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Adaptive Cooking Province of Ontario
Who We Are  
Brenda Ryan

Brenda Ryan

Brenda has had an interest in food and nutrition from an early age. Although her working path traveled in a different direction, she never forgot her first love of food. After struggling with a lifelong illness, Brenda’s disability led her to retire early and she became an active community volunteer.

Over the last 20 years she has become more aware of the poor eating habits and lack of knowledge many of her friends and colleagues had with food. In her typical unrelenting drive she approached potential funders to create the first “Adaptive Cooking Class for persons with disabilities” in London Ontario.

Brenda used her marketing and sales experience to actively promote interest and support from the business and professional communities to contribute to the program. Fortunately, they didn’t let her down! Business entrepreneurs, skilled professionals and caring community members have stepped up in this wonderfully exciting new opportunity to share their skills, time, and caring for people dealing with disabilities.

Brenda feels “no one should be excluded from participating in the able-bodied world because we all have a challenge to overcome of some type.”  
No one has left our program feeling inadequate in the kitchen and our dream is to share the same success with any one interested in participating.

Nick Gucanin

He was born in Croatia and raised in Germany. In 1983, after receiving his credentials as an Executive Chef in Germany, he started a whirlwind ride of experiences and opportunities in his career providing nutrition and glorious meals to everyone from common fold to royalty.

Nick traveled as the Executive Chef of the Queen Elizabeth II ocean liner as she sailed extensively serving many famous celebrities, politicians and several national leaders. Nick’s meals have even been enjoyed by kings and queens over the years.

In 1991 he immigrated to Alberta, Canada as the Executive Chef of the Fairmont Hotel in Banff, then later the Fairmont Hotel in Calgary. Then in 2000, he moved east to London, Ontario to accept the position of Executive Chef at the Lamplighter Inn Best Western where today he still produces the high quality dishes he is known for. Since arriving in London, he also taught Culinary Arts for the students hoping to acquire their Culinary qualifications at Fanshawe College.

Kim McCarvell

Joyce Bennett

Joyce Bennett is a Trustee with the Thames Valley District School board. She was first elected to the Board in November 1988. Elected as Chair of the Thames Valley District School Board in 2002, and re-elected as Chair in 2003 and again in 2012 and 2013. Joyce serves on several Board Committees, including the Special Education Advisory Committee, the Supervised Alternative Learning for Excused Pupils Committee, the Chairs' Committee, the Policy Working Committee, Mental Health and Wellness, Equity and Inclusive Education, and the Thames Valley Parent Involvement Committee.

Within the community, Joyce has had extensive involvement with numerous groups and committees over the years, including Craigwood Youth Services, London Parent Safety Patrol, Traffic Safety Education on the City of London Safety and Crime Prevention Committee, the Adaptive Cooking Program, and the Community Safety Councils of Ontario.

Joyce is the recipient of the Dr. Harry Paiken Award of Merit from the Ontario Public School Board's Association. She is also a life member of the Thames Valley Council of Home and School Associations.

In June 2010 Joyce was selected as the recipient of the Steve Cordes Community Star Award recognizing her "exceptional long-term commitment to youth in London and area."

David Wilson

David Wilson is a retired Professional Chef who has over 50 years of diverse culinary experience working in many areas. He has enjoyed working at such places as London Hunt Club, Radisson Hotels, Holiday Inn, Ramada International, and Victoria Inn then the University of Western Ontario Residence Food Services.

In addition to his culinary functions, David has taught courses such as Food Preparation and Kitchen Management, Labour and Food Costing, as well as Purchasing and Inventory Control at Brescia University College. In Stratford Ontario, David also created and set up their Stratford Chef School.

After retiring from the culinary field, David added to his professional resume by donating his time and expertise to several local support groups like Fibromyalgia London, Healthy Living with Chronic Pain Conditions and Living A Healthy Life with Diabetes. The Adaptive Cooking Program welcomed him where he has dedicated the same passion in teaching persons with disabilities how to overcome their physical challenge in the kitchen through personalized preparation techniques utilizing affordable adaptive devices.

With the support of the following businesses/organizations Lamplighter Inn Club House Foods

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