Former head chef Ian, 55, started his apprenticeship at 20 and spent 30 years in the kitchen until two years ago, when he suddenly lost his eyesight due to a detached retina. Ian was declared legally blind and unable to drive or work in a kitchen again. “The ophthalmologist, first thing he said was you’ve gotta give up work and I said well you know, what am I living for?” he says.
Now with a disability and at an age where the odds of entering into a new profession are against him, Ian is determined to make his life - and the lives of others - change for the better. He has come up with The Blind Chef, a cafe that would create employment opportunities for those with a disability.
Where is he now?
After his achievement of making it through to the final six on The Employables, Ian has taken what he learned on the show and opened The Blind Chef bistro at the Boolaroo Bowling Club in Lake Macquarie. Within his business venture he is also realising his dream of providing employment and training for people with vision impairment.
The Blind Chef bistro has been flat out since opening its doors as word spread quickly in the community about the high quality, reasonably priced food being served up by Ian and his team.
Ian is currently on the lookout for dedicated training facilities in the Lake Macquarie/Newcastle region so he can continue to skill up visually impaired staff.