Autistic Teen Starts Cooking Show After Food Network Inspires Him to Break Free from Limited Diet

We’ve all encountered the picky eater. The picky eater won’t eat vegetables or the picky eater won’t eat anything that is green. Chase Bailey, a teenager with autism, was one of the pickiest eaters as a child due to sensory difficulties. The teen learned to overcome his adversity to certain foods by hosting his own cooking show.

As a baby, Irvine-based Chase Bailey refused to take a bottle, rejected bananas, swore off ice cream and panicked at the site of Jell-O, according to his mother Mary, as told to The Orange County Register. His picky eating habits became scary, as his limited food intake began to affect his health. It was a struggle as the family opted for multiple therapies to help Chase with his food aversions.

And then everything changed when Chase discovered the Food Network at 8 years old. Soon, the family DVR was filled to the brim with cooking shows, and young Chase began watching every cooking channel he could find, said his mother. The duo began cooking together at home, prompting Chase to try more foods, ultimately providing his body with the nutrients he needed to stay healthy.

Photo: Facebook/Chase Bailey

Chase even shared dreams of becoming a chef, blogging about food or hosting a cooking show. As his goals formed about his future, his academics were suffering in traditional special education classes. His mother, Mary, decided to homeschool him, and the 11-year old agreed as long as the curriculum focused on food and cooking. She writes the curriculum to revolve around her son’s love of cooking with units such as colonial cuisine and visits to farms in the Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. area.

“With cooking and with food, there’s a whole world to draw upon,” Chase’s mother told The Orange County Register. “There’s math in going to the grocery store, budgeting, weights and measures, time. And there’s geography, learning about different cultures. It really is a great basis for him to learn.”

The 13-year old embraced the lessons, which sparked his idea to host his own comedy cooking show, titled “Chase ‘N Yur Face,” reports The Mighty. The autistic teenager interviews guest chefs on his show and teaches his growing audience some of his favorite recipes. Chase and his mother have arranged for the show to be filmed in their kitchen and popular restaurants with professionals working alongside the aspiring young chef. He also posts recipes on his Facebook page and solicits input from his viewers.

Photo: Facebook/Chase Bailey

The lessons he has learned and shared with others have impacted his audience, but also Bailey’s social skills. He has become more confident and enjoys being social in front of the camera, Acting Coach Walter Pridgen told the Orange County Register. Chase’s motor skills have improved and most of all, he has expanded his openness to try new foods, thus eliminating his picky nature.

The motivated teen said he dreams of owning restaurants in the future and aspires to host a reality cooking show on television. His accomplishments thus far have provided a path for him, according to his mother Mary. “He found something that was important to him. Something that he felt he could do,” she said.

Many finicky habits begin as a springboard for success. Chase found that by opening his eyes to diverse foods and recipes, he could contribute to society and foster a passion he didn’t even know existed. Many children with autism struggle to find their niche in life, which is why research is so important to their well-being. Organizations such as The Autism Site help support these endeavors. You, too, can help make a dream come true.

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