Inspiring Journey of Young Chef, Cairns Malele

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“It’s like we are living in a world without any hope, to me it’s like a dream comes true.”

Being one of only a few Solomon Islanders who chose a career in Commercial Cookery and eventually become a Chef, Cairns Malele shares his testimony and life story which he termed as ‘His dreams come true.’

Cairns, 31, grow up in a home where he had to witness his parent’s unstable relationship and eventually their separation. That is a period in his life where he said, is like life was doomed without any hope at all.

But it is that period in his life that has taught invaluable lessons about life, a life which now has become more like a ‘survival of the fittest’ for him. He understands very earlier on that he cannot depend on others to feed or provide for him but he has to fend for himself for survival. This is how the story begins.

Cairns at his Kitchen at B-Natural Cafe in Honiara.

Born on 16th August 1991 to Malaitan parents, Cairns admitted that the period in his life when he have to fend for himself after his parents got separated, amongst other valuable lessons, has taught him how to cook.

“During those tough days, I learnt much about cooking, because I have to be responsible for myself,” he said.

Cairns finishes his Primary School Education in 2006 at Mbokonavera Community High School. From 2007 to 2009 he did his junior secondary school education – Form 1 to 3 at Don Bosco Technical Institute. In 2010, he decided to switch to the technical training strand of the Don Bosco institute to undertake studies in life skills (Home Economics).

In 2011, Cairns worked as a Florist where he does Floral Arts for occasions and events happening in and around Honiara City.

Then in 2012, he resolved to try working as a tailor, sewing clothes and selling them for a little income.

However, in that same year, Cairns decided to go after his dream job which is cooking so he went back to Don Bosco Training institute and undertake studies in Tourism and Hospitality.

Finally, in 2013, he started working in the industry as a Kitchen Steward at Heritage Park Hotel. In 2014, he moved on and worked in the pastry section at Lime Lounge, in 2015 he was promoted to assistant chef and became the head chef in 2016 at Lime Lounge Café.

In 2017, Cairns attained a scholarship via the Australian Pacific Technical College (APTC) to study commercial cookery in Vanuatu.

“I was offered a scholarship to study cooking in Vanuatu. It is like a dream come true for me,” he said.

Cairns spoke of his job as a chef as very vital in the tourism and hospitality industry.

“Cooking plays a very important role in the tourism and hospitality sector. Each tourist visiting the country will want a local, yet special treat, especially in food intake so we need a qualified chef to meet their wish and standard,” he highlighted.

Despite the many challenges in life, Cairns was successful in his study – thanks to the support rendered by a few family members, he became who he is today, the Head Chef at B-Natural cafe covering every section in the kitchen from Pastry to the hot and cold section.

“My international idol in commercial cookery is Gordon Ramsey. I admire his work and I dreamed to become someone like him in the future. I challenge myself to put whatever is holding me back and commit myself to my Job.

Cairns’s simple advice to youths is, “nothing is impossible, choose your path and be passionate about what you are doing.”

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