Cook Stars Mid Hants hosts tasty cooking class

boy baking with cooking teacher sitting at a table

Recently, Jo from mobile cookery school, Cook Stars Mid Hants visited our hospices to run a cooking class with a group of boys who all share the same condition.

Jo showed the boys how to bake focaccia bread, from kneading the dough to adding herbs. All of the boys had a go, which resulted in everyone taking home a freshly baked focaccia loaf which they all made from scratch.

boy kneading foccacia dough on a big table with cooking teacher who wears a red apron
boy in wheelchair mixing dough with cooking teacher under the sunshine

Jenny Astall, Children and Young People’s Support Worker at Naomi House & Jacksplace, said:

We offer a variety of life skills within the group to help the boys prepare for adulthood. Learning to cook can create a great sense of achievement and independence and they love being able to eat what they have made afterwards.

— Jenny Astall
boy poking foccacia bread with wooden spoon
activities team member helping a boy wearing a blue hat mixing dough

A group of boys who all share the same condition regularly meet up at Naomi House & Jacksplace, to take part in different activities, share experiences and make friends. These sessions offer the boys a way to gain confidence through fun activities. Jenny described what it means for the boys to have access to this group:

The group allows the boys to meet up with others who share the same condition in a safe setting. They will sometimes use the space to check out each other’s pieces of equipment, such as their wheelchairs to see what is available to them, or to ask questions related to their condition, for example what it might have been like having surgery. They will often make friends, who they keep in contact with outside of the group, building peer support outside of their school or college friendship groups.

— Jenny Astall
boy with glasses kneading dough with his hands, focused expression on his face
boy with curls mixing dough in a clear tub

During the cooking class, everyone had their own equipment and shared ingredients to make their own focaccia bread. Jo talked them through the recipes and ingredients on display and together they discussed who might have used these before and in what other recipes they might be used. They learned about why yeast is used to bake bread and what the functions of different ingredients were.

Jo, from Cook Stars Mid Hants, said:

I thought focaccia bread was a good starter recipe without too many ingredients, so I had time to get to know the students. This recipe was good for gross motor skill strengthening as the dough took a bit of kneading. I brought along lots of different herbs which was a talking point as some of the boys were happy to smell them and even had a taste!

— Jo Poupart
two volunteers and three kids having fun while baking bread
volunteer lady helping out a boy kneading and preparind dough

The boys were so welcoming towards me and had such a good sense of humour, I had a great time. The favourite part of the session for me was seeing their pride in their achievement. Once the bread was out of the oven, they were all so impressed with their work and couldn't wait to eat it!

I thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to bring one of my classes to Naomi House, everyone was so welcoming. I really hope to be back soon to run other sessions.

— Jo Poupart

Cook Stars offer cooking classes and workshops for children and young adults aged 2-17.

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Cooking at our hospices

We do a lot of cooking and baking at Naomi House & Jacksplace. It gives the children and young adults the chance to learn new skills, building independence and gives them a great sense of achievement all while having fun together.

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