At Cerrig Cornel, our supported living service in Twynn, after minor persuasion from the rest of the team, Gary, support worker at the service has started an ongoing project for both staff and the people they support. They wanted to learn about and taste different international cuisines so Gary has started holding themed food nights.
Gary said that his aim was “to teach and share my knowledge of different foods from around the world to the people we support and staff. I hope that this experience will entice everyone to cook their own version”.
These events have been hugely successful, starting with a curry night back in the summer. For this, Gary sourced all of the ingredients himself and even travelled to the midlands to get his favourite spices for the curries! Leading up to the day there were menus around the service so that staff and the people they support could put their orders in and get prepared for what they wanted to eat. Lots of the staff put in orders to take food home to their families and for staff not working that night, showing how popular Gary’s cooking has become among the service.
On the night of the event Gary and his sous-chef Louise cooked huge amounts of curry, Edwina Blake, the activities co-ordinator said: “He made enough to feed a small village! The individuals we support all got involved by coming into the kitchen to talk through what they were doing, and to enjoy the aroma. Another person that we support got involved in preparations for the cooking; it was a great team effort. Everyone at the service was intrigued and kept going into the kitchen to watch the process and sample the food.”
Will, who lives at the service said: “It was nice to spend time with friends and staff to eat a lovely curry”. Everyone was happy to enjoy the food together and for everyone to be included.
There have also been various other themed food nights including Chinese food which was a huge success. The latest of Gary’s cooking nights was Mexican food in October. This gave everyone in the service a chance to try a classic chilli con carne served with rice and nachos topped with mozzarella cheese, accompanied with Guacamole and sour cream. For the vegetarians there was a special mixed bean and vegetable chilli. For the brave, Gary made his special ‘Diablo’s chilli’ a blazing hot chilli cooked with Birdseye and jalapeno chillies.
Gary said: “I have hopefully shared my knowledge and made everyone see that you do not need to buy a jar of chilli sauce to make an amazing chilli. Everybody who tried the chilli wanted to recipe and is hopefully trying it soon; even the ones who have never had Mexican enjoyed the food.”
Events like this at Cerrig Cornel help to grow the community feel for everyone there. The service is now looking forward to future events and Gary will be the designated chef from now onwards. He has promised to make Chinese food next.