Young people with vision impairment learn cooking skills with ‘Hurricane Chef’

July 19, 2019
Nate teaching a student with vision loss to cook

Six young people from across North Coast NSW, who have impaired vision, will learn basic cooking skills, meal preparation and kitchen safety tips from ‘Hurricane Chef’ Nate Quinell, who is blind and deaf, in Coffs Harbour.

The program, run by Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, aims to inspire participants to become passionate about cooking and to break down some perceived barriers on cooking with a vision impairment.

“We want to provide our young clients with the chance to develop daily living skills that will encourage and enhance their independence,” Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Team Manager, Jeremy Hill said.

“By having an accomplished chef like Nate, who also has vision impairment, lead the workshop, we hope to change an often common mindset that people with disability have to rely on others for daily living tasks,” Mr Hill added.

The workshop will also involve learning about food safety and hygiene, and attendees will prepare a stir-fry and a pudding for lunch.

“While Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is most well-known as the leading provider of Guide Dogs, we also provide many other services that enable people who have impaired vision to lead safe, independent lives. This workshop is a great example of the support and services we provide at no cost to our clients,” Mr Hill said.

To find out more about Guide Dogs NSW/ACT’s services in the region, please call the Coffs Harbour office on (02) 02 6691 8500. To find out how you can help or to make a donation please visit or call 9412 9300.


Nate Quinell was originally a NSW North Coast Guide Dogs NSW/ACT client and is a qualified chef who lost his vision and received cane training then a Guide Dog. Nate also has two cochlear implants for hearing, is an insulin dependent diabetic and recently moved to the Gold Coast. Nate was a recipient of the 2017 AMP Tomorrow Makers Grant and used the funding to enable his life-long dream of producing a cookbook.

“The goal was to create a cookbook for people of all levels of ability especially those with challenges,” Nate said. The title of the cookbook is Nate’s nickname, ‘The Hurricane Chef’, which refers to Rubin ‘Hurricane’ carter, the middleweight boxer who was wrongly convicted of murder. Nate saw the movie at a young age when he still had his eyesight and was inspired by the story and conviction of ‘never giving up’. The book includes Nate’s life story and Nate will be donating a percentage of each sale to Guide Dogs Australia.

In the book, Nate said: “I cannot express enough my gratitude towards the entire Guide Dogs organisation. I feel like I will forever be indebted to the incredible volunteers and trainers.”

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