Dundee care home chef goes online to continue cookery classes for foster care youths

A Dundee chef has not let the lockdown stop him continuing to teach life skills to children in foster care.

Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, Daniel Inglis, Head Chef at Balhousie St Ronans care home, had been sharing cookery skills with a group of five young people from Swiis Foster Care in Dundee.

Daniel hosted weekly sessions in the kitchens at St Ronans, covering everything from cooking their favourite dishes to budgeting and CV writing, until they came to an abrupt halt in March.

Fortunately, Daniel was able to come up with a solution that has enabled the sessions to continue to run virtually via Skype. Each participant is sent a box of ingredients, ‘Hello Fresh’ style, for the online class and Daniel talks them through the steps remotely, offering tips as they follow the recipe together. He said:

“It has been working well and the participants are still coming along and learning more life skills through our video sessions. We’ve been cooking many of the young people’s favourite dishes during the sessions, from hunters chicken to sticky toffee pudding. We’re looking forward to being able to enjoy the weekly sessions back in our care home kitchen again soon though.”

Another benefit from the online sessions is that they have reached more young people as Swiis Foster Care have been able to post some of Daniel’s classes on their website which can be accessed with a special QR code.

As well as the young people attending the classes, some foster carers have also expressed interest in learning some cookery tips from Daniel and have been enjoying helping and getting involved with the virtual classes. Responding to demand, Daniel is hoping to organise a one-off session for the carers as well.

Swiis Foster Care Dundee are hoping the success of Daniel’s life skills classes will inspire their other regions to find similar partnerships in their areas. Sandy McLeod, Education Worker at Swiis Foster Care Dundee, said:

“Daniel’s classes are really popular with our foster children. He has great attendance every week, even remotely. His classes are superb and he is a master of multi-taking, often running his home’s kitchen and giving guidance to staff while instructing participants in the online class at the same time! His enthusiasm is second to none and I can’t praise Daniel and St Ronans’ home manager Denise McCorkindale enough for everything they have done for us.”

Jill Kerr, Group Chief Executive Officer at Balhousie Care Group, added:

“It has been wonderful to see one of Daniel, one of our Everyday Heroes, make such a difference to these young people with his classes. Not letting Coronavirus stop them, the virtual classes have been an inspired way of continuing the learning and we are delighted to have been able to support Swiis Foster Care with this educational collaboration.”