In the town of Mahikeng, there lived a young boy named Kabelo. He loved nothing more than cooking. He cooked good food that everyone in his family enjoyed. Kabelo was also good at baking. He baked cakes and bread. He also made soup for homeless people in his community.
One morning at school, Mrs Ramaila, Kabelo’s teacher, asked everyone in the class to say what they would like to do after they finish school one day.
A girl stood up. “I would like to be an astronaut and go to space,” she said.
“I would like to be a doctor,” said one of the boys.
Then Kabelo stood up. “I would like to earn a living by cooking,” he said. “I want to be a chef.”
All the children were shocked. First they stared at Kabelo and then they all started laughing.
“But cooking is for girls,” laughed one of the girls.
Mrs Ramaila told everyone to be quiet. “You can be anything you want to be, Kabelo,” she said kindly. “Don’t listen to them.” But Kabelo’s feelings were already hurt.
On the way home from school the other children kept on teasing him.
When he got home, Kabelo found his father washing the dishes while his mother made lunch.
“How was school today?” asked his father.
“Everyone laughed at me when I told them I wanted to be a chef and cook for a living,” explained Kabelo. “They said that boys don’t cook and that cooking is for girls. They also said real boys play rugby and soccer. But I don’t like those things!”
His father hugged him. “Do you know that some of the best chefs in the world are men?”
Kabelo was surprised and said, “Really?”
“Yes!” said his father as he took his cellphone out of his pocket. “Look!” He showed Kabelo pictures of the many chefs around the world who were men. They looked at pictures of all the good food the chefs had cooked and Kabelo started to feel a little better.
“You should enter a cooking competition, Kabelo,” his mother said to him. “There is one called The Young Super Chef and it is on television.”
His father agreed. “Yes,” he said, “your cooking is very good. You could win that competition.”
And that was how it came about that Kabelo entered The Young Super Chef competition.
A few months later, as part of the competition, Kabelo was on television. He found himself amongst other young chefs just like him. Some of them were boys who loved cooking – just like him!
The competition was really tough! The young chefs were asked to cook meals they had never cooked before. They also had to use ingredients they had never heard of before. One by one, they were voted out by the judges. Kabelo saw them cry as they left. He did not want the same thing to happen to him. He concentrated extra hard to make sure that he didn’t make any mistakes.
When Kabelo ended up in the final round of the competition, his mother and father were so proud of him! The whole school was watching on television – even the boys and girls who had made fun of him. Kabelo was making his school proud.
Kabelo felt nervous. The competition was nearly over, but there was one person left he had to beat in order to win. The problem was, that young chef was as good as Kabelo was!
The final round started. The two young chefs each had an hour to cook their meal. Fifteen minutes into the round, Kabelo dropped a bowl filled with the mixture for a chicken pie onto the floor. He wasn’t allowed to pick the mixture up – that would mean that he would lose the competition. So he had to start all over again. Now it would be a struggle for him to finish in time. Everyone watching was worried, but Kabelo managed to finish his dish just in time.
Then the judges had to taste the food. This would decide who the winner would be! They tasted Kabelo’s food and said that they thought it was very good. Then they tasted the food of the other young chef. They thought that was very good too! They left to make a final decision. The audience knew that choosing a winner was going to be difficult.
It was a whole hour before the judges came back with a final decision. The winner was … Kabelo! His parents were so happy and proud! Their son was The Young Super Chef of the year. Kabelo won a trophy and prize money.
The next day Kabelo took his trophy to school and everyone there celebrated with him. Kabelo had shown everyone that boys could be chefs too!
“I’m glad you didn’t listen to some of the children when they teased you,” said Mrs Ramaila. “You see, I told you, you could be anything you want to be!”