Ryan Riley is an inspirational young man with a clear vision of what he wants. In the space of 18 months he turned the seed of an idea he put out on twitter into a multi-award winning enterprise.

Through Life Kitchen Ryan and his team deliver free cookery classes for people living with cancer around the UK. With the likes of River Cottage and Jamie Oliver providing venues, the venture has received the support of among others, Gordon Ramsay, Sue Perkins, Stephen Fry and Nigella Lawson.

In 2019 I had the opportunity to meet Ryan. Having heard about his plans to open a cookery school in Mowbray Park, Sunderland – the world’s first for people living with cancer – I was keen to do something to help and asked him if there was any signage he needed. As it turns out, there was one important thing he hadn’t given any thought to and so Picto joined the project team, along side Sunderland City Council, Turner and Townsend, Ryder Architects and Sir Robert McAlpine.

Life Kitchen Launch Party, Mowbray Park, Sunderland, 4th June 2019

Top right: Ryan, Nigella and the Mayor of Sunderland; top right: hand forged sign by Netherton Foundry; bottom left: party in full swing with the lodge in the background; bottom right: inside the cookery school

The Cookery School was opened by Nigella Lawson, who jointly hosted the launch party with Ryan. The wet weather didn’t dampen our spirits and it was a lovely do.

The brass plaque we supplied commemorating Nigella Lawson opening Life Kitchen at the Lodge and a VERY cheesy Sarah ! (also a few fingerprints which needed removing and no sign of the Brasso I bought)

To find out more about the cookery classes, to make a donation or a purchase from the online shop please visit the Life Kitchen website.

First published on Sarah’s Notebook | 8th June 2019