SURE TO RISE RECIPE FOR ALL- ROUND ADOLESCENT EXCELLENCE:
Ingredients: Take one teen bursting with determination to beat the odds, add creativity by the bowlful, toss in a compassionate heart, a will to succeed, egg with lashings of entrepreneurial flair and add unlimited quantities of self motivation.
Method: Meld together, leave for however long it takes to mature and presto, these staples produce an adolescent ready for the pressure cooker that's adult life.
Madeline (Maddie) Snell is the product of such culinary creativity.
Born in 2000 and still at school, this new millennium child has self-published her own glossy cookery book, 100 Spoons.
Spoons' proceeds won't be lining her pockets, rather they're destined for a disadvantaged Cambodian village. Maddie's off there next month to help rebuild classrooms and allied aid projects.
She's one of 11 John Paul College (JPC) students taking part in the World Challenge project. To quote from the organisation's website, World Challenge "provides school students with expeditions and amazing experiences across the world", urging youngsters to "dive into a new cultural context, live locally and walk in the shoes of everyday people".
These challenges were a perfect fit for Maddie - she's always loved travel.
"I'm fortunate to have done a lot with my family" she says. She has a long-held desire to help those living without the advantages of First World conditions. This is a teen with a social conscience.
Compiling and producing her recipe book has combined her two favourite classroom subjects, food nutrition and business studies. Both were in her line up of 2018 level 3 NCEA papers. The others are economics, English, maths and religious education (compulsory at JPC). "I had levels 1 and 2 endorsed with excellence so in January [when results are revealed] I'll find out how good or bad I've done this year."
Judging by the armful of cups and awards she walked away with from the school's prize giving it's likely she has little to worry about.
The extra curricular task Maddie set herself producing 100 Spoons was never going to be a breeze, there was a major hurdle to conquer.
She's dyslexic, one of those for whom reading and writing's been a lifetime challenge. "I doubt if I've ever read a book right through, I listen to audio books."
On the upside, problem solving, creativity and conceptualisation are her strong points, as they often are for those born with the condition.
Certainly dyslexia's never held her back; next year she's off to Queenstown's Resort College to study business management, rounding out her degree at Sydney University.
There's method in her course choice. "For a long time I had no idea what to do after I left school, it became a toss-up between architectural design and business management, eventually I decided business management would give me a broader base for the future, something I could branch out from."
Another attraction is she gets to spend much of her second year on an overseas internship. "There's a huge range of possibilities, it could be in a resort or with super yachts, working on their business side, not sailing them."
We meet Maddie as her schooling reaches its closing stages. She's only been at JPC three years.
"My parents moved to Rotorua when I was 15. It was pretty hard, I'd only been to Rotorua once in my life so it was definitely odd having to get to know people, make new friends."
Outgoing and exuberant, Maddie's not the type to sit on the sidelines waiting for others to befriend her. She joined the school's speech and drama group and the hockey she'd played in her native Hawke's Bay quickly had her locked into JPC's 1st X1 as striker.
She's a newly-minted Duke of Edinburgh gold award winner and has become dedicated to waka ama.
Over the past two years she's had a weekend and school holiday job. Fittingly it's in the Buried Village kitchen. "It's taught me a lot."
By Year 12 the idea to produce a recipe collection had begun to simmer.
"My old school [Woodford House, Havelock North] had produced this amazing cook book, I thought it would be fun to create one too."
That proved easier said than done. She put the word out that she was after family recipes.
"The response was pretty poor, a number of those I did get simply weren't up to publication standard so I decided I'd have to source a lot myself.
"I wanted a book that presented different cuisines, my mother's done several ethnic cooking classes, I helped her in the kitchen, a big plus creating my own recipes."
Collating the 80 the book features took more than a year. The professional standard colour plates accompanying each dish are Maddie exclusives. "I've always had an interest in photography, my parents gave me a good digital camera for my 16th birthday, I was able to use that."
For perfect reproduction dishes would often have to be pictured several times. "Mum and Dad would get pretty annoyed because most of their meals were cold by the time they got them. I told them MasterChef judges always ate cold meals."
With her work ready for publication Maddie ran into an author's nightmare, the out-of- town printer who'd promised her much failed to meet her expectations, running into difficulties with the various formats they demanded of her.
"Each time there were problems, the pictures were brown, grey, lacked definition. I thought 'this is ridiculous', it was heart-breaking. I think they saw me as just a schoolgirl so weren't respecting me, in the end Mum had a chat and on their fifth attempt they managed to print it."
Marketing 100 Spoons through social media and by word of mouth, her first print run rapidly sold out. Demand is making inroads into the second.
Just how did she conjure up such a creative title? "I truly have no idea, it doesn't really refer to anything, it's just random. I had heaps of titles in my mind, then thought that one was quite quirky, at first people said it was a bit weird but now they really like it.
"Spoons has been expensive to produce but because it's for Cambodia I'm happy to do it."
To secure a copy of 100 Spoons call Maddie Snell on 027 677 7008
MADELINE (MADDIE) SNELL
Born: Hastings, 2000
Education: Puketapu Primary, Woodford House (both Hawke's Bay), John Paul College
Family: Parents Tony and Jacquie Snell, sisters Helaina , 21, Caitlin, 20
Interests: Cooking, sport. "I love the beach and swimming, going on adventures in the outdoors." Duke of Edinburgh award "My community service components been at the Youth Centre." "Zooming about with my friends, going to good movies."
Most admire chef: "Nadia Lim, she's so inspirational."
On her life: "I'm continuously doing new things which show me how much more there is to do."
On Rotorua: "I've learnt a lot here about culture and how to make friends."
Personal philosophy: "Make the most of every moment, challenge yourself."