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Jose - I wish to be a chef

I wish to be a chef - Jose, 13

“ I wish to be a chef ”

Despite facing a battle against a rare blood disorder, Jose is still a normal 13-year-old with a love of video games, Twitch and YouTube. While his diagnosis, Myelodysplastic Syndrome, can cause him to get tired very quickly, he wasn't too tired to visit The Wishing Place and cast his one, true wish down the wishing well. To be a chef!

Inspired by Chef Gordon Ramsay, Jose joined a cooking club at school where he can learn new techniques and how to make new foods, but after his diagnosis, he was unable to attend! Jose hoped that his wish could help him continue his culinary education and learn new recipes, tips and tricks, and create a delicious meal for his family. 

So the "Wish Fairies" got to work on what they called, Jose's Culinary Adventure, that took place on December 16 and 17, 2019. Jose and his family were picked up in a limo and brought up to Roseville, where the adventure would begin!


Cooking Pozole at Sienna Restaurant

Jose arrived to much fanfare at Sienna Restaurant in Roseville early in the morning to help Chef Paul Thompson prepare for lunch service. Jose was set to learn how to make is favorite dish, pozole. So Chef Paul helped Jose figure out what was going to go in his dish and then taught him some of the finer techniques on how to not only make a tasty dish, but to make it look good too!

Jose made some interesting choices with his pozole, including some chipotle peppers to add some spice and flavor (but not too hot to burn everyone's tongue) and also decided to exclude corn, a very traditional ingredient in pozole. Jose did taste his dish through the cooking process, but opted to give the first bowl of soup to his parents, who gave their stamp of approval.

After a short break, it was back in the kitchen where Jose decided he wanted to take a crack at a uniquely made concoction of his own thinking.

What if we took bread, add runny eggs, bacon and cheddar cheese and made a breakfast sandwich in a waffle maker? Chef Paul was in on the creativity.

Those who sampled his Texas toast sandwich made in a waffle maker were in on it's delicious inventiveness!

Jose didn't have to serve lunch, but rather had Chef Paul whip him up his very own filet mignon. He was also gifted his own chef coat and a very special knife, one that Chef Paul began using when he began to cook with and a brand new set of pots and pans to practice with at home!

And as for his soup? It was a hit!! Chef Paul put it on the menu for the Monday service and was running low during lunch and had to make more of Jose's Pozole!

Special thanks to Caroline and Mark (Owners of Sienna), to Chef Paul, Mark Fucci (GM of Sienna) and to the entire team of chef's who made the start of Jose's Culinary Adventure a memorable one!

Making Multi-Color Look Good at Icing on the Cupcake

Next stop on the adventure was at Icing on the Cupcake to learn how to make some amazing baked goods, and something Jose really wanted to learn, how to make multi-colored frosting!

Owners and twins, Stephanie and Shelly, invited Jose to their Roseville location, which serves as the location for baking the three locations cupcakes and baked goods (that looked and smelled so good)! Jose arrived and was quickly brought back to their amazing bakery where he joined the sisters and their team. 

Jose was set to make their popular confetti cake, and first up was making the batter. After combining all the ingredients, he was shown how they go into the oven, but just like the "magic" of cooking shows, they had a set of cupcakes ready for the next step. Icing!!

Jose was an expert at replicating the method of frosting cupcakes at Icing on the Cupcake

First it was how to make the icing, which was combined into a mixer and made to the proper consistency. Then it was adding food coloring, green and then orange, to make fun colors of frosting. Surprisingly, it's not too difficult to make multi-colored frosting together. What you do is you place one color on one side of the piping bag, and place the other on the opposite side. Then squeeze simultaneously and voila! You have multi-colored frosting!

After frosting some cupcakes, seeing their wall of frosting (and butter) and gigantic 2-ton mixer, Jose was gifted his cupcakes and was also given a bunch of things to help make his baked goods, including a KitchenAid mixer!

Our thanks to Stephanie and Shelly, along with the entire team at Icing on the Cupcake.

Jose would finish out his first day of his culinary adventure with dinner at Zocalos in Roseville, who demonstrated how to make guacamole to him at his table, and then for the first time he got to play games at Dave & Busters! The crew there hooked him up with a loaded card to play as many games as he could, which we can tell you, he took full advantage of! 


Pizza is meant to be shared at The Federalist Public House

After sleeping off all of those video games he played, Jose and his family arrived at The Federalist Public House in Midtown, Sacramento. Known for their wood fired pizzas (not to mention some outrageous combinations like pickles on pizza), Jose and his family arrived at the restaurant made from giant shipping crates where he met owner Marvin and longtime employee and pizza making extraordinaire!

Starting with the dough, Marvin showed Jose how to take a big rectangle of dough and how it gets molded into the circular shape we know and love. Using his hands, Jose smoothed the dough out into that circle before stretching the dough out with his hands. The first attempt wasn't entirely successful as a hole developed in the middle, but Jose's second attempt was perfect!

Federalist owner Marvin talks to Jose about the dough

The first pie they made was The Federalist's margherita pizza. Marvin explained about the history of this pizza and how the colors of the Italian flag inspired it and showed Jose how to properly sauce the pizza, how to add the white cheese and finally adding the green basil. Approximately three minutes in the oven and a pizza was made!

Yet another stamp of approval from Jose's parents!

And just as Jose came up with interesting ideas at his previous locations, he came up with a pizza he wanted to make. Pepperoni and pineapple!

Now a pro at making pizzas, Jose whipped up his take on a traditional Hawaiian pizza that was shared all around the table to much applause. Marvin was so impressed with Jose that he gave the young man a special edition hoodie that is given to only certain employees and his very own pizza stone to continue his journey of making pizza at home.

Alas, the culinary adventure came to a close and Jose headed back home, in his limo, only after saying that these two days were the best of his life.

Much like Marvin, Chef Paul, Stephanie & Shelly and the many others, you too have the power to help make a child's life-changing wish come true! No matter how big or small, each contribution of time or money goes a long way into granting wishes for critically ill children in our community. Learn the ways that you can contribute your generosity by visiting our Ways To Help page.

And be sure to follow the hundreds of inspirational stories on our Facebook, InstagramTwitter and LinkedIn and check out all of the photos from Jose's Culinary Adventure by clicking here!

Our thanks to everyone at Sienna Restaurant, The Federalist Public House, Icing on the Cupcake, Zocalos and Dave and Busters for making Jose's two-day adventure a memorable one for all!

  • Chef Paul put Jose to work making his pozole

  • Sienna Restaurants owners Mark and Caroline gift Jose his very own chef's coat personalized with his name

  • Chef Paul gifted Jose (after his mom said ok) with his very own chef's knife that Paul began learning with himself years ago

  • Jose pictured with longtime Make-A-Wish volunteer Nancy Thompson, whose son Chef Paul, kicked off Jose's Culinary Adventure

  • An incredible array of things that Icing on the Cupcake gifted Jose so he can continue his culinary journey at home

  • Jose pictured with the Icing on the Cupcake crew, including owners Stephanie and Shelly

  • Zocalos provided Jose with a very delicious Mexican dinner and even showed him how to make guacamole and gifted him another chef coat

  • A big win at Dave & Busters in Roseville

  • Jose pictured with The Federalist Public House's longtime employee Crystal and owner Marvin

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