Homeadults with learning disabilitiesDyslexics Can Cook!

The prompt for today from BlogHer is “Have you ever invented your own recipe? Tell us about it.”

Jamie Oliver – S’ketti slinger.
By Scandic Hotels [CC-BY-3.0],
via Wikimedia Commons

I’m not much of a cook, and when I do make meals, they usually has to be off of a recipe, since I have such a hard to keeping track of more than one thing at a time in the kitchen. My big contributions to recipe records is the apple/honey concoction I mentioned in this article about lowering heart disease risk, and combining M&Ms with pickles.

What? I like that sweet/salty/sour taste combination.

My lack of talent notwithstanding, I believe cooking is both an art and a science. The natural concentration on details that many people on the autism scale have can benefit them greatly in the kitchen, just as the big picture pattern recognition many dyslexics are predisposed to can.
With those thoughts in mind, I thought I’d take a quick search for successful chefs with dyslexia.

Jamie Oliver

The very first name I recognized was Jamie Oliver. My husband and I enjoyed his show about improving school lunches by increasing organic ingredients, teaching kids how to cook and encouraging school gardens. In our over-processed world, it’s good to see progress towards understanding where food comes from and how to propagate it made in even a small number of schools.

Over the years, he’s established a school for kids who struggled in mainstream schooling, like many with dyslexia, geared towards nurturing the passion and skill that is cooking. You can listen to a little about his experiences with dyslexia here.

Andrew Droenburg
Not being a foodie myself, I first stumbled upon Andrew’s work when I found this article he’d written for Chef Talk. If you have a bit of time, I suggest you check it out. He has a lot of good things to say in it.

A little more research disclosed that he’s a Michelin Star winner, and has become an award winning author with his books, Becoming a Chef, Chef’s Night Out, and others. As he’d stated in the article, becoming an author was a dream he kept hidden, because his dyslexia impacted his reading and writing so severely.

Clare Smyth
Since I realize the cooking world is still rife with sexism, I thought it only fair to include the first female British chef to hold onto three Michelin Stars, Clare Smyth.

This tough as nails lady works for Gordon Ramsay as Patron Chef in his restaurant in London, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. To get there, she had to endure discrimination from various teams in her kitchen, the wait staff and even customers. Ramsay isn’t easy to work under, either, but she has successfully earned his support. He has actually stood up for her many times against the unfair treatment some of his peers gave her because of her gender.

She doesn’t tolerate bullying, has had to keep herself steady through the stresses of cooking in a high tension environment and has overcome the difficulties associated with dyslexia well enough to spell the many labels involved in running an award winning restaurant correctly all the time. Because of her hard work, determination and creativity, she has earned a great deal of respect in the cooking world.

When we go out to eat, we seldom think about the effort put into our food. It’s a fiercely competitive market, and one of the hardest to accomplish your dream in. However, if there’s one thing being part of the neurodiverse world gives us, it’s the will to work harder than everyone else to accomplish even small tasks early on. That foundation of strength is what many folks, dyslexics, those on the autism spectrum and countless others, is what they build their successes on.

It’s rarely easy, but the effort is worth it.


Dyslexics Can Cook! — 2 Comments

  1. I never knew that about Jamie Oliver. That just makes me like him even more — I'm already a fan thanks to his healthier eating for kids initiative.

    I'm like you — I'm not a recipe creator/developer, I'm a recipe follower. And I follow them to the letter, whereas my husband tweaks them. Drives me nuts. 😉

  2. I thought it was pretty neat, too. He seems like he'd be very interesting to meet in person.

    My hubby's also a recipe tweeker, but I only mind it when the finished product is less than palatable. 😉

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