Lancaster man with rare skin disease gets his wish of learning to be a chef

Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Lancaster man with rare skin disease gets his wish of learning to be a chef
Nicky Zahorcak, who was born with a rare, debilitating skin condition, has a passion for cooking. Here's how the Italian Consulate stepped in to give the young Lancaster man a day he won't soon forget.

Nicky Zahorcak is a 22-year-old young man from Lancaster with a passion for cooking.

Zahorcak was born with a rare skin disease called recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa or E.B., a condition where his body doesn't make a protein that connects his outer skin to the muscle tissue underneath. The condition affects his mouth and throat, making eating regular foods nearly impossible.

"I've never really been able to eat much. I feel like I've been missing out on different types of food and so I always wanted to just try those foods," he said.

The condition makes his skin fall off at the slightest touch, which requires his hands and fingers always be bandaged. Still his mom, Silvia Corradin, said he has had a life-long wish to become a chef.

"We thought it was funny. Here's a kid who can't even eat and all he does is watch the food network," said Corradin. "Anytime I made cupcakes he would want to come and help me. He would love nothing better than to be a chef, a pastry chef, a regular chef, if he could."

Zahorcak's mom created a Facebook page to raise awareness and support for Zahorcak and those suffering from E.B. Zahorcak's story caught the attention of the Italian Consulate in Los Angeles, and its officials wanted to make his dream come true.

"We have organized a master class with a chef for Nicky. (Through) Siliva...who is Italian...we found out that his dream was to become a chef," said Silvia Chiave, the Consulate General of Italy in Los Angeles. "He loves Italian cuisine and his dream was to have a class with a chef."

The Italian Culinary Institute hosted Zahorcak and his mom for a special meal.

"What we'd like to talk to him about is to follow your instinct of what you if you have to cook something, you can actually do it with less pressure. It will actually be easier for you to do it," said Luigi Fineo, executive chef at N10 Restaurant in Los Angeles.

Zahorcak's medical procedures are expensive and frequent. You can help support him on his GoFundMe page.