Cape Town-born Josh Thirion (9) does not like being told what to eat. Josh has a wide range of interests, including drawing, playing cricket, swimming and singing, but most of all, he has a talent for cooking.
He maintains that cooking can be fun. His recipe book Cook with Josh (Struik Lifestyle), was published last year and includes 80 pages of delicious recipes with lots of cartoons, step-by-step directions, word games, crossword puzzles and drawings of chefs and smiling burgers.
His love for cooking began after watching the Food Network series MasterChef Australia and Junior MasterChef. He decided there was a need for a cookbook with a difference. He sold 30 copies at the Mzansi Magic Market Day at Canal Walk in 2011, where he was the winner out of more than 400 stalls, and he has never looked back.
“With school and all my activities like gymnastics, cricket and swimming, I don’t get to spend enough time in the kitchen, but hopefully I can start more formal training at a chef school soon,” says Josh.
The book shows young cooks how to make kiddochino drinks, colourful egg nests, puffy cheese toast and yoghurt pots for breakfast. There’s fun for children to have with their friends in designing pizza monsters for lunch or, for a healthier snack, they can choose from a variety of fruit to make a colourful fruit kebab.
Josh says his favourite dish is “the Cottage Pie Pots, but a lot of other dishes as well”.
Cook with Josh is aimed at children between the ages of eight and 12.
A total of 48 recipes of delectable smoothies, heavenly dessert dishes, spicy, tasty lunch dishes and delightful dinners can be made and enjoyed by young chefs. They are all simple and easy to make.
Soon, we can expect another edition of his recipe book.
“My second book will be launched next year in April,” says Josh. “I would love to be a TV chef like Jamie Oliver.
“Hopefully I can train soon to become a better chef, because I would like to host my own cooking show for kids.”
He says he has other projects in the pipeline, which he hopes will inspire other young South Africans to cook and make meals for disadvantaged children.
“My dream is to make a difference in South Africa. I would love to have a ‘national cook with Josh day’, where kids from all over can help to make food like hotdogs, hamburgers or any food that can be distributed to hungry children.”
Since September 2012, more than 10 000 English and Afrikaans copies of Cook with Josh have been sold. And at a gala award event in Paris on February 23, the book was awarded first prize in the children’s category at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2013.