Food for Thought
By David Croft
David Croft's life changed dramatically at the age of 21 as the result of a diving accident he suffered while working as a demi pastry chef at a hotel in Bermuda. As a tetraplegic, his career as an aspiring and enthusiastic young chef and involvement in the sport of karate at an international level came to an abrupt end. But, as this book shows, his tenacity to live life to the full and with humour, despite his severe disability, is a total inspiration.
It is no surprise that the publication of Food for Thought will ultimately help others. Not only does it focus on the preparation of food for people with limited dexterity, but the proceeds will also benefit two of the charities that Croft has spent many years tirelessly supporting: Hospitality Action and REGAIN - The Trust for Sports Tetraplegics.
"I hope," explains Croft, "that through this book chefs, and others in the hospitality industry, can gain a better understanding of those problems faced by disabled people that may not have been considered in other cookery books."
In putting together the recipes for Food for Thought, Croft has enlisted the help of many prominent chefs. Despite what he initially thought was "just another of my wild schemes", he successfully amassed around 60 recipes from 32 chefs including Gary Rhodes, James Martin, Chris Galvin, John Williams and Mark Hix.
Throughout are a mix of sophisticated dishes such as pea and chervil risotto with pea shoots and goats' cheese from Tom Aikens, and the more homely shepherd's pie from Adam Byatt.
A particularly nice touch is the selection of dinner party menus put together for a number of people whose lives have been impacted by freak accidents. Despite suffering unimaginable injuries, the accompanying stories of how each of them has battled adversity and gone on to live a fulfilling life are awe-inspiring.
Croft points out that it is not just victims of accidents like himself, but it is also those with arthritis, stroke victims, and the blind - among others - who struggle with beautifully presented plates of food, prepared by chefs who have given no thought how those who have some disability might be able to eat it.
This is a book that every hospitality establishment involved in serving food should have on their premises. Not only does it provide an insight into the life of a tetraplegic and is packed full of valuable advice, which will help every business provide a sincere welcome to those suffering from mobility issues, but it will also help two very deserving causes.