15-year-old Superstar Chef, Danish Harraz Has A Mega Big Heart For The Needy

Across the first Movement Control Order period, 50 families in Selangor received a Covid-19 Aid Bag consisting of cooking oil, flour, sugar, biscuit, and other groceries worth RM75. Following this is another wave of grocery hand-out worth RM100 to 60 other needy families[1]

Behind this are a charity organisation called Danish Love and Support Crew that has been in operation 5 years ago. Its founder, Danish Harraz, is featured in an episode of BBC My World that showcases youths around the globe playing their role in helping the needy.

The amazing part of all? Danish is only 15 years old!

Source: Says.com via Danish Harraz

Passion For Good

Since young, Danish first developed a strong passion for cooking when he was helping his mom in the kitchen.

Mom let me help in the kitchen and bought me special kitchenware like a plastic knife to cut vegetables. After some time, I was allowed to cook on my own while she was my kitchen helper to prepare the ingredients and observe me. – Danish embarked on his culinary journey at 6 years old[1].

Danish recalled sharing his first recipe, toast bread with chocolate hazelnut spread and strawberry, on social media in 2013[1]. Since the first video, the culinary enthusiast started trying out more recipes he learned from the Internet, and even creating his own too.

I spend my time tweaking and experimenting with various ingredients to make it less complicated, and I’ll make sure they are fail-proof recipes, and easy for everyone to follow because for me, it’s important to share something that people can do or benefit from, rather than fancy complicated recipes. – Danish Harraz[2]

Danish’s giftedness in the kitchen caught the attention of social media users. His Instagram account boomed to over 224,000 followers. Currently, he runs an online baking business, Danish’s Red Kitchen, where he regularly shares fail-proof recipes and their mouth-watering end products.

Source: Courtesy of Danish Harraz, via The Sun Daily

Danish started taking interest in charity from the tender age of 7 when he joined a local soup kitchen as a crew member. A Facebook post by Need to Feed the Need (NFN) found him.

I saw the post on the NFN Facebook page that it needed funds and help. So I contacted them and asked if I can help. I baked for them. Now I’m one of the crew members. It takes place every Thursday night at Medan Tuanku where the distribution centre is – Danish Harraz[3]

Just like his parents, the organisers were first surprised to find out the baked goods were prepared by a primary schooler.

We’ve always wanted to do charity but we didn’t know what to do or where to go. Then one day Danish told us ‘Mama, Papa, we need to go to Medan Tuanku, I already set up everything’. So we went there and one of the founders asked me ‘Are you Danish?’ He was surprised when I said no and pointed to my son! – Danish’s father recounting their encounter in NFN soup kitchen[3]

Giving Love And Support

This anecdote serves as a stepping stone that led Danish to establish his own charity group, Danish Love and Support Crew, with his parents and four of his followers[3].

I have some resources and some talent, I decided to use them and start my own small charity group which is funded by my own online baking business, Danish’s Red Kitchen, and also from my earnings from brand collaborations and cooking demos. – Danish, founder of Danish’s Red Kitchen[2]

Apart from volunteering regularly, Danish committed 10% of revenue from the baking business to NFN[3]. Danish took it a step further by harnessing his influence as a force for good. The Covid-19 Aid Bag is just one of the many initiatives supported by his many followers.

Source: Courtesy of Danish Harraz, via The Sun Daily

My followers sometimes contribute some funds as well so that I can help more people. My primary focus is to help poverty-stricken families, underprivileged students in rural areas, cancer-stricken children in local hospitals, the homeless and the needy. – Danish Harraz[2]

The group’s first project was to visit the children’s cancer ward at Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL).

We put a smile on their [children’s] faces. We gave them food and I even hired a clown. They were so happy! – Danish, recalling his first visit to HKL paediatric ward[3].

Danish also visited the children’s families and supported them with donations of groceries. Bake-sales were organised routinely to raise funds for HKL’s cancer children support group. 

Source: Courtesy of Danish Harraz, via The Sun Daily

Being a student himself, Danish understands the importance of access to education. In 2019, Danish initiated the ‘Anak Lemoi Back to School’ initiative where he channelled school supplies and groceries to 40 underprivileged students and families[4]. The project caught the attention of Selangor’s Menteri Besar who ended up funding the whole project.

On Children Day 2021, Danish collaborated with AIA Malaysia on Mighty Healthy Meals, a special cooking show to help parents inculcate healthy eating habits in their children. Collaborating with Datuk Nicole David, Danish took the spotlight to share his banana oatmeal and carrot cheese pancakes recipes, nutritious yet fun to make.

Kindness Is Free

In November 2020, a Twitter post caught Danish’s attention.

Today’s the last day of Mamat working here. I couldn’t afford to pay him anymore. Life’s hard since COVID-19 existed. – Abdul Ghafur[5]

Abdul Ghafur who ran a shoe-mending store Kelinik Kasot in Malacca had been trying to keep Mamat as an employee as long as he could knowing that he has a wife and a child to support. The following day after the Tweet, our young do-gooder reached out to Abdul Ghafur to offer to pay half of Mamat’s salary so that Mamat can keep his job[5].

Source: Says.com

I’m earning some income from my work. So if Abang is okay with it, Danish would like to pay for half of Abang Mamat’s salary until December, as long as he can keep working with Abang. Is it okay? – Danish conversing with Abdul Ghafur via Twitter[5].

After the correspondence, it was decided that Danish would donate a sum of RM800 directly to Mamat instead of paying his salary.

Danish has already contacted Abang Mamat and gave him a bit of help through Abang Ghafur. I hope this will lessen the burden for Abang Mamat’s family a little. – Danish wrote on his own account[5].

Source: Says.com

There is no age limit in generosity. Danish’s mega big heart has inspired many more netizens to do good.

We need to be kind to everybody. It doesn’t matter if they’re good or bad people. If we keep showing kindness, who knows, maybe they will be a good person too. I’m also blessed to have my followers who stand up for me, offer kind words and encouragement. – Danish always uses the hashtags #KindnessIsFree and #SpreadLoveNotHate on most of his Instagram posts[3].

Perhaps Danish’s intention in giving back stems from the same root as his interest in culinary arts.

When I started it, I just wanted to show people that if I can do it, so can they. I want to encourage other kids not to be afraid to try anything, and for parents to always give the chance to kids to explore. Cooking and baking are essential survival skills. – Danish Harraz[2]

Doing good for the needy community does not require a huge following. Every child can have big dreams just like Danish.

You just need to do what you love and never give up. Stay determined. Mistakes are proof that you’re trying. Just don’t make the same mistake again lah. – Danish Harraz[3].

Explore Our Sources

  1. mStar. (2020). Baru 13 tahun, Danish Harraz ada badan kebajikan sendiri… dah muncul di BBC! mStar. Link.
  2. Sathiabalan, S.I. (2020). The boy wonder. The Sun Daily. Link.
  3. Zuliantie Dzul. (2017). Little chef, big heart. New Straits Times. Link.
  4. Syok. (2020). We Have No Choice But To Stan This Young Malaysian Chef For His Charitable Efforts. SYOK. Link.
  5. Ang, M.V. (2020). Danish Harraz Offers To Pay For Half Of Man’s Salary To Keep His Job. Says. Link.

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