Maricel Apatan, 22, stands in the kitchen of the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel in Manila, preparing to decorate a cheesecake. It would seem to be a routine task for a pastry chef, but Maricel is no ordinary chef – she has no hands.
Her disability, however, barely slows her down. Using her wrists, Maricel coats the sides of the cake with crushed nuts. Next, she grips a chef’s knife tightly between her hip and left inner elbow and uses her left wrist to delicately slice grapes, kiwi and strawberries in half. In short order, she arranges the fruit on the cake, adds blueberry filling, and sets an elegant chocolate curl on top.
“When I first saw Maricel, I was worried she might hurt herself when using a chef’s knife but that has never been a problem,” says Sous Chef Ariel Reyes, Maricel’s manager. “She does not get special treatment and works just as hard as the rest of the chefs.”
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