Heightened Senses ~ a week for young carers at Mosimann’s Academy

Create Arts - August 2014

From the 18-22 September 2014, we took eight young carers to Battersea for a very special project at Mosimann’s Academy. From simmering to sizzling, flambé to frying, the young carers learnt to cook up a storm and dazzle diners in this week-long project, which culminated in a three-course VIP lunch. Thanks to our long-standing partnership with Anton Mosimann OBE, and the generosity of Mosimann’s we were able to offer young carers from Kingston, Merton and Richmond a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

After being shown around the academy, the young people used three different recipes to create delicious chocolate, nut and oat cookies, which they enjoyed eating throughout the week, a fresh batch being baked daily! The next step was to plan the meal for Friday, which included learning about taste and blind taste testing a range of different ingredients including jelly, crisps and seaweed. They then searched through Anton Mosimann’s personal collection of 6,000 recipe books from around the world, collectively deciding on a menu of:

Starter: Flaked trout on top of sliced salmon, with lemon juice and herbs

Main: Baked cod, with sweet potato chips and fresh salad

Dessert: Bread and butter pudding and fruit coulis, with homemade caramel baskets and fresh ice-cream

Create Arts - August 2014

For the next two days, the young carers worked with our professional artist – costume and set designer Anett Black – to design the style and theme of the lunch that they were creating, with “Heightened Senses” being their chosen theme. Using centre pieces, bow-ties (a staple of Anton Mosimann), napkins tie-dyed with saffron, and menus that doubled up as placemats, they used their artistic skill and creativity to design a true dining experience.

Create Arts - August 2014

For the next two days, the young carers worked with our professional artist – costume and set designer Anett Black – to design the style and theme of the lunch that they were creating, with “Heightened Senses” being their chosen theme. Using centre pieces, bow-ties (a staple of Anton Mosimann), napkins tie-dyed with saffron, and menus that doubled up as placemats, they used their artistic skill and creativity to design a true dining experience.

On Thursday morning, the team met with Mosimann chef Miranda for a visit to Borough Market to enjoy a cheese tasting at Neal’s Yard Dairy and then pick high quality, fresh ingredients. The second half of the day involved technical training on dressing a table and service skills. Carrying multiple plates up three flights of steps is not easy!

On Friday, the young carers cooked the meal before presenting their restaurant experience to guests including Mark Mosimann, our Chief Executive Nicky Goulder, funders from British Land and The Queen’s Trust, and our newest Patron, concert pianist Nicholas McCarthy. Each course was introduced by the young carers, who were presented with Certificates of Achievement at the end before mingling with the guests over coffee. One of the guests wrote afterwards: “Thanks so much for inviting me to Friday’s event. It was really special and I enjoyed every minute!  I thought the group was amazing, and I’m feeling hungry just thinking about the wonderful meal.“

We spoke to some of the young carers after the lunch and this is what they had to say:

“I feel very proud of what I have achieved and have loved the whole experience. I would definitely do it again!”

“I felt proud of the comments from the guests who seemed to be impressed. My family would be proud of me”.

Sean* was one of the young carers who took part.

“I found out about this project through my support worker and thought it would be a good idea to come along, seeing as I love to cook! My mum usually does the main cooking at home but I often make dishes like lasagne and spaghetti bolognaise for her and my three younger brothers. I have an extended family and I am always cooking for them, friends and even people I’ve met on this project!

Although I care for my mum, I always think she is the one who cares for me! She is supportive of me and my decisions and one of those is hopefully to do a cooking course at college. I hope one day in the future to be able to run my own restaurant which serves a variety of food from around the world!

I learnt a lot about cooking compared to what I knew before so I really think that this will help me out in my chosen career path. The other carers on the project are all from different areas but we’re only a short train ride away from each other so hopefully we will meet up. We’ve been working in teams which helped us get to know each other.

I was so excited about putting on the final meal, getting in the kitchen and producing something. Projects like this get me out of my house and out of the area I live in which is refreshing. I get bored easily but I didn’t find that in this project.

Read Nicholas McCarthy’s reflection on the lunch.

See the full gallery in the Guardian.