Look and Cook

Look and Cook

 This month Workskills Community Investment Fund was put to good use to help Derwent Valley Community House continue their successful program “Look and Cook”.

Look and Cook is a literacy based program, with the emphasis on being able to interpret and cook a recipe.

Derwent Valley Community House brought a small group together (no more than 6 at a time) to teach them how to cook from a recipe and also how to cook without using a recipe. 

Derwent Valley Community House have been absolutely stunned at the growth and learning and, the retention of the people in the classes has been 100%.

In the setup of the program, Derwent Valley Community House planned a menu for 8 weeks, shopped for the groceries and also all the equipment needed to make the recipe, and then demonstrated how to cook it in our kitchen, sat together to eat it, and then each participant was sent home with the ingredients and equipment to make the recipe. 

Derwent Valley Community House talked about how you can switch up the ingredients to make things, ie change beef mince to chicken mice. It was a real revelation to this group of people and the growth in their cooking skills is amazing 

One of the participants has lived in institutional care all of his life and was “released” into his own home last year.  The support he received was good and he was shown how to cook chops and frozen vegetables, and toast. He very proudly told me that he could cook and when I asked him what sort of things he cooked he told me chops and frozen vegetables. So every night, since he has lived on his own, he has had chops and frozen vegetables. Since coming to Look and Cook, he can now cook any flavour of quiche, toasted sandwiches and jaffles, stew in the slow cooker, roast dinner with all the trimmings, tacos from scratch, spaghetti bolognaise, chocolate cake and soon he will be able to make trifle (which is his request). I will share with you (please indulge me) a little bit of this man’s story.

After we cooked the Roast Lamb and ate it together, he said that he was leaving early because he wanted to go home and cook his lamb. I said that was fine and off home he went with his bag of groceries. He was so happy. Next morning, he came in to see me and told me that he had cold lamb for breakfast, he cut off chunks with a knife and just enjoyed it like that. He was beaming from ear to ear and then he said, “Lexia, I have wanted to do that all my life”. 

“One of the participants has always wanted to cook but is ashamed of the fact that she cannot read. After a few tips and tricks she eagerly attends each weeks’ lesson, but is now cooking biscuits and cakes and meals and posting me pictures of them on Facebook.  I even received a message from her husband thanking me for the classes, as he is having some really different and enjoyable things to eat.  This lady actually bought in an old recipe book for me to read because she thought I might like to look at it and then she asked me to explain some of the recipes to her.”
Lexia Derwent Valley Community House Manager

Derwent Valley Community House have seen many benefits arise from this program and they are so glad they can continue to run it.