A unique cooking workshop for the blind and the visually impaired took place this week, for the first time in Israel.
The workshop was organized by the volunteer organization Lions and was held in the “Cooking Experience” center, which specializes in cooking workshops for purposes of both fun and learning.
Each of the 16 participants was accompanied by a seeing assistant, and the group was divided into sub-groups, each accompanied by a chef. The chefs accompanied, guided, taught and advised the participants throughout the workshop. After the event everyone got together for a large meal.
“There was a large spectrum here of people who have vision problems and disabilities, from people who were born blind to people who lost their sight at some point during their lives,” said Yaniv Fartush-Tamir, Chef and Owner of Cooking Experience. “It was fascinating. It was nice, it was fun. It was also very satisfying. We treated one another as equals. We didn’t limit them, not in the tasks, not in the means and not in the result. We didn’t give them any discounts where we weren’t supposed to.”
He added that “except for the fact that we were told in advance that people may come with an assistant or a guide dog, as far as we’re concerned we got excellent people who love to eat and automatically also love to cook. We simply prepared food with them, and the people who determined what will be cooked, how it will be eaten and what will be prepared were actually the visually impaired and not us.”
Fartush-Tamir noted that while sight is a dramatic sense when it comes to cooking, he did not at all feel that the visually impaired participants were unable to see what they were doing. In fact, he said, they saw in a different manner.
“As far as we’re concerned, sight was also dominant here,” he said. “They saw with their fingers. As far as I’m concerned they saw everything in their own special and unique way.”