Fancy a pint of cottage pie Caring hospice chef helps poorly patients eat by turning classic meals into savoury smoothies
11:27 GMT, 19 October 2012
A pint of cottage pie, a glass of fish, chips and mushy peas and a roast chicken dinner cocktail are all the menu created by a chef in York.
But he isn't serving up his creations at a Heston Blumenthal-style restaurant but at a hospice for people with life-threatening illnesses.
Darren Walker, 37, serves his innovative smoothie meals in Martini glasses, tumblers, pint pots and tankards in an attempt to make them more appetising than the usual drab puries given to residents of St Leonard's Hospice who can't eat solid food.
Bon appetit: Patients at St Leonrad's Hospice in York have been enjoying Darren Walker's savoury smoothies
Meal in a glass: From left, a pint of cottage pie, a traditional chicken dinner cocktail, fish, chips and mushy peas 'Martini' and a glass of roasted veg and butter bean casserole
His cottage pie is presented in the form of a pint of Guinness – the meat filling forming the base and the top is specially thinned mashed potato, to look like the famous frothy head of the drink.
The father-of-four also caters for vegetarians with a roast vegetable and butter bean casserole.
Darren said: 'I just felt that I had to do something. Residents have enough to deal with without having to endure the bland puries that are often served up. What makes these smoothies different is the effort that we put in. All the individual ingredients are cooked before being blended separately and layered on top of each other in a special glass.
Master chef: Darren cooks all the ingredients before they are blended separately and layered on top of each other in a special glass
'It gives a range of different textures and tastes. I've asked members of staff to try my fish, chips and mushy peas smoothie and they instantly knew what it was even at the smell of it.'
The smoothies have received rave reviews after being sampled by staff and patients at the hospice.
Darren said: 'The patients love our smoothies. Before we introduced them some commented that puried food looked like baby meals and they didn't fancy them.
'Now they really tuck in. One patient hardly ate anything, but by taking so well to our hot smoothies he's now back on solid food.'
St Leonard's: The hospice in York cares for people with life threatening illnesses
Darren sources his ingredients locally and even brings in produce from his own back garden as well as from the hospice's vegetable and herb garden.
But he said not all his bizarre recipes have been a success.
He said: 'It's always a work in progress. Not everything works. I've tried to make a curry and even had a go at toad in the hole but it just wouldn't blend. I'm always interested in new suggestions though. I'd give anything a go.'
FROM THE PLATE TO THE GLASS: DARREN'S MEALS TRANSFORMED
Pub classic: This cottage pie is served like a pint of Guinness with the head made from potatoes
Not your traditional Sunday roast: A chicken dinner becomes a colourful cocktail
Chip off the old block: Fish, chips and mushy peas as you've never had them before
Vegetarian option: Roasted veg and butter bean casserole in a wine glass