Culinary Arts for the Blind
After Project Shine-a-Light, Team Temiere conducted trial culinary training workshop for 3 visually impaired to learn how to cook for themselves.
This project was started when the team interacted with the visually impaired in Singapore and discovered many of them feared cooking for themselves at home out of fear of hurting themselves, not having easy access to cooking materials and a myriad of other reasons
The team decided to use assistive devises to empower the visually impaired in cooking simple recipes and handle cooking utensils safely and confidently. They also began gathering recipes and compiling them into an e-cookbook with a screenreading function so it can be easily understood by the visually handicapped
The trial cooking lessons were well received by the 3 visually handicapped, and below are their reviews. These trial cooking lesson leads to the birth of a culinary school, Fortitude Culina specifically for the visually impaired community.
“I went into the trials believing I would simply be teaching the visually impaired how to cook. However, I personally feel that I not only got to teach the participants, I also learned a lot from them. They taught me how they learned how to manage their condition and became more confident individuals. We are often nervous to approach individuals with disability out of fear that we might not be able to relate to them and interact with them easily, but I realised through this experience that the visually handicapped are not much different from anybody else.”
-Tan Rei, Team Temiere Member
I’ve always wanted to gain back my ability to cook, but no one could ever find the time or patience to teach me. The sighted volunteers with us have especially saved me a lot of grief – imagine what it would be like fumbling through trial and error cooking on your own without sight. The volunteer chefs were also incredibly patient with us, though I can imagine them being home/amateur cooks probably helped in them empathising with our culinary struggles as well. This programme has eased me into the habit of trying to cook independently within a very safe yet fun environment, and I think I’m now much more confident trying other recipes on my own.
Moving forward with this cooking project, I think one area I’d be really excited by would be learning the techniques other chefs use. There are many family and cultural traditions passed down from one generation to another through the kitchen, and I think it would be incredibly interesting to discover ways for blind cooks like myself to adopt these techniques into our adaptive cooking methods. This can be achieved by having home cooks with much more experience try their hand at teaching us; I think this could be a very personal way for us in the VI community to connect with Singapore’s society as well.
-Joshua Tseng, Visually Impaired Participant