Healthy Living

10-Year-Old Makes His Own Hot Sauce to Raise Money for Muscular Dystrophy

10-Year-Old Makes His Own Hot Sauce to Raise Money for Muscular Dystrophy

Connor Barshay, a 10-year-old Verona resident, always loved spicy food. Connor hated meals that tasted plain, and never felt satisfied after eating. With an adventurous palate, he took on foods like sushi, camel, alligator, and even crickets. Connor never shied away from a challenge, especially when food was involved. 

"I'm not sure why I like spicy foods, I just really do," Connor explained. "I definitely do not like kids' menus," with their choices of bland spaghetti, hot dogs, and chicken fingers.

When he was even younger than 10, Connor was always in the kitchen, so it was only logical that he would eventually develop a passion for cooking. At 10 years old, Connor is the co-owner and executive chef of Connor’s Saucery. His father, Ethan Barshay, commented that his son had been eating spicy foods since he was 2 years old. In that sense, when he told his mother, Michelle, that he wanted to be a chef when he grew up, she responded simply with a “why not now?”

Connor was ecstatic at the opportunity. "I want to be a chef because I like to try new things and experiment with new ingredients,” he noted. "A great hot sauce recipe should have an interesting flavor, not just heat."

However, Connor also has muscular dystrophy.

Unlike other kids his age, Connor has trouble getting around properly. This disease causes his muscles to deteriorate, affecting his limbs first and then slowly affecting other areas of his body. Patients with this disease lose their ability to walk around early on and are confined to a wheelchair for the rest of their lives.

In Connor's case, he participated in clinical trials at the Johns Hopkins-affiliated Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore. When he was not participating in any trials, Connor and his family always tried to find activities that will distract him from his weekly routine of receiving abdominal injections. They did anything that would get their minds off of his hospital visits.

One thing was their visits to a saucery in Baltimore’s inner harbor, which they went to after every hospital appointment. The family would stop by and purchase a new sauce to try at home. They did forget the name of the saucery, but Connor cites it as the start of his love for spicy foods. Since Connor’s mother was also Italian, the family would always make their own pasta sauce from scratch, using fresh tomatoes and other ingredients. With his mother’s cooking as an inspiration and his love for spicy foods as a catalyst, Connor had the brilliant idea to make his own hot sauce.

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