Make-A-Wish helps make ambitious 5-year-old a professional chef

Posted at 5:17 PM, Mar 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-12 20:19:30-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — There’s a new chef on the Grand Rapids culinary scene, his name is Chef Forrest.

Forrest is a 5-year-old from Leelanau who has spent the last year in and out of Helen Devos Children's Hospital, being treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

"So we were in this house, not much to do, he was in a lot of pain, lot of discomfort, and the kitchen was just someplace that made him happy," said his mother, Nicole White.

Routine steps like seasoning meats and adding ingredients soon became Forrest’s biggest passion and distraction.

"It's really been hard for him to decipher what he wants and when he wants it, so he’s kind of turned that food confusion into a desire to just make things for other people," says White.

That’s why this week, donning a crisp chef hat and smock, Chef Forrest is living his dream of being a professional chef, all thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Forrest's teacher for the day, and owner of YoChef's Mobile Gourmet food truck, Chef Joseff VanHorn notes said he is an amazing student.

"He's 5 years old, but he knows so much, and the pork that we have on the truck, he was able to put the rub in," VanHorn said. "So he rubbed it in, he didn’t rub it off, he knew all the little tricks."

For four days this week Chef Forrest, will be touring the culinary scene of Grand Rapids in style from a limo.

He will be learning from multiple West Michigan chefs, and living his wildest dreams.

White says it’s a step forward for their family.

"I think he feels that, he feels that like progress, ya know? It feels like a little bit of a new beginning I think, feels like just something golden and that end of the rainbow, ya know?"

Make-A-Wish says making days like this happen are only possible with help from our community, so anyway you can help through funds or volunteering really makes a huge difference.

If you’d like to help individuals like Chef Forrest, click here.