INSPIRING A NEW GENERATION OF ASPIRING CHEFSAs a young boy growing up, Kester Robinson always knew he wanted to become a professional chef. Even though it was not very common at that time to have male chefs, Kester simply knew that was his dream and he loved doing it.Now Chef Kester hopes to share his skills and knowledge in the culinary industry to create inspiration and advance the skills of young aspiring chefs. Feeling the need to give back to society, Kester is giving free cooking classes to children who want to have a career as a professional chef or love the culinary arts.Kester said that the cooking classes, for him, is about sharing what the industry is about. It is about inspiring the children so that they know that being a chef is more about cooking. Most of the children who signed up for his classes are mostly interested in cooking and want to become chefs.He said that this is a great step, in terms of showing them how it is done professionally and giving them the experience where they can learn a variety of techniques, knife skills, plating and everything that’s going to better equip them for the working world as young aspiring professionals. The whole idea of the cooking classes is to advance their skills while learning as well, and giving them a change in their approach to cooking.Kester thinks that he is being called to Guyana for some reason and he feels that this is a time where he needs to make a contribution. He said, “Being a chef for so many years is a love and art for me and giving back is always something that I’ve always done throughout the years. So at this time, it’s no different time from any other time I would’ve contributed towards the local culinary industry but this time I’m taking an approach with the younger kids and moulding those minds”.Chef Kester revealed that he has always had a passion for cooking. Ever since he was a young boy, he always wanted to become a chef and from that, he continued to grow and was pushed to the right areas and worked hard. “Today I’m a pretty much a good chef, I would say.”“When I was a child, back in those days, a male being a chef was not something very common and I remember some persons were like, ‘Chef? Why you want to do girl work?’ and it could have demotivate you, discourage you, kind of, in those times, but it’s something that I had really loved and something that is inside of me so it changed nothing, I still wanted to be a chef.”At the age of fifteen, Kester started his first venture in baking and cake decorating. He did a course with the late cake decorating pioneer Debbie Mentore, where he acquired his techniques and skills which motivated him and began his baking career in high school.In the culinary world, Kester gets his inspiration from dedicated, hardworking chefs that are willing to make changes and deal with molecular gastronomy, which is the science of cooking. Kester’s favourite part in the culinary world is the reaction from the guests after serving something amazing. He enjoys baking and his favourite thing to bake is anything with chocolate, stating that it does wonders.His ultimate goal is to mould the minds of young aspiring chefs and change the perception of people that “being a chef is about being an early school leaver or you don’t really have that brain capacity so you just pick up something to cook”. He wants to change that perception in Guyana from “a hustler’s venture or a survival skill” and educate persons that chefs are actually educated and there are degree programmes that are available in cooking. He wants to achieve this goal by starting from the new generation of chefs, moulding them that it is a profession. “You can become a chef and you can love what you do and it doesn’t have to be a survival skill.”“You must love it [cooking]. It must be a passion and a burning desire to join the industry. It’s a very challenging industry at points but very rewarding and if you don’t love it, you’re gonna quit but if you love it, you’re gonna stay. The rewards are wonderful and once you put your passion and your art and your mind, body and soul towards it, trust me it’s going to reward you.”You can catch Chef Kester at Des Patisseries & The Pergola Smokehouse and Lounge located in the Courtyard Mall on Robb Street where there is always something special for you.