Celebrated chef provides young people with expert cooking tips at UEL event

Chef Nicole Pisani packs up a completed meal in the Pisani Cooking Session. Picture: UEL

Chef Nicole Pisani packs up a completed meal in the Pisani Cooking Session. Picture: UEL - Credit: UEL

A top chef visited the University of East London (UEL) to provide young people who were formerly in care with expert culinary skills.

UEL student Maud Hesse and care leaver Simeon Sargeant prepare vegetables (foreground of photo). Pic

UEL student Maud Hesse and care leaver Simeon Sargeant prepare vegetables (foreground of photo). Picture: UEL - Credit: UEL

Nicole Pisani, former head chef at Yotam Ottolenghi’s restaurant NOPI, demonstrated to care leavers – individuals who previously spent time in care during childhood – how to turn simple ingredients into gourmet meals.

The university’s students acted as mentors and helpers at the event arranged by staff at UEL’s Cass School of Education and Communities.

Care leaver and university student Simeon Sargeant said he found Nicole’s tips really helpful.

He said: “One of the main things about food is making it last as long as possible, as sometimes you don’t have the money to buy new food.”


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“This really helps out with that. Young people can see that with a lot less money there’s a lot of stuff that can be done.”

At the session, UEL students helped their younger charges whip their chickens into four meals: chicken filets with fennel potatoes, filets with sweet potatoes, chicken ramen and a chicken burger.

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They also roasted a cauliflower to create a simple vegetarian dinner.

The cooking classs was organised as part of the Thinking of You (TOY) project run by Barnardo’s.

The children’s charity offers care leavers with information and tools in areas ranging from employment to health.

TOY, which was created in 2014, came about after former care leavers said they wished they had greater knowledge of practical problems – such as a broken-down boiler – in the absence of parental support.

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