Meet ADA Youth Ambassador Antonia Morosi, her love of cooking led her to Jamie Oliver!
I found out I had dyslexia when I was 10 years old. I really struggled at school. I hated anything academic and I found it hard to retain information or to ask for help.
My maths teacher at the time advised my mother that I should take a test to see if I was dyslexic. When we got the results from the test I thought my life was over. However, it was actually just beginning.
Thankfully my school employed teachers trained to support students with dyslexia which helped me to cope with senior school.
I was in a class with a number of academic students which was difficult for me particularly as I worked extremely hard and only achieved an average pass rate. I just felt as if school wasn’t for me. To cope with this situation I took refuge in art and sports which I was good at. Those were the two subjects I could really be myself in.
While my homework suffered my skills in the kitchen were starting to form. I would bake nearly every weekend, watch cookery shows every day and take out cookbooks regularly from the library.
It’s safe to say I was obsessed with food. Meanwhile I may have been bottom of my class but in sports I thrived in competition. Looking back I think I thought I would end up doing something sport related but I never knew what that job could be so I realised I had to really think about what I wanted to do after school. The usual choice is to go to a 6th form college and then university but that just wasn’t for me.
Because of my interest in food my mum recommended that I watch a documentary about Jamie Oliver in which he talked a lot about his stuggles at school and dealing with his dyslexia which of course I related to. He mentioned the culinary college he went to in London, which was Westminster Kingsway.
My mum researched the college and discovered that they were running a short course for young budding chefs to attended over a few Saturdays to get a taste of what culinary school had to offer. After the course I enrolled the following year as a full time student and was offered an unconditional offer which was a big relief for me since I was worried about my GCSE grades at the time.
Attending Westminster College was the best decision I ever made. I finally felt like I belonged in education. I had the most amazing lecturers who had so much knowledge and experience. I think I volunteered to do as many functions as I could and wanted to learn as much as I could in my 3 years. In my second year at college I was asked if I was interested in competing in culinary competitions and I of course said yes because it was such an honour at the time. After a few competitions it’s safe to say I was hooked and wanted to keep on winning.
I was fortunate enough to compete in Young National Chef of the Year, Nestle Toque Dor and Major Series. I look back on my college days with great memories and accomplishments. Going into hospitality was the best thing I ever did. My dyslexia didn’t effect my college life one bit and I loved that my confidence was finally being channeled into what I cared about.
I didn’t want to end up doing a job I didn’t love, working in food is an endless journey, it’s always changing and evolving and that’s what makes it exciting. Back at school learning was a chore and now as an adult it’s all I want to do. Whether it’s food related or not. For me being constantly challenged is what keeps me growing both professionally and personally.
Over those years I developed how to manage my dyslexia and realised that if I hadn’t learnt how to fail I wouldn’t have the career I have today. I literally had nothing to loose and everything to gain. I used to think my dyslexia was a disadvantage but it actually was a blessing in disguise. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Antonia Morosi is available for inspirational talks at your school or event, please contact ADA for further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Read Jamie Oliver’s beautiful message to all children with dyslexia along with the ADA’s President, Jodi Clements: https://www.mamamia.com.au/jamie-oliver-dyslexia/