A team representing chefs with disabilities will “make history” when it competes in the Culinary Olympics in Germany next month.
The team of five chefs from Scotland, Ireland, Italy and Germany, has been put together by Chris Sandford, the founder of the Culinary Ability Awards, which supports people with disabilities into careers in hospitality.
The team’s entry in the four-yearly competition’s community category will be the first time a group of disabled people has been represented since the Culinary Olympics was founded in 1900 and will see them prepare 120 portions of a three-course menu.
Sandford told The Caterer: “The community catering competition has 18 teams taking part and is a really good opportunity for people to see close up what we’re doing.
“By being in the mainstream categories and being judged on the same criteria there’s no reason this can’t reflect something bigger.
“I believe our industry needs this opportunity. We don’t have the solution to the staffing crisis but, we have a partial solution that helps youngsters who are often overlooked. This will really highlight the ability in disability.”
The team comprises Sara Weir of Ireland, Tobias Danner and Lisa Schulz of Germany, Benedetta Pirola of Italy, and Michael Auld of Scotland. All members of the team have either learning difficulties or physical disabilities.
Sandford said it is also the first time a team has been entered spanning four different nationalities. The theme of the community competition at the 2020 Culinary Olympics is roots and Sandford said that each member of the team would be bringing elements of their own culinary heritage to the team.
They have practised their menu catering for a number of events at locations including City Chambers in Glasgow, the Rivercourt hotel and the Gleneagle hotel, both in Killarney.
The Culinary Ability Awards team will serve their menu at the awards in Stuttgart on 15 February, with the competition running from 14 to 19 February.