a culinary scholarship, and offers visually impaired individuals self-sufficiency through culinary training.
A SHORT STORY ABOUT LOSING MY VISION
In September of 2001 I became very ill. I could not explain the fatigue and weakness I was feeling. I started on a three-month medical journey with health care professionals, who conducted test after test in search of the root cause. One morning as I looked at my television, the realization that I could not see very well overtook me. I immediately called my primary care physician, and she sent me to an eye specialist. It turned out that my retinas were traumatically scarred and could not be healed. In order to get a final diagnosis, I was sent to Massachusetts General Hospital, where they conducted an angiogram on my brain. I was informed that I had contracted a rare virus in my brain.
The protocol for treatment was chemotherapy, every three weeks for one year. I can’t begin to explain how sick I was during this one-year period while also dealing with the loss of vision. I felt hopeless.
My personality has always been high energy. I needed to get involved in some kind of work that was creative and demanding. I loved to cook, so I decided to attend culinary school. I attended two certificate programs in culinary arts, one at Boston University and the other at The French Culinary Institute in New York City. I felt that I was getting part of my life back.
I had no idea where this would lead me because I was 100% disabled. I contacted the Mass. Commission for the Blind (MCB), and that was a pivotal point for me for learning how to live with being blind. To my surprise, an idea came to me from MCB: Would I create a culinary course to support the many visually challenged individuals trying to find a path to independent living and self-sufficiency. Learning how to prepare a healthy home-cooked meal is essential to moving forward on our own. It isn’t just cooking that is important, but also understanding proper food storage and perishable food rotation, setting up a food-prep station and, most importantly, learning safe knife skills. Chefs Table Foundation (CTF) has been teaching an eight-class course for 4 years.
CTF is in the process of developing the next level cooking course involving only cooking. This will involve a 12-class program involving multiple culinary styles and various food preparation techniques. Classes will include sautéing, frying, grilling and roasting, to name a few.
If you see the benefits that Chefs Table Foundation provides to our visually impaired brothers and sisters, please consider supporting invaluable work. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to:
Chefs Table Foundation
There are many people in Massachusetts that are visually disabled. Chefs Table Foundation (CTF) is committed to supporting this population with training involving culinary arts. A part of Chefs Table Foundation’s mission is to support these individuals with training that will help them on their journey to independent living.
(The data below has been supplied from the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.)
Demographic Data of Individuals with a Vision Disability
Age *National *Massachusetts MCB Registry
Under 5 85,475 2,154 225
Age 5-17 482,727 5,764 1,211
Age 18-64 3,869,339 61,642 8,714
Age 65+ 3,118,010 58,163 18,680
Total *7,555,551 *127,723 28,830
*Source: 2017 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS)
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