Hospice's cooking course helping people struggling in the kitchen

PUBLISHED: 08:14 28 November 2019

The team celebrate their last night of Cooking with Ed, with a dinner party they hosted at the hospice. L-R: Head chef Ed Firth with participants Bruce Marshall, Ron Dudson and Malcolm Smith as well as chef Sam Heggarty. Picture: ST CLARE HOSPICE

The team celebrate their last night of Cooking with Ed, with a dinner party they hosted at the hospice. L-R: Head chef Ed Firth with participants Bruce Marshall, Ron Dudson and Malcolm Smith as well as chef Sam Heggarty. Picture: ST CLARE HOSPICE

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A hospice has launched a cooking group for older men who may be struggling in the kitchen following the death of their partner.

Cooking with Ed participant Bruce Marshall with a pasta dish he made during the course Picture: ST CLARE HOSPICECooking with Ed participant Bruce Marshall with a pasta dish he made during the course Picture: ST CLARE HOSPICE

St Clare Hospice, which provides care for people living in west Essex, started the course, known as 'Cooking with Ed' after learning that some widowers, who were visiting the hospice, lacked confidence and knowledge when preparing meals.

The project is run by hospice head chef Ed Firth, alongside chef Sam Heggarty.

Ed said: "For many men, cooking and kitchen duties are not at the top of the list in taking care of themselves, due to the fact that they may have never needed to cook throughout their lives. But the Cooking with Ed project has not only equipped our first participants with the techniques, skills and recipes to feed themselves and other family members - it has also got them inspired and motivated to cook, as well as giving them an understanding of good nutrition."

After receiving a grant of £2,753 from the Savoy Educational Trust, the project was launched in October with the first six-week course, during which participants met weekly, finishing on November 6.

The team celebrate their last night of Cooking with Ed, with a dinner party they hosted at the hospice. L-R: Head chef Ed Firth with participants Bruce Marshall, Ron Dudson and Malcolm Smith as well as chef Sam Heggarty. Picture: ST CLARE HOSPICEThe team celebrate their last night of Cooking with Ed, with a dinner party they hosted at the hospice. L-R: Head chef Ed Firth with participants Bruce Marshall, Ron Dudson and Malcolm Smith as well as chef Sam Heggarty. Picture: ST CLARE HOSPICE

On the last evening participants prepared a Come Dine With Me-inspired meal for friends and family, hosted at the hospice.

Bruce Marshall, 75, who took part in the course, said: "I've never really been into cooking before, but since the course I've found that I've been cooking more than ever. I also go over to my daughter's house once a week now and we cook a meal together."

Malcolm Smith, 74, also joined the class. He said: "The course has been brilliant. For me, Cooking with Ed has been more than a cooking course. During the classes, we have always found time to sit down, have a cup of tea and a chat, and be able to talk freely about our late wives."

If you are living with a life-limiting illness or experiencing bereavement, in the west Essex and east Hertfordshire area, you can find out more about which St Clare support services are available to you by calling the hospice on 01279 773700.

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