On Sunday 17 August, Winston Matthews, a former Head Chef and current general manager at the esteemed Kettner’s restaurant in Soho, visited our Teddington service to cook up a mouth-watering barbecue.

Earlier in the year, he volunteered to lead an expert cooking tutorial for the individuals at the same service.

Winston has taken part in three consecutive London Marathons for United Response and this year took part in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 cycle. His efforts have raised over £5,000 to help ensure that individuals with learning disabilities, mental or physical support needs have the opportunity to live their lives to the full.

Having been to the service a couple of times over summer, Winston has built a great rapport with many supported individuals and staff members, providing opportunities that are a real privilege. Being one of the top 100 chefs in the country, he brings a great set of technical skills but also takes the time to impart advice about the importance of maintaining a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

Winston is particularly passionate about using food as a sensory stimulus, particularly for people with sensory impairments. He said:

“The great thing about food is you only need one of five senses to get some kind of enjoyment from it. I have found that getting people involved in the making of dishes helps to breakdown pre-conceived ideas about food and helps them enjoy it more. No one likes the smell or touch of raw salmon, for example, but everyone loves salmon fishcakes!”

These two unique opportunities transpired thanks to Kayleigh and Donna who watched Winston run the London Marathon in April. At the post-race reception, they got chatting about their love of cooking which resulted in an offer from Winston to visit their service and give a cooking demonstration of their favourite dish!

Vicky Greenland, support worker at our Teddington service, told us that both visits were a huge success and even helped to engage the people we support with other members of their local community:

“The barbecue was part of a really enjoyable day. Winston is now part of the family! He came along to do the barbecue even though he was injured from the RideLondon cycle. All the people we support were so happy to see him.

“Kayleigh and Donna were delighted that something that they had helped to instigate had come to fruition. Neighbours, friends and family were invited to join us and we even put on a mini disco at the service in the evening. We didn’t stop dancing, the guys absolutely loved it. We’re now known as the ‘party house’!”

Such is the strong bond between Winston and the people we support, he has already arranged to go back to the service around Christmas and conduct a tutorial on how to make a chocolate log.

He has also invited the services to visit Kettner’s. It is sure to impress the people we support and will be another chapter in what is already proving to be a flourishing friendship.

Mark Schueler, fundraising officer.