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When our chef Cole was born fifteen years ago with Down syndrome, he flipped our world upside down in the best possible way!

Cole had a love of food from the start, which quickly blossomed into a passion for cooking and baking. When Cole was diagnosed with food allergies at a young age, we found ourselves spending more time in the kitchen preparing meals and experimenting with foods. Of course, Cole was eager to be involved in the process!

Since reading has always been challenging for Cole, we created recipes with illustrated steps, and paired them with words. This allowed Cole to participate in the recipe with more independence, and he took to this concept remarkably. It was so great to see Cole's excitement and confidence grow each time he stepped in the kitchen.

We adapted most of our family's recipes to be sensitive to dairy and gluten. When they weren't we provided substitution options so Cole could find ingredients that worked for him. The rest of our family found that we grabbed an illustrated recipe whenever we could too, because as our daughter explained it “they were more fun and easier to follow!” 

Cooking also served as a haven, a place of trust, when overcoming trauma in Cole's life. We found that if you cooked with Cole, you were becoming part of his team. The kitchen is where Cole feels safe and most at ease.

We have always tried to follow Cole's lead, and he has never steered us wrong. We knew we couldn't be alone in our journey, so we decided to share Cole's recipes. Maybe we could help other chefs find their way into the kitchen. 

We were connected with a talented illustrator and designer who was able to bring our dream of an illustrated cookbook to life. And, to our surprise, she also had someone close to her heart with Down syndrome! Yet, another instance where Cole has created a connection that we will forever cherish. Tami understood what this project meant to us and she went above and beyond to create what we envisioned.

We hope this cookbook and the blog posts that follow will help support your chef, and give them the confidence to share their talents with the people they love and appreciate!

Thank you for visiting The Kid's Illustrated Cookbook!

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