Chantelle Griffiths with her cooking book
Chantelle Griffiths

It wasn’t until she was a teenager that Chantelle Griffiths discovered her love of cooking.

Our Braille Awareness Coordinator grew up in a sighted household where her family were hesitant to expose her to potential kitchen hazards such as sharp knives and hot elements.

“When I was taught how to cook by someone who was blind, I discovered that I could make food that’s really nice.

“I love to entertain friends and family and serve them delicious, wholesome food.”

She started with simple dishes such as eggs, and then branched out to more complex foods, like making her own ice cream and sausages from scratch.

“Cooking is an experience for all your senses. I hear when something is cooked by the change in sound, and I know when an element is on low, medium or high by the position of the dial and the temperature above the element. I can taste test things to know which spices need to be added, and I can identify spices by smell or by Braille labels.”

Chantelle also has a range of adaptive equipment in her kitchen that assist her with cooking, including talking scales, timers and measuring cups that are easy to tell apart by touch.

“At first I felt that I didn’t need any adaptive devices to cook. I had to get over this barrier of shame of using talking devices which are loud – especially while cooking in front of people who are sighted.

“But I have, if it’s going to make my life easier, then why wouldn’t I use them?”

“I encourage anyone out there who may be hesitant to cook to give it a go. If you need some help, contact our Adaptive Daily Living specialists who can show you how to cook from a blindness perspective.”

Chantelle’s love of cooking was recognised by telecommunications provider 2degrees. She was asked to judge at their staff cooking competition which she says was a real honour.

“It was an experience where I felt I was on an equal footing with everyone else, and it got me out of my comfort zone where I was trying different things that I wouldn’t usually try such as mussel fritters.”

2degrees have since turned the recipes that featured in the competition into a cookbook, Shared Plate, with all proceeds going to the Blind Foundation. Two of Chantelle’s favourite dishes feature in the book – Easy Prosciutto Pasta and Healthy Banana Cream Pie.

It has since been made available as an audio book in our library and a Braille version was produced by our Accessible Formats team and given to Chantelle.

Need any support cooking from a blind or low vision perspective? Contact our Adaptive Daily Living team on 0800 24 33 33 or email generalenquiries@blindfoundation.org.nz.