Ten year old James, who is a huge fan of TV series Masterchef, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in January 2010 and has been undergoing intensive chemotherapy to fight the life threatening condition ever since. His greatest wish was to cook with a top chef.
James’s Starlight WishAs the big day dawned, chef-in-the-making James, parents David and Alison and sister Rebekah, were up bright and early and full of anticipation. They were whisked off in a limousine to top London restaurant Coq d’Argent. Perched on the roof of No.1 Poultry in the City of London and with views over the famous Square Mile, the elegant restaurant is renowned for providing celebrity diners with fine French cuisine in lavish surroundings.
On arrival at the restaurant, James and his family were kitted out in chefs’ whites by acclaimed chef Mickael Weiss and his team and immediately put to work in the busy kitchen, preparing for an influx of lunchtime diners. Unlike his dad David who was on spud-peeling duty, James was in charge of some difficult culinary tasks under the watchful eye of Mickael and quickly began to impress. [continues below]
James’ father David describes his son’s determined approach to his illness, saying: “He has been incredibly strong through his treatment and has inspired a huge amount of support from our local neighbourhood – not just for us but for the wider community of children with cancer.”
James was soon delivering wonderful dishes for the customers in the packed restaurant outside. However, the pressure increased even further for the budding chef, as Masterchef judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace arrived in the kitchen to sample his food. Through to the next round, was the verdict!
After a long shift in the kitchen, the family was looking forward to tasting their own cooking but there was one task left for James. A keen birdwatcher from a young age, James had previously told Starlight that he was a great admirer of Bill Oddie, who just happened to be waiting at a secluded table for his lunch. After James had delivered Bill’s food, he enjoyed a chat with his hero, before the naturalist presented him with a pair of his very own binoculars.
After the wish, mum Alison told Starlight: “James’ treatment is ongoing. Although the chemotherapy varies dramatically depending on the results of regular blood tests, he remains cheerful throughout and still can be found cooking and calling service in the kitchen at every opportunity!”