MasterChef contestant and South Australian winemaker John Hughes joined 23 children with cerebral palsy at an interactive Cheeky Food Group cooking event on Tuesday as part of an initiative to increase knowledge, skills and enhance social interactions in a new yet supportive environment.
Cheeky Chef Daniel, MasterChef contestant John Hughes and Cheeky MD Leona Watson
Famous for refusing to serve a less-than-perfect dish to the MasterChef judges, Hughes took the time to not only display his skills for the group but to also speak to the participants about how he has followed his passions while living with cerebral palsy.
“I was there to cook and present my dishes and as a result of MasterChef and television I’ve now become an inspiration for many people out there with cerebral palsy,” he acknowledged.
The event allowed the kids, their carers and volunteers to have fun getting hands-on with the food, just like the TV chef did during his time on the show.
The class also consisted of seven members of the Black Horse Foundation, the charitable arm of Lloyds International and the Bank of Scotland, as part of its corporate social responsibility program (CSR).
Cheeky Food Group runs corporate cooking team cooking sessions for charities as part of its own CSR initiatives. These sessions are extremely popular as a meaningful and fun way for corporate Australia to give back to the community.
Cheeky MD Leona Watson with the special class of junior master chefs
Cheeky founder Leona Watson, who celebrated her birthday with the special class, said cooking is a great equaliser because everyone, at any level, can have a go.
“Cooking is a team effort, so everyone can get involved. Even if you have never cooked before, you’ll definitely have fun, learn something new and make friends along the way,” she said. “Plus the ‘giving’ element of cooking makes it perfect for companies to include a CSR element to their team activities, from cooking and giving the food to local homeless shelters to helping with disadvantaged groups such as Cerebral Palsy”.