Adam Hajar

Welcome back to Humans of Queen E, a space where teachers, students, and alumni can share their stories and experiences in a judgement-free, welcoming environment. Adam Hajar is a Grade 12 student at Queen E whose hobbies include cooking! He is a skilled self-proclaimed chef, and uses cooking as a method to express himself and try new things where failings are just step stones to success. 

“I first started cooking when I was little, flipping steaks on the BBQ with my dad. I suppose I just find joy in cooking through the many ways I can both express myself through my tastes, but also experiment and explore the vast world of dishes and flavours.”

When asked what dish is his favorite to cook, Adam replied pasta with a marinara style sauce. “I find there’s so many different applications and methods of making a sauce which is as basic as the tomato sauce everyone associates with pasta. I’ve found that after countless attempts at this dish, I’m still fine tuning the assortment of spices I use and learning just how intense some may be, and how mellow and well incorporated I like others to be. At the end of the day, this one dish will always be different and I love that such small changes can make such a vastly different end product. “

Since cooking can either be done by following recipes or making your own by later making your own little changes, I was curious as to how Adam approached cooking. “I tend to follow a recipe on the first try or at least until I have an understanding of the process, then and only then do I tend to stray from the confines of a recipe and adjust to my personal liking. I may feel a dish could call for more garlic or chilli flakes, or perhaps less onion, but overall after a few tries my dish may vary from whatever recipe it was originally based on.”

When asked what makes a cook good or bad, Adam replied, “I don’t believe there is a set measure for a good or bad cook. If you gauge a cook based off of their end product, then for sure that can differentiate someone like myself from Gordon Ramsey or Martha Stewart. But if you gauge a cook based off of their confidence or admiration for cooking, then skill level is just something that is acquired over time, not something which you can label someone based off of. So to conclude, that question really depends on your own look on things, personally I think a good cook is someone who is content and brave enough to try new things regardless of whether or not they will succeed. A good cook is one who will try to make gumbo and burn the roux countless times, but stick around long enough to see themselves get it right. Those are the individuals who are good cooks, but just need to hone their skills to match the cooking elites.”

Finally, I asked Adam to give any words of encouragement to someone who has been wanting to take up cooking for a while but has never known how to start. “If I were to give any advice to someone wishing to attempt cooking and trying to build confidence in the kitchen would probably be to ground themselves beforehand. It’s okay to watch a few cooking videos or even videos on basic kitchen practice, like how to curl your fingers to prevent cutting yourself, or to know which way is best to cut an onion so that the layers don’t separate and make it impossible to quickly slice into manageable pieces. There’s no shame in learning from someone else, especially if it means you’ll better yourself and your skill set. “

We can’t wait to see Adam continue to excel in his hobby and hope his story inspired anyone reading this to pick up a cookbook or any other skill they’ve meaning to learn or perfect! Remember, practice makes perfect! 

For more stories about Queen E students, staff, and alumni, keep an eye on The Knight’s Post every Wednesday. As well, make sure to follow Queen E on Instagram at @queenelizabethhs 

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