Envision & NICHE Launch Culinary Classes for People with Vision Loss | Envision Blog

Envision & NICHE Launch Culinary Classes for People with Vision Loss

By Beth Walker • Jun 25, 2024
Johnson Riungu, Envision employee, cooking in the kitchen at NICHE.

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As part of our impactful partnership with WSU Tech’s National Institute for Culinary and Hospitality Education (NICHE), culinary cooking classes specifically designed for individuals with vision loss are being offered at the downtown facility. This state-of-the-art facility, designed with adaptive cooking tools and technologies, enables individuals who are blind or visually impaired to pursue careers in the culinary field. Our collective efforts with NICHE have been instrumental in creating an inclusive learning environment where participants with vision loss can thrive and achieve their professional aspirations.

These new culinary cooking classes launched in June, with classes offered every Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, and focus on essential home cooking and nutrition skills, teaching participants to prepare a new meal each week. The program will run through the entire summer, with topics ranging from cooking basics, safe use of kitchen tools and techniques such as ensuring even knife cuts and checking temperatures. These skills are essential for fostering independence and confidence in the kitchen. What’s even better is that Envision covers the cost of these classes, making them easily accessible to Envision employees and other blind and visually impaired adults in the community.

Chef Chadwick Isom with NICHE leads each class along with other student chefs from the culinary program. Terese Goren, Senior Accessibility Analyst at Envision, also attends the classes, providing assistance and making suggestions for modifications to enhance the learning experience for students. Goren’s dedication, alongside the expertise of NICHE’s chefs, ensures that participants receive high-quality, tailored instruction.

Goren shares, "I’m so thankful for this collaboration and that the chefs at NICHE are eager to share their love of cooking with people experiencing vision loss. Our goal with these classes is to open even more career opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired.” 

Emily Hurst, Senior VP of Foundation at Envision, expressed her enthusiasm for the program starting, stating, “Home nutrition and cooking skills for individuals who are visually impaired or blind are critical to healthy living. This program not only equips participants with essential life skills but also fosters a sense of community and inclusion, demonstrating the profound impact of our partnership with NICHE.” 

Envision is grateful to the leadership at NICHE, including Chef Lexi Michael, Chef Chadwick Isom, Chef John Michael, and Dr. Jennifer Seymour, for their unwavering support and collaboration. Their commitment has been crucial in making these classes a reality.  

While summer classes are fully booked, interested individuals can look forward to the fall sessions starting on August 22nd. Registration for these future classes will open soon, providing more opportunities for participants to enhance their culinary skills. To learn more, please contact Terese Goren at 316-330-2952.