Cooking alongside another young blind woman in China, together we learned a classic chocolate Mousse during a session with Intercontinental chef, frank (https://youtu.be/wwNtojsbuuU ).
Lisa was intrigued by the talking thermometer and I was too by the practical demonstration as to how altitude makes such a difference to the boiling temperature of liquids. Once the milk had boiled, it was cooled by adding chocolate and then eggs until the whipped cream could be folded through when the mix was at 30 degrees centigrade. Once cooled and set, the mousse can be served with our very easy strawberries steeped in orange juice, a little sugar and a splash of optional orange liqueur.
We had been trying to use very simple processes with a few ingredients that weren’t too expensive or strange for these two young women with virtually no kitchen experience. And the Intercontinental team put together a parcel of other western dishes for them to take home, share and learn more flavours.
Lisa was very tiny and, although trained as a medical masseuse, is just too small to practice her skill. Instead, she is trying to generate income through her handicrafts. She has some limited residual vision so doesn’t use a white cane and is wildly independent.
It was a time to treasure: the two blind women had been with us at the Intercontinental for lunch and then cooking in to the early evening. They were enthusiastic and self-confident – great examples of how education and training could equip them for life. Alongside the Intercontinental chefs were wonderful in their support, patience and empathy. It seemed to me that both the chefs and young women were having a completely new experience cooking together: finding that food was a force for breaking down barriers. I tried to stand back and give them time to learn about each other’s lives.