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News & media

Pastry Chef Turns Up the Heat with Dare to Dream Scholarship

“I still can’t believe she was there cooking for the MasterChef Judges when only 12 months earlier she was in hospital having chemo, radiation and a bone marrow transplant.”

Impressive young Melburnian Vienna Savaris isn’t letting cancer get in the way of pursuing her dream of becoming a professional pastry chef. The 15-year-old is one of eight inspiring young Australians to be awarded a Redkite and Coles Dare to Dream Scholarship.

Diagnosed with a rare type of blood cancer when she was 11, Vienna relapsed after her first treatment and had to have a bone marrow transplant in 2019. Her passion for cooking helped her through the long days of isolation following her transplant and she ended up securing a place on Junior MasterChef 2020.

The Redkite and Coles Dare to Dream Scholarship was established to inspire young people whose physical or mental health has been affected by cancer, to achieve their goals and ambitions. This scholarship, funded by Coles, helps young people build their future and can be put towards education or life goals.

After many rounds of chemotherapy in 2018, Vienna was in remission, but her cancer relapsed a few months later.

“While I was on treatment, everything I loved doing was taken away. I couldn’t play netball, go to school or be with my friends. When I did go back to school I felt like a different person. It was hard.

“That’s when my passion for cooking really helped me. It made me so happy and calm and helped me get through lots of long days at home in isolation especially after my bone marrow transplant. Now my goal is to become an amazing pastry chef and to do lots of hands-on cooking classes so I can get better and better. I also want to keep on working on my cookbook that I started last year,” she said.

Vienna’s mum Fiona said her passion for cooking is amazing and she lights up when she is baking and sharing her food with friends and family.

“When Vienna found her passion for cooking and baking it helped her feel joy again and focus on positive things rather than feel sad about the things cancer had taken from her.

“She applied for Junior MasterChef in 2020 and made it all the way to finals week. I still can’t believe she was there cooking for the Judges when only 12 months earlier she was in hospital having chemo, radiation and a bone marrow transplant,” she said.

Since 2013, Redkite and Coles have awarded more than $650,000 in Dare to Dream Scholarships to support young Australians whose aspirations and goals have been impacted by their cancer diagnosis.

Learn more about the Redkite and Coles Dare to Dream Scholarship

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