What a day we all had at the Cookery School recently when we had the privilege of welcoming 9 very special young people, all of whom have a visual impairment, to cook with us. Aged from 9 to 18 all the kids were truly inspirational and many thanks to the NCBI (National Council for the Blind Ireland) who helped make the event happen.
I first saw the brilliant work done by the NCBI last year when I was judge at a cookery event they held and I have to say that I was blown away by the passion the kids had for cooking and also the ability that they possessed.
After that event I wanted to get the kids down to the Cookery School and I was delighted when they were able to make the trip. The kids come from all over Ireland and we had an absolutely brilliant day.
It was fantastic to watch the kids cook. All the recipes were in braille and we made pizzas, salmon parcels and chocolate brownies and once again the talent and passion among the kids was so clear for all to see. We had Kevin, our gardener, come down and he brought with him a selection of fresh herbs which the children were able to smell and taste and it all helped with their understanding of different flavours.
I have to admit that I had a lump in my throat the whole day. To see the kids touch and smell and taste the ingredients and put them together to make such wonderful tasting food was just really fantastic to watch. We also took them on a tour of the kitchen and they met the staff at the restaurant and I could see the effect that the children had on the staff.
I think it is true to say that many of us take our sight for granted and to see these kids and the adversity they overcome and how they don’t let anything get in their way is just truly humbling. It was one of those days that I know I will look back at with great fondness and it has been one of the best experiences I have ever had as a chef. I feel very fortunate that I was able to invite the children up to the cookery school and I feel very fortunate that they have touched my life the way that they have. They were a real inspiration to us all .