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HE LOVES TO BE in the kitchen, on the dance stage and at the front of the class. Only 18 years old, Rico Bradshaw has already managed to make a mark in all of the areas he holds dear to his heart. The Tourville Road, Horse Hill, St Joseph resident likes cooking, dance, and teaching. He has been cooking from the time he was six years old when he would actually go into the kitchen and help his mother, who is a chef, prepare certain dishes. Rico said that his love for cooking – baking, in particular – was strenghtened by helping his next-door neighbour who liked to bake. Rico said his ability in the kitchen is a natural talent that he has. The only formal training he has is taking food and nutrition classes while at The Lodge School. “When I got in third form, I picked food and nutrition without hesitation. I was always on top of the class. When we had practical [sessions], everyone always wanted my input,” Rico said. It was not until fourth form that he entered the National Independence Festival Of Creative Arts and presented two dishes that earned him medals. Rico created the breakfast muffin – a breakfast packed into a muffin. It contained breadfruit, bran cereal, egg, onion, carrot, ham, hot dog. With the leftover breadfruit, he made sweet bread. He won a gold medal for the muffin, and for the sweet bread, a bronze. With the two medals under his belt the young cook represented the school in a junior Duelling Chefs challenge and made it through to the semifinals. However, he was stopped in his tracks when the sauce for his chicken dish was mistakenly thrown out. Nonetheless, it was a learning experience, Rico said. The teenager said he does a bit of everything in the kitchen – catering parties, baking cakes – but since icing cakes takes so long, he said, he spends more time making dishes at home and coming up with new recipes. When he competed in the Eggonomics show where he represented his home parish St Joseph, he let his creativity show: he made a breadfruit frittata using breadfruit cooked with bay leaf, and a sweet, zesty sauce made of orange juice, grenadine syrup, ginger and honey. He also fried chicken breast with a cornflake crust. However, cooking is not the only thing that Rico does well; he also dances, teaches lessons after school, and is active in the church. The devout Christian is a member of the Horse Hill Church of the Nazarene, where he serves as assistant Sunday school teacher, youth president, and floor member of the missionary board. He is also an avid dancer. Rico started dancing at primary school and took up Latin dancing as an elective at Barbados Community College. He later joined a dance club and dances every Saturday. He won the parish talent contest for St Joseph and he and his dance partner Samantha Blanche will represent the parish at the Spirit Of The Nation Show later this year and at the Blackpool Dance Festival in London, also this year. But that is not all the teenager has been doing. He has been pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in accounting and mathematics at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, to help him achieve his ultimate goal – becoming a teacher at no less a place than his alma mater The Lodge School. He has been getting some practice as he gives lessons to primary and secondary school students preparing for the Common Entrance Examination and Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate, or CXC. “It is a good thing I have been doing and I am getting good results. I had persons passed for Queen’s College, Lodge, St Michael and the Alleyne school. I believe that I am making a really good impact on the children and helping them to progress,” Rico said. He also said that what keeps him determined and on the right path is his devotion to God. “I am a Christian and I believe strongly in God and have faith in him. All the things I am doing are through God and everything I achieve is by the grace of God,” Rico said.