't know, it feels miraculous."

He dreams that of seeing his own cooking show on TV someday, have his own restaurant, and help and inspire others with autism.

"Don't be afraid to be you," Chase Bailey said.

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