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Dining Guide for Families in Orange County

13-Year-Old Aspiring Chef with Autism creates Special Dish at Haven Gastropub

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As part of National Autism Awareness Month, Haven Gastropub Executive Chef/Partner Greg Daniels led 13-year-old aspiring chef and Irvine resident Chase Bailey, who was diagnosed with autism as a toddler, in taping an episode of his cooking show at his Old Towne Orange restaurant. Chef Greg Daniels taught Chase practical cooking tips and kitchen life skills that are often challenging for people with autism. The two prepared Chase’s version of Haven’s noted Mac n’ Cheese and the public was invited to come try the unique dish, known as Mac n’ Chase (‘N Yur Face), which was available as a special for the day to raise awareness of autism.

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“Through this experience with Chase, I’ve learned how individuals on the autism spectrum can have difficulties with fine motor skills which affect chopping, cutting, and other ordinary cooking tasks,” explained Chef Daniels, who is familiar with cooking as a form of therapy from working with his own 3-year-old daughter, Madeleine, who suffers from a rare condition called Treacher Collins Syndrome. “Hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness can hinder a person with autism when it comes to cooking in the kitchen, so with Chase, I focused on cutting with a knife, stirring, carefully adding ingredients, and following instructions.”

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