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Boy, 12, who learned to cook aged 7 when his mother was ill, gets his own CBBC show

A 12-year-old chef, who has already launched his own vegan brand after learning to cook when his mother was ill with extreme migraines, has now been given his own CBBC show.

Omari McQueen, from London, started his own vegan line of dips and snacks, Dipalicious, at the age of eight, and even previously launched a temporary restaurant in Boxpark food market in Croydon.

And now the chef, who is set to publish his first recipe book for youngsters next year, is enjoying even more success after being given a slot on the BBC’s children channel this Sunday, with his show What’s Cooking Omari? airing for the next ten weeks.

The schoolboy discovered his talent in the kitchen after his bus driver father taught him and his older brother how to cook while his mother suffered with an extreme form of ‘paralysing’ migraine called hemiplegic migraine.

Omari McQueen (pictured with his family), from London, who has already launched his own vegan brand after learning to cook when his mother was ill with extreme migraines, has now been given his own CBBC show

Omari (pictured) started his own vegan line of dips and snacks, Dipalicious, at the age of eight, and even previously launched a temporary restaurant in Boxpark food market in Croydon

Omari (pictured) started his own vegan line of dips and snacks, Dipalicious, at the age of eight, and even previously launched a temporary restaurant in Boxpark food market in Croydon

What’s Cooking Omari? episodes will run for seven minutes every Sunday at 9.30 in the morning and is aimed for children between 7 and 16.

Omari also enjoys a rising level of fame online, with his YouTube account – where he shares his top tips – boasting more than 3,000 followers. 

A BBC statement said: ‘He’s only 12 years old but has already won the hearts of hundreds and thousands online, cooking up a storm with his delicious vegan food.

‘In his first ever TV commission, Omari introduces us to his effervescent siblings, who join him in the kitchen to create a wonderful array of delicious healthy meals for all the family to enjoy.’

The schoolboy discovered his talent in the kitchen after his bus driver father taught him and his older brother how to cook while his mother (pictured together) suffered with an extreme form of 'paralysing' migraine called hemiplegic migraine

The schoolboy discovered his talent in the kitchen after his bus driver father taught him and his older brother how to cook while his mother (pictured together) suffered with an extreme form of ‘paralysing’ migraine called hemiplegic migraine

The first episode of the season will cover how to make ‘Omari’s Banana Shake Breakfast Shaky Shake Shake’.

WHAT IS A HEMIPLEGIC MIGRAINE?

Hemiplegic migraines can often be confused with a stroke – because they share similar symptoms.

The migraine can lead to paralysis on one side of the body, usually in the arm or legs, and be accompanied by pins and needles. It does not always cause an excruciating headache, which is the hallmark of a migraine.

The Migraine Trust says a hemiplegic migraine can cause speech difficulties, vision problems or even confusion. The symptoms can be permanent – but usually resolve on their own.

Symptoms usually fade away within 24 hours – but can last for several days, or even weeks in rare cases. 

Doctors believe faulty genes may be to blame for hemiplegic migraines, and certain foods can be a trigger, reports state. Sufferers are often given drugs to combat the symptoms, such as anti-inflammatory painkillers and anti-nausea ones.

It will feature his brother Laquarn, while the second programme will show Omari making plum blackberry crumble as a surprise for his mother.

The third of ten episodes will see the chef create mega-loaded fries, with the CBBC’s website stating: ‘These crunchy potato wedges topped with spicy flavours are the perfect snack to give the family all the energy they need to outwit one another during their game of mega hide-and-seek.’

Appearing on This Morning in January, the schoolboy revealed how he wants to open his own food truck to spend more time with his dad, and hopes to travel with his parents to cook ‘all over the world’.

Speaking about how he launched his first pop-up, he said: ‘My mum got me a LinkedIn account!’ while his mother added: ‘He wanted it for his birthday’.

Omari went on: ‘I connected with the head of [Boxpark food market in Croydon], Roger Wade and I asked if I could have a restaurant at there when I’m older.’

Roger Wade questioned why the youngster should wait until he’s older, prompting Omari to ask whether he could have a pitch now.

Omari impressed Wade so much, the CEO offered him space for his pop-up for a week, rent-free. 

His mother went on: ‘He puts me in positions lots where he gets on LinkedIn and connects with a lot of people and then meetings are booked.’ 

When asked about his goals for the future, he said: ‘I want to have my own food bus, restaurant bus.’

Revealing why, he admitted: ‘Because my dad always goes to work and I want him to spend time with me,  so I want a food bus.  So my dad could drive in it and I could sell my meals all over the world.’ 

The young chef seen in his temporary restaurant in Boxpark food market in Croydon. What's Cooking Omari? episodes will run for seven minutes every Sunday at 9.30 in the morning and is aimed for children between 7 and 16

The young chef seen in his temporary restaurant in Boxpark food market in Croydon. What’s Cooking Omari? episodes will run for seven minutes every Sunday at 9.30 in the morning and is aimed for children between 7 and 16

The young chef continued: ‘When my mum was sick and my dad was going to work, my dad taught me and my older brother how to cook. 

‘He taught me how to cook because there wasn’t anyone to cook at home, because my mum was sick’.

Speaking of his first foray in the kitchen he said: ‘I cooked tuna and pasta because pasta is easy to make. But at first I thought it was hard,  but you just have to boil water and put pasta inside.’ 

He explained how after a school trip, designed to help students select which career path they’d like to take, he knew he wanted to start his own business.

‘I went to a school trip with my school and they taught you how to work for people and have your own jobs’, said Omari.  ‘But I didn’t want any of those jobs. 

‘So I decided to start my business and make money by doing what I love, which is selling dips and making food’.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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