Top chef Pisani shows care-leavers how to make food last in UEL cooking session
- Credit: UEL
Former Soho chef Nicole Pisani’s attitude to food is straightforward: “Simple is best”, demonstrating the philosophy at a University of East London cooking class to teenagers leaving local authority care.
The aim was to help them “not be afraid to cook” rather than depend on takeaways from fast-food outlets, showing how a simple chicken and a few vegetables could be transformed into five worthy meals.
Nicole was head chef of a top West End restaurant when she changed career last year to take over the kitchen at east London’s Gayhurst Community school in Hackney.
Her cooking class at UEL was part of an online project run by Barnardo’s children’s charity which offers help to those leaving care in areas from employment to health.
Care leaver Simeon Sargeant, who attended Nicole’s cooking class, said: “One thing about food is making it last. Sometimes you don’t have the money for new food, but this cooking class really helped with that.”
The project was started in 2014 after care leavers told Barnardo’s they wished they had someone they could rely on for guidance when things went wrong, which a parent might otherwise provide.
UEL staff and students are supporting the project through the uni’s London Scholars programme.