Bradley McLaughlin with Novlette Thomas, YMCA Extended After School Programme site leader at Clifton Hunter High School.

Clifton Hunter High School student and YMCA participant Bradley McLaughlin is finding passion and purpose in the kitchen.

Cayman Food Revolution ambassador Maureen Cubbon, a Y program partner, has chosen Bradley as her assistant for Saturday’s Slow Food Day Food Revolution Kids’ Seed-2-Plate workshop at Camana Bay. During the session kids will learn how to plant seedlings, allowing them to grow food they can cook and create meals with.

Bradley, 14, notes that “growing up, I had lots of challenges and, to be frank, I spent more time in the detention room than I did in the classroom.”

Bradley says he was an angry child, but toward the end of Year 9, things started to change.

“I calmed down and plunged deep into cooking, which is my passion,” he said.

Bradley, from East End, signed up for the Cooking Club in the YMCA-operated Extended After-School Programme at Clifton Hunter, said the Y’s community relations director, Vanessa Hansen. His talent and love for cooking became obvious to his leaders and peers.

As he built skills and confidence in the kitchen, he teamed up with Tarec Francis and entered “Team Bradley” in the National Youth Cook-off. After months of preparation and district competitions, Team Bradley won the competition and the Tanya Foster trophy for Best Young Chefs during the Agriculture Show in March.

Novlette Thomas, the after-school program’s leader at Clifton Hunter, described Bradley as an ambitious and industrious young man who also enjoys farming, playing basketball and fishing.

“He is talented, gifted and continues to show us that one can achieve what the mind conceives,” she said.

Bradley is also encouraged by his family.

“My grandfather and my big brother are my role models,” said Bradley, who added that he is grateful for the people in his life who have supported his journey. He noted in particular his mother Carla Brinson, who he said never gave up on him; Amica Scott, for showing him “a thing or two” in the kitchen; his cooking instructor Charmaine Lindsay; and Ms. Thomas for her love and for being patient with him.

“My message to young people is to ignore the former behavior of Bradley and take a page out of the book of the new Bradley,” he said.

“Find your passion and you will find yourself.”