Chefs launch free cookbook for long Covid and cancer patients with loss of taste and smell

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A team of chefs have created the world’s first cookbook designed specifically for sufferers of long COVID.

Ryan Riley, the founder of the award-winning Life Kitchen programme and co-author alongside Kimberly Duke, said that the project has been “many months in the making” and has been a collaboration between both chefs and scientists.

The result is a first-of-its-kind cookbook that promises to change the game for long COVID sufferers.

Taste and Flavour COVID cookbook Taste and Flavour is a new cookbook for long COVID sufferers (Credit: Ryan Riley/Twitter)

Free cookbook for long COVID sufferers

Dubbed Taste & Flavour, the new book is inspired by Life Kitchen’s extensive experience working with cancer patients who have also lost their sense of taste.

In an interview with CTV News, co-author Ryan Riley explained: “This cookbook came out of two things. Life Kitchen was started because my mother died from cancer, and she’d lost her sense of taste. I’ve worked with cancer patients… to try and help them regain that taste.

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“And then when COVID-19 hit we thought, ‘what can we do to help?’ So this has been a book many months in the making.”

However, despite his experience working with cancer patients, Riley admits that this new book presented a totally unique challenge. As he explained during his CTV News interview:

“It’s a really, really complex situation. With cancer, we normally just look at how to build flavour. But with COVID-19 we’ve got things like anosmia and parosmia, which is a distorted sense of smell.

“So things like garlic, onions and eggs for many people with long COVID are really repulsive.”

Through careful collaboration with Professor Barry Smith of the University of London, AbScent and AlteredEating, Riley has successfully managed to “rejig what food is”. The result is a collection of recipes unlike anything you’ll find on the market.

Included in the book are dishes such as pineapple tacos and fruit salad dressed in a yuzu dressing. As Riley makes clear, the emphasis is on vibrant, fresh-tasting recipes that are mindful of everyone from the anosmic to the parosmic.

The fact that the entire collection is available for free only serves to make things more exciting.

Ryan Riley Cookbook COVID Ryan Riley is the founder of Life Kitchen and co-author of the new book (Credit: Life Kitchen)

Reaction to the new book

Responses to the Taste & Flavour project have been overwhelmingly positive. Hundreds of people have taken to Twitter to express their enthusiasm, with comments such as, “you restore my faith in people. What a wonderful thing to do. It looks beautiful.”

The new release has even got the seal of approval from none other than Nigella Lawson. In a tweet posted on Saturday, Lawson said: “Ryan Riley and Kim Duke have done such great work with @LifeKitchen developing recipes for those whose taste buds have been battered by chemo, so they are absolutely the right people for this, and it’s so wonderful they’ve done it.”

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The new book is available for free via the dedicated Taste & Flavour website and will be sent out on the March 29. There are also 5000 A5 copies available for pre-order through the Life Kitchen website.

With COVID-19 still extremely prevalent, it’s hoped that this release will be the start of a genuine cooking revolution.