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A chef's story

A chef battling daily obstacles as a result of degenerative brain damage brought encouragement and teaching to Hadleigh Training Centre students who have faced barriers to learning and employment. 

I saw a photo on Twitter showing that trainees had been using my recipes to support them in their learning

The Salvation Army’s Hadleigh Training Centre had been using recipes published by Chef Mike Darracott for its food preparation and service modules. Mike heard about, and identified with, the trainees’ struggles so offered to lead a training session.

 The training centre works to remove barriers trainees face on the path to employment and enables them to develop wider life skills, all the time supporting them as they gain belief in their own capabilities and prove these capabilities to others.

 Students tackle issues from their lack of confidence and wellbeing to arrested education, as well as battling social stigma attached to their particular conditions. While at the training centre, they are able to take part in training in carpentry, catering, hospitality and retail, estates management, horticulture, IT and rare breeds.

Chef Darracott said: ‘I saw a photo on Twitter showing that trainees had been using my recipes to support them in their learning. I identified with the obstacles they faced in learning and moving into employment and wanted to visit and encourage them as well as sharing a recipe with them.’

 Catering Operations Manager Ciaran Egan said: ‘The Salvation Army has a history in Hadleigh of supporting the most vulnerable people in the community and offering holistic care as they help move individuals forward in their life journey. At the training centre, while we work to remove the barriers that trainees face on the path to employment, we do more than increase their employability. We focus on developing each individual in all areas of their life – emotional, physical, psychological, social and spiritual – to enable them to grow and develop.

‘To some, The Salvation Army offers them their first break – an opportunity to prove themselves in vocational fields, to build up their sense of self-worth and to improve their lives, as well as helping them realise they can do anything they want as long as they apply themselves.’

Ciaran believes Chef Darracott’s visit will be a great encouragement – not only will trainees learn new skills and benefit from the different teaching style and approach from Chef Darracott, but it will also affirm the work they’ve been doing, providing a real recognition of their efforts.

Support with the basics

Building confidence

Guidance and support with benefit queries and support to identify the barriers to work 

Mike and his wife Kim will teach the trainees to make Cornish pasties – the first recipe he learnt. The trainees are currently working towards their Level 1 Award in Introduction To The Hospitality Industry as part of a National Open College Network qualification, and this session will contribute to their course.