Ex-chef continues baking thanks to disability day centre in Godalming

15 July 2016

Michael baking tarts with his support worker JadeA disabled ex-chef is sharing his passion for cooking with staff and visitors at a disability day centre in Surrey, giving them the skills they need to cook independently.

Michael, 68, regularly delights all at the Hydon Hill day centre in Godalming by sharing techniques and baking up delicious treats with the support from the centre’s amazing staff.

Michael worked as a professional chef in central London, before he developed multiple sclerosis 14 years ago.

Since then, Michael has been a regular at Hydon Hill, which is run by leading charity Leonard Cheshire Disability.

He said:

‘With the help of staff, I started baking here almost straight away, about a month after I arrived. I now come into Hydon Hill on Tuesdays and Fridays to bake.

‘It’s my relaxation. I think the residents like my cooking because they eat it, and there’s never much left!

‘I’m not allowed to cook at home, only here. I have a tendency to put things in the oven and walk away! I have one-to-one support when baking at Hydon Hill, so there are no issues.’

Volunteer co-ordinator at Hydon Hill Jonathan Lelacheur said:

‘Michael does the cookery classes here, he is the head chef as far as I’m concerned!

‘He works with everyone here and teaches them how to cook. He taught his support worker Jade, and she now uses those skills at home.

‘It’s very, very important that we support people to move forward and do the things they’re passionate about. We need to see the person in the wheelchair, not just the chair.’

Michael has recently shared his top tips to make baking easier if you have a disability to urge everyone to get behind Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Give & Bake campaign this July.

These 12 tips cover everything from the most helpful utensils to use in the kitchen and how to crack an egg with one hand, to using foam around cutlery to improve the grip.

Give & Bake is all about bringing together friends, family and work colleagues for a cup of tea and a slice of cake in exchange for a donation to charity Leonard Cheshire Disability, which will directly support disabled people locally, including Hydon Hill.

Jonathan said:

‘A donation could provide life-enhancing care and support at our services, such as Hydon Hill. Without it, Michael would never have been able to continue cooking.’

Register for Give & Bake online or call 020 3242 0396.

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