SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBS4) – It may seem like an odd mix, bringing a cooking show out “into the wild” of Zoo Miami, but for someone like 12 year old Daniella Ghuraim, it’s a sensory experience that makes perfect, well, sense.
“I went to feed the birds, and then we’re going to go cook without looking,” explains Daniella, adding, “I want to learn how to cook at home, maybe by myself.”
The show takes students from local non-profits like Miami Lighthouse for the Blind on a culinary experience in the great outdoors.
“We have all kinds of experiences for visually challenged kids, you can feed a giraffe and feel that tongue on your hand, feel that rhino, feel that incredible skin, you can sit on top of a camel and walk on top of a camel – it’s not just the sights, but it’s the smells, it’s the sounds,” explained Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill.
The Miami Lighthouse for the Blind feels it’s a valuable experience for the students they serve.
“You have to touch, smell, taste everything to get the behind the scenes experience,” said Carol Brady-Simmons, Chief Program Officer for the Miami Lighthouse.
After touring the zoo, and a few up close and personal experiences with some of the animals, it was time to wash up and hit the kitchen.
“Cooking without looking was actually the first show that was created for the blind and visually impaired, and the hosts are blind and visually impaired, like I have macular degeneration, our other host is totally blind,” explained show host, Annette Watkins.
A pan full of pizzas later, the students had a new dish to add to their recipe box.
“Someone might think, how could somebody totally blind cook – and it’s amazing to see, no pun intended!” joked Watkins.
It was all about tackling an ordinary process like cooking in an extraordinary way.
“That’s what the blind and visually impaired need to do, they do the same things that the sighted world get to do, but they have to do it a different way,” said Brady-Simmons.
The Cooking Without Looking Show airs on the Cooking Channel in November. For more information on the Miami Lighthouse, visit www.miamilighthouse.org. To learn more about Zoo Miami’s accommodations for those with special needs or request a special needs experience, visit http://www.miamimetrozoo.com/ and to connect with the World Vision Foundation, call 305-200-9104.