‘I love cre­at­ing space for what’s pos­si­ble’

‘Stump Kitchen’ star Alexis Hillyard on chal­leng­ing as­sump­tions and cook­ing as ther­apy

Metro Canada (Edmonton) - - Front Page - Kevin maimann

Cook­ing is a way of life for Stump Kitchen cre­ator Alexis Hillyard.

The Ed­mon­to­nian’s pop­u­lar YouTube cook­ing show has not only be­come her job but also a form of ther­apy.

Hillyard, who was born with one hand and pokes fun at her limb dif­fer­ence while us­ing her “stump” to pre­pare food in unique ways, started mak­ing the show af­ter she was di­ag­nosed with ma­jor de­pres­sive dis­or­der two years ago.

“This has been a re­ally cool men­tal-health tool for be­ing in my body — slow­ing me down, fill­ing my­self with re­ally nu­tri­tious food,” Hillyard said, com­par­ing it to the ben­e­fits some peo­ple get from med­i­ta­tion or yoga.

“I’ve al­ways loved my stump and I’ve al­ways loved my body. That can def­i­nitely fluc­tu­ate, but this show and cook­ing have made me fall in love with my stump even more and the unique­ness of what I’m able to do.”

Hillyard will do cook­ing de­mos and talk about her life dur­ing the Ed­mon­ton Woman’s Show at the Expo Cen­tre on Saturday and Sun­day after­noon.

Her love of cook­ing ini­tially came from a need to work around her di­etary re­stric­tions.

Hillyard was di­ag­nosed with a gluten in­tol­er­ance seven years ago, and two years ago she be­came vegan.

“That re­ally forced me into the kitchen to make my­self good meals,” she said.

Af­ter a few months, her YouTube se­ries had caught on to the point where she had enough sup­port­ers on crowd­fund­ing web­site Pa­treon to make it her pri­mary source of in­come.

She hopes to in­spire oth­ers with “funny” or re­stric­tive di­ets, as well as peo­ple with limb dif­fer­ences.

Hillyard vol­un­teers with the Lucky Fin Project to raise aware­ness and sup­port peo­ple born with limb dif­fer­ence. Some­times she fea­tures kids with dis­abil­i­ties

this show and cook­ing have made me fall in love with my stump even more. Alexis Hillyard

on her show.

“I love chal­leng­ing as­sump­tions; I love cre­at­ing space for what’s pos­si­ble,” she said.

“The more rep­re­sen­ta­tion we have of folks with dis­abil­i­ties, peo­ple of colour, peo­ple with limb dif­fer­ence in the me­dia, the more peo­ple will see them­selves re­flected back in things like YouTube and me­dia, the more pos­si­bil­i­ties open up for them.”

KEVIN TUONG FOR METRO

Kevin Tuong/for MeTro

Alexis Hillyard also vol­un­teers with the Lucky Fin Project to raise aware­ness and sup­port peo­ple born with limb dif­fer­ence.

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