Never too old to learn to cook

00:42, Feb 13 2014
Southland Times photo
Tash Clay, right, shows some of the skills to be gained in her Senior Chef cooking classes to, from left, Jenny Matehe, Jenny Keen, Craig Hawkes and Margaret Baird.

Southlanders aged over 60 have the opportunity to don chef's whites, grab a spatula and sign up for  a new course targeted at older people living alone or with one other.

Senior Chef - cooking classes for older adults - is an eight-week course provided through Age Concern, offered to people 60 years or older to brush up their cooking, budgeting and meal planning skills while making friends and socialising.

Senior Chef spokeswoman Tasha Clay said she has run two classes so far, one in Winton and one in Invercargill, both of which were well received.

''They were really positive, people raved about the classes, said they had their confidence back in the kitchen and the motivation to cook for themselves.''

Mrs Clay said the course taught students there were better meal options for one or two people than baked beans on toast.

''It's for men as well as ladies. It might be that their wife has passed away, who, in that generation, often ran the household including the supermarket shopping and cooking.''


The course provides one lesson a week, from about 10.30am till 12.30pm. 

The lesson includes an hour of theory, which could be budgeting, nutrition or practical skills, before students prepare, then eat a lunchtime meal together. 

''I really like to push the classes as a social occasion as much as anything else,'' Mrs Clay said.

''It's about meeting new people, getting out of the house and making new friends while improving or learning new skills.''

She is calling for people to register interest in the classes.Each class takes eight to 12 students and she is happy to provide the classes anywhere in Southland, provided she can have access to a facility.

''All I need is an oven, a sink, and table and chairs so we can eat together, otherwise I bring everything including the cutlery and crockery,'' she said.

Everyone who takes the course is given a cookbook with recipes specifically for one or two people. 

People wanting to take the Senior Chef class can contact Age Concern in Forth St to register their interest.

The Southland Times