Sharon Gardner – Cookery Teacher

As well as being a much-loved community cookery teacher Sharon is a naturopath, nutritionist and pilates instructor. She loves teaching classes for MIH as she gets to share her passion for all things plant-based with the wider community and meet incredible people. Her favourite part is, of course, “Eating all the goodies at the end of each lesson.”

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Case Study

Ruby is 46 and lives with her daughter, mum, and brother in West London. Before attending the Healthy Eating Course by Shop and Donate, Ruby was eating more meat in her diet and she was not used to cooking for the family. Thankfully, for Ruby and her family, Covid-19 has not had too much of a negative effect on their lifestyle, apart from delays in hospital appointments, long waiting times, and travel restrictions they have been able to cope quite well. 

Due to travel restrictions and government guidelines in place, Ruby and her family were unable to go out as much, and so they had to spend more time indoors. Without being able to go too far, the only places she can take her family out are the local places nearby and so they spend most of their time indoors. For Ruby and her family, this actually gave them a chance to participate in new activities and online classes from home such as cooking. “It’s kept us busy being indoors with different classes”, she says.

When Ruby joined the first online ‘Healthy Eating Course’ from Shop and Donate it took some time for her to get used to everything. “Cooking was new to me and I didn’t cook for my family before”, she recalls. The course was facilitated by a fully qualified plant-based nutritionist and one of the Shop and Donate Volunteers. Every week Ruby would receive a food parcel from Shop and Donate with all the ingredients required for each lesson due to her financial circumstances. “Danny was very lenient, I am really thankful to him”, she said of the CEO of Shop and Donate. 

Ruby really enjoyed the course as she was able to meet and interact with the other participants as well as with the nutritionist teacher. “You can meet new people and make friends, get inspired, see how everyone else cooks, and share ideas. We love Sharon, she’s really friendly and approachable and great at what she does. She’s happy to answer questions and wait for us when we are running behind”, she praised the teacher. “We used to have friendly conversations not only about cooking, she’s someone we can relate to”, she adds.

The course also helped her and her family change their lifestyle habits. “This cooking course motivated me to try new recipes and got me into eating plant-based products. We have started eating healthy and starting feeling good. We started by looking at the things we eat and consume and started exercising. I am more aware of what I eat now”, Ruby said. 

Sharon, the plant-based nutritionist added: “Ruby was a pleasure to work with, and always showed up prepared and on time. More often than not, her mother would accompany her in the kitchen and they would take it in turn to cook the dishes. Ruby shared that she did not do much cooking prior to the course, however, she always managed to produce great dishes which she was happy to share with the class at the end of each session. I believe that this course has added a lot of benefits to Ruby and her family, as they have now adapted to adding more plant-based dishes into their regular eating habits. Ruby and her family are a true success story.”