Autistic Chef Ava Marie Teaches East Bay Kids
Chef Ava Marie the Autistic Chef and Owner of Autism Cooks food blog, recently spent the day with me sharing her passion for cooking with a group of East Bay High School students. The students are enrolled in a transitional program for kids with special needs. I had the awesome honor of being her sous chef for the class of 25 students while she taught them how to cook her scrumptious, Holiday Cranberry Pumpkin Loaf.
I met Ava Marie Romero at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. She was a member of the audience during my cooking demo “Making Heirloom Jams with Garden Petals.” After my demo, she told me that she too was a cooking instructor and worked for the South San Francisco School District nutrition services and also taught cooking classes at the South San Francisco Library and Burlingame Recreation Center. She is also a food competitor entering online contests and the winner of countless State Fair prizes and ribbons for her baked and canned goods. I love how food draws us together and feel blessed that we have been friends ever since.
I was blown away by Ava’s poise and professionalism as she shared her personal journey as a young adult with autism, fueled with a passion for a career in cooking. As a person born with autism, Ava has meet adversity head on in her life, but she has never let it deter her from her goals. To know that Ava put her mind to her dream and made it a reality is pure joy!
Ava’s Cranberry Pumpkin Loaf was a big hit with the students and staff. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! PLEASE stop by and follow the Autistic Chef Ava Marie on Facebook. You can find more of her delicious recipes on Autism Cooks.
Chef Ava is my friend and my inspiration!
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cups applesauce
- 1 1/2 cups pure pumpkin puree
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 1/2 baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
- In a large bowl mix sugar, applesauce, and canned pumpkin (the wet) with wooden spoon until well combined
- In another bowl mix flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda, and salt and mix to combine
- Gradually stir flour mixture into the wet pumpkin mixture in small batches until well incorporated.
- Fold in the dried cranberries
- Pour batter into 2 greased loaf pans bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 - 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean