“I didn’t know how much a smart phone could help me, now I tell everyone else about it”  Graham

Shalini is passionate about food, so she can often be found helping Isha in the kitchen, as well as online running Facebook cooking classes. Macular dystrophy means her vision is quite low, but she doesn’t let that stop her doing what she loves…

What have you been doing at Croydon Vision over summer?

It’s been so nice to be back and interacting with people this summer. There are happy and positive vibes at Bedford Hall! The Summer Fiesta BBQ was lovely and chilled, with everyone feeling happy and well looked-after. I loved making salads with Isha, she uses different ingredients to me and G’s special chicken marinade was very good! I was also at the LinkedIn workshop that Odette ran so attentively for working age members. The whole team helped me to improve my LinkedIn profile, which I think will be really useful in my working life as a paid cook.

Who have you enjoyed seeing?

Lauren is so fun to be around and he always recognises my voice and often wants seconds! And Anna is so good to talk to. Then there’s Isha, she knows everyone so well that she’ll season the food she cooks differently for different members. I hope that by helping here enough I’ll be able to do that!

What gives you energy?

Cooking! That’s the greatest thing for me. I have always believed that people who can’t see so well often have hidden talents and I now know that making food for people is mine. I’m so happy that I can do that for my work now.

How good are you at trying new things?

Let’s see, well today I’m making a dish that I’ve been cooking since I was a girl but I want to change it up. So I’m researching ways to do that by watching videos and collecting new ideas. I’m not too strict about following recipes; I go with the flow and I’m always up for trying new things in the kitchen.

What tips would you give to visually impaired people, looking to try new things in the kitchen?

Don’t stress about measuring everything out, instead add ingredients a bit at a time and taste as you go. You can always add more but you can’t really remove them once they’re in the pot. And remember, you don’t need your eyes to taste!

What words of wisdom do you live by?

Carry on! I have Lupus and I’ve been to ICU a few times with it, I also lost the use of the muscles in my legs at one point. I had to relearn to walk. When my husband complains I remind him of that! I just got through it. I suppose I believe that if you happen to have a bad time, just carry on being strong and eventually things tend to pass. Don’t get me wrong, I do get sad and frustrated but I work through tough times and usually come out the other side.