Soooo thrilled to bits that I made it on to Recipe to Riches Australia in the 'Something Sweet' category! To make it into the top 3 within my category and to appear on TV was crazy, exciting and one of the best experiences I've ever had... loved every minute of it! A big thank you to Darren Robertson, David 'Nobby' Nobay & Carolyn Creswell. I'd also like to thank Fremantle Media and Channel 10.
There is a market for macarons and more specifically edible perfume but it's not in the supermarket! In developing my macarons I selected various elements based on the concept of perfume that through osmosis developed into a complex scent. My daughter Ruby who is only ten has helped me considerably in the kitchen and I think that she is the most amazing taste tester in the whole world! Ruby Marshall I love you to bits!
And, to the guy that took a bite of one of my macarons at auditions and said,'... it just felt like I'd been kissed...' - thank you as you made my day!
Here's what the Recipe to Riches Contestant page said about me:
Week 6 Contestant
Occupation: Public Servant
Product: Violet French Macaron
Karen's chocolate ganache-filled, violet macarons are much more than a mouthwatering sweet. For Karen, they symbolize her power to overcome adversity. The mum-of-two lost her sense of smell and taste after a mild head injury. Violet is important to her as it's one of the scents she can sometimes detect.
One of the reasons I auditioned for Recipe to Riches Australia was to prove that I could still cook and now that I've achieved that goal I'm happy. Although, I was also hoping to raise awareness of anosmia i.e. the loss of smell and taste across Australia but it appears to have fallen on deaf ears and so I suppose that if it's out of sight it's out of mind! Maybe if a company helps me to get an edible perfume product out into the market they'll take note - subject to the approval from Fremantle Media Australia of course.
My blog has been a wonderful place where I've been able to experiment in the kitchen and focus on my creative and artistic abilities; and this is the first time that I've revealed my disability.
Sadly, there are millions of people around the world that have lost their taste and smell whether it's due to a head injury or other cause and it is a debilitating condition that erodes quality of life. Imagine the consequences of not being able to smell toxic fumes or smoke or not being able to taste rotten food! In a split second of feeling unwell I fainted from a standing position and hit the back of my head on a thin parquetry floor that covered concrete. It changed my life forever.
After nearly 4 years of being totally anosmic I can now sometimes smell cut grass, rosemary, violet essence and a handful of other things. Most days however, there is still nothing so I often question myself whether the smells that I perceive are actually real or not?
My dream is now to become one of the first anosmic patients in Australia to receive a healthy olfactory stem cell transplant. Not sure how, when or if it can ever happen but I live in hope. If you would like to donate to assist with research in this area you can contact the Monell Centre here (based in the US) or alternatively contact The Eskitis Institute (Griffith University Australia) c/- St John Group Olfactory Ensheathing Cell Biology.
This post mostly paints a rosy picture because of what I've achieved but unless you've travelled in the shoes of an anosmic it is very difficult for you to understand the invisible pain, suffering and struggles that I and indeed most traumatic brain injured patients face.
I leave you with this thought, 'anosmia (no smell and no flavour) is like having the worst possible cold today and every day for the rest of your life. It doesn't matter how much you blow your nose you still can't taste your food. How would this make you feel when confronted with this at every meal time or social gathering? And, how would you cope? How would you feel if you could never smell the scent of your children again?