My mother is a real chef. She has the natural talent and before she got sick, she cooked up a storm, day after day, year after year, impressing everyone who tasted her food.
At one point she decided to go to school to become a professional. I was really young at the time (around 8 I think) so I don't remember much, but I do know she was really happy, maybe happier than she'd been in a long time as she has suffered severe depression all of her life. And as far as I know, she was getting all A's too!
This is a great example of someone pursuing their passion. My mother loved to cook for people - she loved making them happy through delicious food. This was her gift. Now she was taking that passion and making a career out of it.
The sad part of this story is that she left school before finishing to go take care of her dying mother. She could have said no, but that is not my mother. She didn't go back to school after her mother died - I don't know if it was because of money or another reason, but I do know she regretted it.
She certainly didn't stop cooking, though. And she tried her hand at catering for some time.
Then she started to get sick and eventually was not able to cook like she once did. Now she is in a wheelchair, mind you, even in her wheelchair she can cook circles around most people, but any dream of being a professional chef is no longer in her realm of possibilities.
My mother and I are very different in our attitudes of life: she is more on the pessimistic side of things while I am of the belief that anything is possible and 'if there's a will, there's a way.'
With the right attitude and outlook on life, a person stuck in a wheelchair can definitely be a professional chef. It just takes imagination and determination, and confidence, of course. I'm not saying anyone can do it: everyone has different circumstances to contend with in their lives and I can easily see why my mother hasn't adopted my way of thinking on the subject - she has had one hell of a hard life and when you're doing battle with countless blocks and disabilities, both mental and physical, it can be impossible to see any opportunity for a brighter future. And it is sad.
Recently I've been watching the show 'Masterchef US' and in the third season there is a woman who is completely blind. Not only did she get into the competition, but she excelled and has made it to the finals. Imagine, blind, running around the kitchen with sharp knives, steaming pots preparing and excelling at delicate and professional dishes. Very inspirational.
I'm coming to believe that success in these times comes from thinking way outside the box and throwing convention to the curb. If there's a true desire, there is a way to work around the circumstances to make it happen. There is no problem that does not have a solution.
Where there's a will, there's a way.