7 March 2018
Resident reignites passion for baking after moving into Kew House
“I always used to enjoy watching my mother and my sister working in the kitchen and tasting the treats that they made. I was a nosy child, and it was my nosiness that first got me interested in baking as I wanted to know how they created all these delicious things.”
This is how John Sprakes, 91, remembers his first interaction with baking, something that would later become a passion of his.
In his married life, John gives credit to his late wife Sybil, who he admits did the majority of the baking, however, after his retirement John’s love for baking reignited and he started cooking again, remembering fondly his memories in the kitchen as a child.
A ‘turning point’ for John
In January 2016, John and his wife Sybil moved into Kew House, our care home in Wimbledon. Initially they spent all of their time together, however, a few months later Sybil sadly passed away which became a turning point in John’s life. John soon realised he had a decision to make. “I realised I could choose how I wanted to spend my time, and I chose to throw myself at every opportunity that came my way and really make the most of each day.”
John quickly became involved with the activities team at Kew House and informed the lifestyles team leader, Georgina how he took over the cooking after Sybil became ill. “Georgina first suggested that I come to the weekly cooking classes that were held, which I did and it wasn’t long after that when she suggested that I run the weekly baking classes. “We haven’t looked back since and I think we make a great team together.”
A Christmas wish come true
Last April, John’s Christmas wish was granted by us. He was given the opportunity to have a one-to-one baking lesson with Great British Bake-Off finalist, Andrew Smyth, where he picked up a few tips on how to make the perfect Swedish apple cake.
“I had a wonderful time, Andrew was a great teacher and I learnt a number of things like how to make homemade custard.
“I’ve been enthusiastic about baking ever since I came to the home and the care team have been really good at encouraging me to practice.”
Watch a video below of John baking with Great British Bake-Off finalist, Andrew Smyth!
Throughout his time running the baking classes, John has created many mouth-watering dishes and says: “It’s an honour when I bake something and people tell me that it’s good. “I don’t necessarily have a favourite thing to bake, it’s more the sense of building something from scratch. “My motivation is making something that tasted good. “I love food myself and this is what I aim to achieve each time I bake. “My favourite recipes that I have baked here at Kew House are my sausage rolls and apple pies. They always go down a treat with everyone!”
John’s weekly baking classes are held in one of our interactive kitchens, and no matter what he bakes, he always gives the first slice to Kew House’ general manager, Yetty. “She is a marvellous woman who works hard to ensure the best for all of us here and I like to repay her for her kindness.”
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