Ken returns to the kitchen
Show video transcript

I was at Phillip Island bike races,

watching the bike races,
and they were cancelled.

So we were heading home

with all the massive amounts
of other bikers,

and my brother
and a mate got past,

and my brother heard the crash
and he saw the accident behind him.

So he stopped and turned his bike
around and come and...

I'm very lucky
he's a division one nurse,

and he gave me CPR for half an hour
until the ambulance got there...

..and kept me alive and, yeah.

I was working as a chef,

'cause I'm a qualified chef
of 20-something years,

and it stopped me going back
to that career

because I lost the dexterity,

'cause of the
left-side disability -

I had spasticity of the left side,

which is the lack of
coordination and control.

And it stopped my cheffing career,

and I was lost
because I'd done it since I was 16.

The TAC paid for me to go to the
Gordon and study on the computers,

but it turns out
with my memory loss,

my post-accident
short-term memory loss,

I'm not employable unless they make
the four walls whiteboard.

I got into doing
cert-four disability

and I did my placement
with the men's program.

And I was looking for work
and they needed a cook,

so that's how it worked out

and I got involved,
and it's been really good.

It feels good
to be back in the kitchen

because I don't have to struggle,

because I've got
long-term memory pre-accident,

so it was just developing
the coordination and control

just to hold things
so I wouldn't cut my fingers off.

Chef techniques is you learn
to grip the food product

with the tips of your fingers
and bend your fingers back

so you don't cut it off.

And what I would do is
put my hand on the food

and slap the knife against it

and one thing slowly at a time,

so that way I knew
I wouldn't cut it off.

And just then the speed got
quicker, and confidence, yeah.

So slow and steady wins the race.

I watch all these cooking shows
that are all the rage now,

but I just get ideas
that I can then implement

in regard to combinations of things

or different ways
of serving things.

You don't serve anything
you wouldn't eat yourself.

And then, anyway,

I do admit there is an ongoing joke
with one of the clients

who eats all of his food
but he says...every week he says,

"The best bit about the meal
was the bread."

'Cause we buy the bread in.

Varied people deal
with different traumas differently.

Post-accident I didn't think
I would get back to cooking,

but it's actually helped me develop
my confidence and coordination

and getting back into it.

Work is good for your sense
of worth and motivation,

so you get out and you feel like
you're giving back to the community

and utilising your skills.

Ken was a chef before a motorbike crash turned his life upside down in 2001.

Ken suffered horrific injuries, including muscle spasticity.  'It stopped my chefing career and I was lost because I'd done it since I was sixteen.'

Find out how Ken built up the coordination and confidence to return to the kitchen.

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