Seventeen-year-old Austin has always been a huge fan of video games and movies, but when asked what he truly loves, Austin always answers with his favorite foods and recipes to cook. Despite this passion for all things culinary, becoming a professional chef seemed to be a distant dream for this teen battling life-threatening seizure disorder.
That’s why, when wish-granting volunteers met with Austin, he was certain about exactly what his wish would be: to go to a cooking school in Italy.
Not long after, Austin and his family took off for a trip to Florence, Italy, where Austin would learn the art of Italian cooking.
The trip was a truly unforgettable experience for Austin and his family. They embraced the beauty and history of the city, wandering into small cafés to try delicious pizzas and gelato. Most importantly, by learning about traditional Italian cuisine from real Italian chefs, Austin finally began to feel that his dream of becoming a professional chef was within reach. In fact, during his Italian cooking class, Austin successfully made homemade pasta, ravioli, tiramisu and panna cotta.
“Watching Austin interact with the chefs with such an increased sense of self confidence is something I will treasure forever,” recalled Austin’s mom, Laura.
In addition to the cooking class, Austin and his family spent a day exploring the five seaside villages of Cinque Terre, watched the sunset at Piazza Michelangelo, and stopped in San Gimignano for an afternoon, which offered them valuable family moments together.
“We watched Austin blossom as he looked to his future and the possibilities that he has if he follows his dreams to become a chef and own his own restaurant,” said Laura.
She added, “While I hesitate to write it, Austin has not had a single seizure since the one he had on the flight from Chicago to Atlanta, where we had a layover before heading to Rome. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but I would like to think Make-A-Wish has something to do with it!”