Cooking school for teens with ADHD: ‘Their first taste of sweet success’

Helping kids find their voice

While ADHD is often misunderstood as ‘naughty behaviour’, those with the condition are crying out to be heard.  

Often it boils down to them needing help with time management, knowing how to tackle the task at hand, or limiting distractions to keep focus.

And now they’ve been thrown a lifeline, by rapper Loyle Carner.

Not just through his music, but through cookery!

He has flung open his doors to a summer school where kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are invited to channel their energy and creativity into cooking.

[Credit: Chilli Con Carner]

Having grown up with ADHD himself, Carner – real name Ben Coyle-Larner – knows all too well how neurodiversity is as much of a blessing as it is a curse.

Often struggling to concentrate, Carner would end up in fights and mischief as a child.

Now, he’s rewriting the narrative, and says his London-based school gives teens who are “accustomed to a diet of failure and anxiety, their first taste of sweet success”.

Having joined forces with Mikey Krzyzanowski from social enterprise project the Goma Collective, the pair launched their Chilli Con Carner school five years ago.

[Credit: Positive News]

Today, it is going from strength to strength as they educate young people on how to make everything from dusty folds of fresh pasta to intricate California sushi rolls.

Speaking about their venture, Carner, 26, said it felt like a natural evolution after growing up around food and cooking, and the human connection that they bring.

Carner said: “It was just me and my mum for a lot of my childhood, so being around a table with loads of people, that was somewhere I wanted to be.

“It came from there, a love of community. The more I could keep people at the table talking about food… I’d cook everything, whatever people wanted, I was a people-pleaser.”

[Credit: Chilli Con Carner]

Meanwhile, Krzyzanowski, 24, explained that their students thrive from factual praise, which is typically in stark contrast to what they have been experiencing at school.

Krzyzanowski said: “We tell them they’ve done something great and they can taste for themselves that we really mean it.

“It undoes loads of the pain and negative wiring that some of their schooling and even the people around them have been subjecting them to for a long time.”

Chatting to Positive News, he added: “It’s so difficult to feel self-confidence as a kid… but with cooking, they start out thinking they can’t do it, and by the end of the day, they’re eating it!”

They had us at California sushi rolls.

To sign-up, click here: Chilli Con Carner.

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