About Deaf Chef Ross

We have a fabulous team with various cooking backgrounds, skills and food knowledge…

Team of Deaf Chef Ross

Ross Onley-Zerkel

Food and Cooking Mentor

Personal Experience

Overcoming a health issue

Ross experienced health issues in his early 30’s and developed a case of psoriasis, a skin condition of red, scaly spots mostly on his lower legs. The spots spread on his hands, arms and head during flare-ups. After years of medical advice and several medications that were unsuccessful, Ross was advised that the ‘disease’ is incurable.

Ross was beginning to lack self-esteem. One day he went to a public event on a humid day where he noticed people eyeballing his legs and making comments, and he felt the depression hit him again. Enough was enough.

Ross researched the causes of skin conditions and discovered the core issue. Next, he researched natural remedies that can assist the issue. He discovered apple cider vinegar in its raw form helped balance the acidity of the body. The spots disappeared in a few months and Ross was delighted to wear shorts again. He was really excited that he could fix and manage the issue himself with medicinal foods based on his research. His skin has improved since, and so has his mental health.

The experience helped Ross understand how people’s feelings can be affected by physical health issues which can have an impact on their mental health.

Ross at the NDIS conference stall
Ross cooking in the commercial kitchen

Getting there…

The Business

After a career change, Ross studied cookery and worked at two cafes. A close colleague suggested that he deliver cooking classes to encourage deaf people to cook and eat healthy foods. Ross created Deaf Chef Ross website and Facebook Page. He completed a business course to develop a business plan.

In 2018, Ross travelled in USA to meet deaf chefs and gained some insights on their career life. Alan Abrams (Atable! in NYC) and David Uzzell (Washington DC) both stated the importance of educating children very early about eating foods with nutrients. Ross discovered his niche! He wanted to coach people and help them to introduce more nutrients in their diets by developing their food knowledge and cooking skills.

David and Ross in USA

Experience and Education

Ross registered with the NDIS so Deaf Chef Ross can deliver programs to people with a NDIS plan.

His wish is to help people to improve and manage their health with foods that are healing and food medicines.

  • Certificate III in Commercial Cookery
  • Certificate IV in Training and Education
  • Certificate IV in Disability Work
  • Working with Children Check
  • Level 2 First Aid
  • A passion for fresh and whole foods because they are grown for us to cook and eat them
  • A strong belief in eating home-cooked meals regularly
  • A semi-vegetarian who enjoys the occasional meat
  • Certificate III in Commercial Cookery
  • Certificate IV in Training and Education
  • Certificate IV in Disability Work
  • Working with Children Check
  • Level 2 First Aid
  • A passion for fresh and whole foods because they are grown for us to cook and eat them
  • A strong belief in eating home-cooked meals regularly
  • A semi-vegetarian who enjoys the occasional meat

Meet the Cooking Mentors

    Daniel

    Daniel Martin

    Cooking Mentor

    Daniel Martin has been a chef for more than 20 years. He has experience with savouries, soups, curries and salads. He has experience with teaching knife and food preparation skills. 

    Daniel looks forward to working with all of the Deaf Chef Ross clients.

    Sonia Younger

    Cooking Mentor

    Sonia Younger is passionate about cooking, and supporting people to develop their own confidence in the kitchen.

    With a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery, Sonia has worked as an Education Support at the well known Tradeblock Cafe for seven years. In this role she guides deaf students and adults to produce the delicious food customers have come to love.

    Sonia
    Sonia cooking

    This, and her role at Deaf Chef Ross, involves the translating of recipes and teaching clients how to multi-task, cook different sized portions, how to use different equipments, how to substitute ingredients, and how to organise their pantry…. Amongst many other skills to achieve independence (and enjoyment) in the kitchen.

    Sonia’s specialties are: home cooked meals, cakes, biscuits, catering, food presentation and decoration, sauces, knife skills, food safety and hygiene, pastries, family meals, soups, burgers, salads, savouries, sandwiches, roasts and desserts.

    Vanessa Adzaip

    Camera Person and Cookbook Coordination 

    Vanessa is a professional teacher but, at present, has reduced her teaching hours in order to pursue and follow her passion for food and photography.

    She was born on a tropical island in Bohol, Philippines where there were a lot of fruits and vegetables to cook. Her favourite event is a festival in her home town which showcases different kinds of Filipino dishes.

    She loves to travel to different countries to experience and taste their authentic food dishes at the same time taking memories through her camera.

    Sarah Maree

    Get in touch with us

    Would you like more information about the programs? Just talk to us!