DEAF celebrity chefs Yvonne Cobb and Scott Garthwaite have passed on their virtuoso cooking skills to deaf children and young people in a week of ‘Mini-Masterchef’ workshops organised by the National Deaf Children’s Society.
Under the chefs’ expert guidance, 15 deaf young people, aged between 8 and 14, tried their hand at cookery in the online Zoom masterclasses.
The young chefs tried their hands at many cooking techniques, including making pesto sauce, baking scones and producing a chicken dish. On the final day, under the watchful eye of Scott, they devised and cooked their own dishes from scratch.
The chefs received glowing praise from the participants and their families, including one review which read:
“We both thoroughly enjoyed the week and loved spending time with other young deaf people. You’re all doing an amazing job.”
Yvonne Cobb has been dubbed the ‘Deaf Nigella’ for her cookery skills and is also a regular presenter on See Hear, the BBC’s magazine programme for deaf issues.
Scott, who is known as the ‘Punk Chef’ because of his flamboyant hairstyle, has worked for BBC cooking programmes and the British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust’s BSL Zone. He has also appeared on See Hear.
In addition to the cookery masterclasses, the National Deaf Children’s Society has organised a wide range of virtual activity workshops for deaf children and young people, including topics as diverse as street dance, vlogging and mindfulness. The workshops enable deaf children and young people to make friends, learn new skills and grow in confidence.
Commenting on the workshops, Yvonne said:
“I thought the events were great. It was magical seeing the deaf children together and with an eagerness to learn to cook with me and Scott. Cooking together is a great way to empower deaf young people, teach them about good nutrition and build up their confidence, and it was lovely to see how much more confident they became towards the end of the week.”
“I got such a buzz from working with all the brilliant young people and just loved seeing their energy trying new things. There was some real talent there too and since day one, I have always believed that we as chefs are empowering these brilliant young people through food. Hopefully, they feel confident to take the culinary route in life.
“Disability should not be seen as a barrier in the hospitality industry, especially at Michelin star level, where being vocal is a strong part of the job. If they have the skills, then nothing will stop these young people from thriving. Hopefully, me and Yvonne can do more workshops in the future.”
Arran Masterman of the National Deaf Children’s Society, who helped organise the workshops, said:
“As part of our work to support deaf young people growing up across the country, we decided to invite the amazing Yvonne and Scott to share their cooking talents – and they didn’t disappoint. The sessions were really successful, with the young people really cooking up a storm.
“Watching them all interacting as they cooked was fantastic. It was great to be able to engage with them, and for them to make new friends.”