Novice cooks with learning difficulties develop kitchen skills in Custom House class

PUBLISHED: 17:36 04 December 2017 | UPDATED: 18:09 04 December 2017

Cooks and guests gather at the table for their prepared lunch.

Cooks and guests gather at the table for their prepared lunch.


Young adults with complex needs proved they were mini master chefs after creating a meal in an inclusive kitchen challenge.

Participants busy in the kitchen at a special cooking event organised by amateur chef and specialist behaviour support worker Curry Rahman. Curry, on the right with Chris Participants busy in the kitchen at a special cooking event organised by amateur chef and specialist behaviour support worker Curry Rahman. Curry, on the right with Chris

The six novice cooks shopped at the supermarket and prepared vegetables with help from their support workers to make a range of dishes including chicken pasta bake, beef curry and stir-fry noodles.

The lesson at care home Nimrod House in Vanguard Close, Custom House, last Wednesday was set up by specialist behaviour support worker and keen amateur cook Mizanur ‘Curry’ Rahman.

He said: “We wanted to give them the message that they can do it.”

“We gave them plastic utensils and asked them to cut both the broccoli and cauliflower florets.

Cllr Rokhsana Fiaz helps out by cutting some vegetables Cllr Rokhsana Fiaz helps out by cutting some vegetables

That way it is involving them, improving their life skills, increasing their independence and participation. They are also eating healthily at the end of the day.”

The participants - who have autism, severe learning difficulties and challenging behaviour - helped to cook for their relatives, carers and Cllr Rokhsana Fiaz.

Some of their tasks including peeling onions and mashing potatoes, with participants often surprising themselves in the process.

Curry said: “They were really happy because they said ‘We can do it’.”

Earlier on, they shopped for ingredients to learn about the importance of nutrition in order to be able to choose and cook their own food.

Curry said: “A lot of young people have obesity. If they are actually eating the right food that is going to be helping them physically and their well-being in the future.”

All of the participants were aged under 40 and live in Newham. Currently, Tthey receive care on a one-to-one or two-to-one basis, enabling them to live independently in the community.

Curry said he hopes his cookery programme will now be replicated across the borough.

He wants more support workers and young people with special needs to be aware of what can be achieved, which he believes will “reduce” some of the associated behaviours that can be of concern.

He added: “They can get out of these hospital beds and be in the community, become independent.

“Their loved ones see them having an increased quality of life.”

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