New Zealand – Cooking classes with Chef Asher Assaraf

To read on NZ Herald website:

Chef shares kitchen secrets with disabled

Asher Assaraf wanted to help Kiwis with Down Syndrome - the same condition his sister has. Photo / Supplied

Asher Assaraf wanted to help Kiwis with Down Syndrome – the same condition his sister has. Photo / Supplied

Chef Asher Assaraf is giving back to a community which means the world to him – providing cooking classes to Kiwis with Down Syndrome.

The 38-year-old has taken time out from his busy day jobs at Auckland restaurants Nomad and Bodrum Kitchen to start the scheme. His younger sister Natalie, who has Mosaic Down Syndrome and lives in Israel, was his inspiration.

The first of the classes started up last week and regular weekly sessions for people with disabilities such as autism and Tourette Syndrome are now in the pipeline.

« My sister has had a steady job at a bread factory for the past seven years and to me she is a legend, » Mr Assaraf said. « She has inspired me to try and be a better person every day.

« I just wanted to help Kiwis with the same condition. Organising cooking lessons seemed like an obvious way for me to do that. »

Mr Assaraf has teamed up with youth disability organisation Recreate NZ and the Auckland Down Syndrome Association to provide the classes.

The first session was held at Nomad in Pt Chevalier and regular cooking events are planned for a new kitchen fitted at the Recreate NZ headquarters in Epsom.

At the debut class, six eager teenagers were shown how to make pizza, chicken nuggets and beef burgers.

« They loved it, » Mr Assaraf said. « They scoffed the first lot of food themselves so we had to make another batch they could take home to their families in doggy bags. »

The ingredients were supplied by Foodchain and Southern Hospitality provided aprons, hats and gloves.

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