A visually impaired chef has been recognised for his work to help other people with sensory loss increase their confidence and independence in the kitchen.
David Black, a chef and cookery teacher at Forth Valley Sensory Centre (FVSC) in Falkirk, received a food champions award from NHS Forth Valley’s Public Health Nutrition team. The 44-year-old, from Bonnybridge, runs cookery classes for people with sight and hearing loss and learning disabilities, teaching them how to make healthy, nutritious food on a budget.
David has a hereditary sight loss condition, retinitis pigmentosa, and is also deaf. He was taught to cook by his mum, Joan, who was also blind and started volunteering at the centre in 2006. David cooks at the centre’s popular café alongside his classes. David uses a range of assistive technology, including talking scales to measure ingredients and has a volunteer helper who acts as his eyes while he is cooking. The cookery lessons run on Tuesday and Friday mornings at 11am at the Forth Valley Sensory Centre in Falkirk.
David Black, chef at Forth Valley Sensory Centre said:
“I like passing on what my mum taught me. She was an independent, blind woman with five weans. She taught us how to look after ourselves. She was very focused on us being independent and I want to pass that basic stuff on to other people.
“Cooking for yourself means you can save money and it’s healthier. I’m lactose intolerant and I can’t read the labels on food – so if I make something from scratch, I know what it has in it.
“I want to give people that basic independence. When you are blind or deaf you think ‘I can’t do that’ but with the right support you can do anything.”
Jacquie Winning, Chief Executive of Forth Valley Sensory Centre said:
“It is great to see David recognised for his hard work and commitment he has put into teaching people a variety of cooking skills, people who are from all walks of life and ability levels.
“We all love eating David’s food at the centre and feel very lucky to have him. I particularly recommend his lemon drizzle cake.”