Adaptive Kitchen

Building the First Adaptive Kitchen for Youth Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision in the State

The Indiana Blind Children’s Foundation (IBCF) is currently in the process of raising funds for a state-of-the-art adaptive kitchen to be housed at IPS School 94 where Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ISBVI) will temporarily move while construction on the school’s new co-located campus with Indiana School for the Deaf is completed. The build of this kitchen will also coincide with the birth of a brand-new culinary arts program at ISBVI, giving students the opportunity to gain confidence in the kitchen while growing all the more independent.

At this time, IBCF is actively working to raise $130,000 to ensure that the adaptive kitchen is completed. Make a donation today to help support this impactful endeavor.

 

The image shows a high school-aged woman in a chef’s hat preparing food in a kitchen.

The Gap

IBCF worked with local consultants from April 2022 through August 2023 to create a five-year strategic plan. Over 100 stakeholders were surveyed, virtually interviewed, or participated in focus groups to help inform this plan and the next five years of the foundation’s work. Three groups of students ranging from fifth grade to high school seniors participated in focus groups with the consultants. All three groups voiced the need and desire to learn how to cook and prepare snacks without much prompting. Each student focus group conveyed that knowing how to cook and prepare snacks was crucial to their overall independence and happiness in the future.

 ISBVI students pose for a photo with Chef Jody May in the lobby of Ivy Tech’s Culinary and Conference Center. Two of the students are wearing a white chef’s hat. Chef May is wearing one as well.

The Solution

Since these focus groups took place in the 2022 winter semester, the Foundation has been busy creating strategies and partnerships to make an adaptive culinary arts program a reality. Cunningham Restaurant Group, ranked #8 in the country for exceptional restaurant groups, is currently providing visiting chefs once a month so students can meet a wide variety of culinary professionals known for their craft. Students are traveling to a variety of Cunningham Restaurants tasting foods and meeting people who help bring these high-quality restaurants to life. Students are learning the variety of jobs available in the restaurant industry through these visits. Ivy Tech Culinary Arts hospitality program chair, Jeff Bricker, along with recent 2023 graduate and the first student who is blind to graduate from the Culinary Arts program, Jody May, is working alongside ISBVI and teachers to help design a curriculum that will build upon high school students’ cooking skills while infusing 21st century job skills. So students can practice what they learn at home, IBCF will also provide each student with adaptive cooking aides helping students and parents practice adaptations and recipes at home. 

Chef Collin Hilton is seen working one-on-one with a group of students as they prepare chocolate chip cookie dough. Chef Carl Chambers is also seen standing in the background as well.

The Foundation is now focused on building a kitchen classroom for students that will meet the needs of our students and feature adaptive cooking stations (such as wheelchair accessible, induction cooktops and ovens with braille and tactile buttons) as well as adaptive cooking tools throughout. Reitano Design Group, an Indianapolis-based kitchen design team, created the initial designs of the space with IBCF and ISBVI guidance. Cripe Architects is now completing the scope of work necessary for the Foundation and School to make this kitchen accessible to students with vision impairments and a variety of physical and cognitive disabilities. 

The Foundation brought in "MasterChef" season 3 winner, Christine Ha, as the keynote speaker at the 2023 Through the Looking Glass Gala, the Foundation’s largest fundraising event. Ha is the first and only contestant who is blind to win "MasterChef". Since winning she has gone on to open three very successful restaurants in Houston. Ha kicked off the first of many visiting chef experiences through a virtual cooking class with six ISBVI high school students. The impact has already been remarkable. Students are excited to have received a taste of this future program, and the foundation is excited to provide donors with an opportunity to support this endeavor. 

 An overhead image shows a kitchen floorplan, which features four separate islands. Each island consists of a stovetop, a countertop, and a bench tucked underneath the countertop. Against the left wall of the kitchen, there is a sink and dishwasher. Against the right wall of the kitchen, there is a fridge/freezer, a sink, and a dishwasher. Against the kitchen’s back wall, there are also three ovens with countertops in between them.

Thank you to the following Adaptive Kitchen and Culinary Arts Program Supporters

 

                               

 

Sorry, this website uses features that your browser doesn’t support. Upgrade to a newer version of Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Edge and you’ll be all set.