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Student Profile – Tara (Canada)

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Tara (left) and Rosie making Macarons

I’m from Ontario in Canada but was lured over to do a cookery course in Ireland because I have family connections here. My Dad is originally from Terenure so coming to Dublin for the course for 12 weeks has also given me time to reconnect with his side of the family.

My main reason for attending the course was to try and improve my own personal health and wellbeing. I lost my Dad to cancer a few years ago and shortly afterwards, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I looked at my Father’s lifestyle and saw that his diet had played a big role in his poor health and I was told by my doctors that eating the right foods could help me beat cancer.

After being diagnosed, I found that I was having a lot of stomach problems and would often end up in hospital. From doing my own research, I identified a huge link between Thyroid cancer and gluten sensitivity so I set about removing all gluten from my diet. Out went bread, doughnuts, the lot!

Keen to do as much as I could to improve my overall health, I set about researching full-time cookery courses. The syllabus of the Three Month course sounded perfect, covering everything from world cuisine to patisserie, cheese making and foraging.

Funnily enough, since coming to the school, I’ve been able to eat everything that we’ve made (including gluten products) and haven’t had any problems at all – I’ve actually felt amazing. I’ve come to the realisation that I’m not gluten intolerant, I just need to use flour that is free from additives (all of the flour used in the school is organic unbleached flour).

I never thought I’d be able to say this before I arrived but I really enjoyed our breadmaking days and thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Rossa Crowe’s Le Levain bakery. I have a newfound confidence when it comes to working with flour and I’m really excited to continue experimenting when I home.

If I’m honest, I was a little nervous before I arrived and unsure of what my level would be compared to others on the course. In reality, I’ve loved how fast-paced the course is and I’ve learnt so much over the last 12 weeks – it’s been amazing!

Being able to invite my Irish relatives to the pop-up restaurant nights and showing them how far I’ve come made me really proud of what I’ve achieved.

Coming to the school has been a life-changing experience that I’ll never forget and I plan to continue experimenting and developing when I return home.

I’ve had such a positive experience here that it’s inspired me to write a blog that other cancer sufferers might be able to benefit from. Ideally, I’d love to take all of the knowledge I have built up and build a business on the back of it, so watch this space!