Young chef chases her dreams

EVER since she was six-years-old, Freya Downie knew what she wanted to do with her life – and that was to cook.

“I always loved watching Master Chef on television and I think that’s where my passion first came from,” the 13-year-old said.

“So for my sixth birthday, my parents gave me a chef’s hat and apron – two-days later, I had made my first tiramisu and I was so proud of it.

“I just love the creativity that comes with cooking and I just knew it was something that I wanted to do.”

Fast-forward several years and the Friends School year seven student has held on tight to her dream of succeeding in the culinary industry.

By lucky happenstance, Freya ran into Sweet Envy’s Alistair Wise during a visit to the State Cinema late last year – an event that would see her realise her potential much sooner than anticipated.

“I, of course, recognised Alastair from Master Chef and we just got to talking about cooking – he offered to teach me some things and before I knew it, I had a mentor,” Freya said.

“Alastair recommended that I try my hand at Dulce de Leche – a think caramel sauce that is most often used over ice cream, churros and brownies.

“As I found the recipe much too sweet, I decided to make some adjustments and really make it my own.

“After receiving some really positive feedback, I decided that I could actually pursue something with this.”

What followed was a long process of tax file numbers, ABN numbers, business and food licensing.

But, finally, Freya emerged with her very own company named “Freya’s Delights.”

After setting up a Facebook page and watching word-of-mouth spread, Freya’s Delights is now available in a number of local groceries, including Hill Street, as well as a shop in Darwin in the Northern Territory.

Having achieved her main goal of seeing Freya’s Delights on the shelves at a Hill Street Grocer, Freya has now set her sights interstate.

“My plan is to contact some Melbourne stores who stock Tasmanian produce,” she said.

“But, long-term, my dream is to open up some stores internationally, especially somewhere like France where this recipe is well known.”

Freya’s mother Rachael Downie said she “never quite knew” what Freya was going to do next.

“It’s been fantastic to watch her grow and make mistakes – to boil pots over, deal with it and just keep going,” she said.

“It’s especially inspiring as a parent to see her going out and chasing her dreams, to figure out what she is passionate about and pursue it.”

When asked what her advice would be to other young dreamers, Freya said there was nothing that could stop you if you set your mind to something.

“The only thing stopping you from pursuing your dreams is you – if your mind is made up and you’re determined, then you can do anything,” she said.

Freya’s Delights in currently available in Tasmania at the Patchwork Café, Top of the Town Bakery, Hawthorn Lodge, Kingston Florist, Hill Street Grocer West Hobart, Hill Street Grocer Blackmans Bay and through the Facebook page.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/freyasdelights.

Caption: Friends School student Freya Downie, 13, with her signature Dulce de Leche.