“My passion is fuelled by wanting to make a better life for my three amazing kids. That’s what drives me – creates a fire in my belly.”
Catherine Papesch is studying Culinary Arts (Level 5) at Toi Ohomai, a course she took up as a challenge to herself.
“Initially I enrolled for baking, as I’m more of a cake maker, but this course has exceeded my expectations – I’ve gone from a B to an A student thanks to the supportive learning environment and tutors.”
Catherine has been hand-picked by Toi Ohomai chef tutor and renowned chef Peter Blakeway as head chef at the upcoming Food for Thought Festival in Tauranga.
“Her classmates and I have immense respect for Catherine’s dedication and commitment. She’s an inspiration,” says Peter.
Catherine thought her life was planned out when things took a turn for the worse.
“I had an amazing family; me my three beautiful kids and my amazing husband and two step children. Out of the blue that got all torn away from me, leaving just me and my three kids,” says Catherine.
“We went through two years of hell and I felt like I needed to make a change for my kids – bring something more positive into their lives, which is why I decided to follow my dreams.”
Catherine’s trials didn’t end there. She has spent the past few years in and out of the hospital with her children falling ill.
“Thankfully, my tutors really supported me and helped me find a way through it all. I would find a sitter in the hospital and the nurses would help look after her during the day so I could attend classes and I would stay up next to her in the hospital at night to get my assessments done,” says Catherine.
She says being able to overcome these battles has made her family stronger and given them the tools to persist and know that anything is possible.
“Me and my kids have been through battles but they have served as lessons for my kids. I want to show them that hard work really does pay off and that you can make your dreams a reality if you follow your passion and your heart,” says Catherine.
It seems nothing can bring her down and she thanks her children for that.
“They inspire me to make myself better for them every day – they are and always will be my drive to push my way forward and I do this for them.”
Catherine hopes to one day open her own restaurant – one that she can pass on to her children, called Papesche Tree.
“My advice for anyone with a big dream or facing challenges on the road to realising those dreams, is to just work hard put everything you have into your goal and don’t let anything bring you down and don’t use anything as an excuse.
“Keep holding your head high, because at the end of the day you’re the only one who can make your dreams come true.”
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Profile written on: Tuesday, 19 Mar 2019