A chef of 27 years descended into drug addiction and homelessness after a car accident robbed him of his sense of taste and smell.
A chef of 27 years descended into drug addiction and homelessness after a car accident robbed him of his sense of taste and smell.

Culinary career up in smoke after chef can’t taste, smell

A career in the culinary arts went up in smoke when a chef was struck down by a car in Surfers Paradise, tragically leaving him without his sense of taste and smell.

Karl Alexander Willis was driving through a red light when another car crashed into him, haemorrhaging his brain and plunging him into a lengthy coma, duty lawyer Bevan Manthey told the Pine Rivers Magistrates Court today.

"(Karl) was nursed back to health, but he lost his sense of taste and smell, which was a debilitating condition to have as a chef," Mr Manthey said.

At that time, Willis had been a chef for 27 years, working full time.

Former chef Karl Alexander Willis lost it all when a car crash robbed him of his sense of taste and smell.
Former chef Karl Alexander Willis lost it all when a car crash robbed him of his sense of taste and smell.

 

The court heard as Willis recovered from the traumatic head injury he tried to return to the workforce, only to leave dishes burning, oversalted, or otherwise ruined by his inability to perform the job he'd once loved.

Without anywhere to turn, Willis soon descended down a dark path into drug use, forming a debilitating addiction to methamphetamines and cannabis.

Now, at 42 years old, he faced court on seven charges, including possession of dangerous drugs, possession of a knife in a public place and possession of drug utensils.

The court heard police ran into Willis on George St in Beenleigh on June 12, where he was riding a pushbike down the path.

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Police prosecutor Graham Turner told the court police noticed a large knife with a bamboo handle protruding from Willis' backpack.

A subsequent search of the bag revealed a small amount of cannabis in a clip seal bag, another knife and a cone piece used for smoking.

Willis told police he was homeless, and needed the knife for protection.

He was further charged on August 24 when he was discovered at Edens Landing with clip seal bags containing methamphetamine beneath the waistband of his pants, and a glass pipe with scorch marks in his pocket.

Willis pleaded guilty to all charges and was given a single penalty for all offences.

He was fined $1000 and the convictions were recorded.

 

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Originally published as Culinary career up in smoke after chef can't taste, smell