Topics: Survivor Stories & Inspiration, Accessibility & Adaptations

Wheelchair Chefs That Will Inspire You

One of the greatest things about the rise of smartphones is all of the fantastic adaptive videos that people are making as wheelchair users; the cooking videos that are out there are some of the best! It's impossible for an occupational therapist to teach you everything you need to know, which is why it's always good to consult YouTube.

With cooking, the tips that wheelchair users are sharing are crazy good. There are hundreds of people with paralysis showing how they do it, but there’s only a handful of cooks that really stand out. None may be certified chefs, but their cooking skills are on fire!

Aussie Quad: Easy Cheese & Vegemite Toasties

Paralyzed in a BMX accident, the Aussie Quad is a 20-something C5 quadriplegic who’s made videos sharing basic cooking tips for those with limited hand function. One of his best tips is using an air fryer to make grilled cheese sandwiches. And an even better tip, he recommends having your personal care assistant (PCA) pre-prep several sandwiches that you freeze ahead of time. He also shares kitchen mobility tips, and he even shows how he makes Jag Bombs.

Tae McKenzie: Paraplegic Bakes & Decorates

Paralyzed by a stroke, Tae Mackenzie is a young woman with paraplegia who loves to bake, and she's really good at it. She has amazing cake decorating skills and she shows how she can do it all from her wheelchair. She also shows how she can puts pans in the oven independently. Her wheelchair baking video is one of the best adaptive baking videos online.

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The Disabled Chef: Paraplegic Cooks Exotic Recipes

A man with MS from the UK, James Coke, aka The Disabled Chef, cooks a variety of exotic recipes from his wheelchair. His belief system is teaching wheelchair users how to cook so they can reclaim their kitchen and their pocketbook. A paraplegic in-function, he shows how he cooks a variety of Spanish dishes sitting down. We specially love his Chorizo and White Beans video. “It's all about flavor,” he says.

Meg Johnson: Dozens of Quad Cooking Tips

A C7 quadriplegic and mother from Utah, Meg Johnson is married with two little girls and she makes hundreds of home videos for her channel, and her adaptive cooking videos are where it's at. She shows how she does everything in the kitchen from how she cracks eggs to how she bakes an apple pie with fingers that only move minimally. Her channel has been around the longest, which means she has dozens of wheelchair cooking videos to check out.

Everything From the Wheelchair Cooking Show with Kenneth Poole

Another paraplegic cook we love is Kenneth Poole, who also has a large library of wheelchair cooking videos. He shares dozens of awesome recipes, and many of them are for people on a budget. His recipes are mouth-watering too: beef tips and gravy, barbecue spaghetti, corn soup, shrimp salad and buttermilk corn bread, macaroni casserole and fried cucumbers. Always sitting down, Kenneth is bursting with easy recipes for wheelchair users.

Cooking is one of the best things about being alive. For many it’s therapy, and just because you use a wheelchair doesn’t mean it is dangerous. With the right accessible features in your kitchen, if you have some arm movement, you too should be able to cook at least some. We hope the videos above inspired you to explore your cooking talents!

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Tiffiny Carlson

Written by Tiffiny Carlson

Since 1998, Tiffiny Carlson has been a prolific commentator on all things SCI in a number of prominent magazines, blogs and websites. Hailing from Minnesota, she was the SCI Columnist for New Mobility Magazine for 13 years and she currently works as the Executive Director of SPINALpedia, one of the leading websites for people with SCI to share videos and stories. She has been a C5-6 quadriplegic since a diving accident 24 years ago. Tiffiny has also been a fierce advocate for SCI research. In 2016, the Morton Paralysis Fund honored her for her work. While all SCI topics interest her, dating, love and the business of relationships have always been where her passion lies the most.

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