Chloe Kelleher, a 16 year old transition year student from Skibbereen ticks all the boxes when it comes to setting goals and achieving them. According to the Department of Education, the mission statement of transition year is ‘to promote the personal, social, educational and vocational development of pupils and to prepare them for their role as autonomous, participative and responsible members of society.’ Chloe has succeeded in all the above while simultaneously helping others. The Little Fighters Cookbook, which is going to have its official launch on the 16th April at the West Cork Hotel in Skibbereen has been an enormous learning curve for young Chloe. She has very successfully negotiated the entire spectrum of the book from the initial thrust of collecting recipes to the pricing of production and printing. To cover the expense of publishing, Chloe embarked on a few creative fundraisers such as U10 discos complete with face painters and seasonal fun.
Chloe, who is described as being ‘a warm hearted people’s person who is also passionate about food’ decided to put together a cookbook of favourite recipes which she gathered from friends, neighbours, food artisans and celebrities. She has called the collection ‘The Little Fighters Cookbook’ and all proceeds from the sale of the book are being donated to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin. Chloe has a close personal connection with Crumlin as her little cousin Oran, spent the first year of his life in hospital there. The family felt such a sense of gratitude and admiration for the staff and medical team of Crumlin, that it formed the basis of Chloe’s drive ‘to do something to give back to them in a small way.’ Chloe’s research has shown that ‘over 100 000 children are treated at Crumlin each year and over 4000 of those children – each year – come from Cork.’
The ultimate finale was getting TV Celebrity Chef and author, Catherine Fulvio to travel down to Skibbereen to officially launch the book and to give a cooking demonstration. Catherine, whose recent books Eat Like an Italian and Catherine’s Italian Kitchen have earned her international acclaim as a food writer, is the proprietor of Ballyknocken guesthouse and cookery school in Wicklow. Catherine is fast becoming a household name and has completed 3 TV series for RTE and is known for providing wholesome, quick and easy foods suitable for family life and for entertaining friends. Catherine has always supported local producers and her food philosophy is rooted in seasonal and local produce. As Catherine says, ‘I got my foundation in cooking hanging onto my mother’s apron strings, cooking three meals a day for our guesthouse residents, making butter, helping milk the cows, harvesting the fruit and vegetables and baking for the local country market from a young age.’ Her passion and enthusiasm for food promise to give a great night out. Tickets for the event are priced at €20 and include a copy of the Little Fighters Cookbook.
In speaking with Chloe’s mentor, Kathryn O’Donoghue, she said that ‘Chloe’s project is a unique and educational one which has been a major undertaking for a 16 year old.’ She went on to say that ‘Chloe’s warm and thoughtful personality shone through the entire project’ with ‘Chloe putting others to the fore and always doing her utmost to contribute to better care and research facilities for young children.’ In keeping with Chloe’s embracing nature, the book launch has evolved into a food EXPO where all emerging and budding food entrepreneurs are invited to display and show their wares in an evening that is set to become a culinary highlight in west Cork. The ethos ‘by young people for young people’ is very profound in this project in that on many levels, there is youth helping youth. Any fledgling food business that would still like to get involved with the project are invited to contact Chloe at firstname.lastname@example.org Already there many local food producers ranging from GlenIlen Farm (Drimoleague) to The Pie Company (Schull) who are showcasing their wares and it would be a great opportunity to newcomers to introduce themselves to the public. ‘Cork and surrounds have earned a great reputation and culture for good food and has wonderful tillage, excellent dairy farmers and a great diversity of produce’ says Kathryn.
Chloe is a well-grounded, well-liked, robust, bubbly teen who has achieved a remarkable feat. Her accomplishments should be used as a national blueprint for upcoming pupils to transition year to see just what can be achieved with determination, grit and ambition. Speaking with Chloe’s mother, she says ‘as a parent, I feel proud to have a 16 year old who is aware.’
Tickets for the book launch and food EXPO are still on sale at selected venues throughout west Cork or by contacting The Little Fighters Cookbook page on Facebook. The Doors open at 5.30pm and the evening promises to be highly entertaining with food tasting and cooking demonstrations. Additional copies of the book will be available for sale as well as a raffle tickets which proceeds will all go to Crumlin Children’s Hospital.
There is a quote that reads ‘let us not leave a better planet for our children but rather let us leave better children for our planet.’ If our future has young, capable, compassionate teenagers such as Chloe waiting in the wings, then we can rest assured, our future is a safe one.