SIGNATURE REPORTS

Salt Lake City man can cook what he can’t see – and it looks delicious

Jun 18, 2018, 6:30 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2018, 1:36 am

SANDY, Utah — A few weeks ago Jim Reed baked an apple tart.

That doesn’t sound like news until you realize Reed can’t see the apples, can’t see the flour or any other ingredients. He is blind and he is a student at Salt Lake Community College’s culinary school.

He baked the tart – his first and picture-perfect, by the way – as a class assignment.

Reed was born with sight, but on his way to a career in recreation management, he was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, which eventually robbed him of virtually all of his vision.

His future, he thought, was “bleak.”

“I didn’t see any end route,” Reed said.

His attitude changed when he enrolled in a training school for the blind and his cane travel instructor sent him to the bank.

“I knocked it out perfect,” he says. “I knocked it out as fast and as easily as if I could see.  That was the point when I realized so this maybe isn’t so bad.”

Now he works as a home management instructor for the Utah Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, teaching students how to cook, clean and do a variety of other home chores.

Jim Reed teaches a student with impaired vision how to make mac and cheese by feel, smell and taste.

At night, he goes to culinary school.

“It’s something I’ve always been interested in,” he said. “Almost every job I’ve had going back to high school has revolved around food.”

Even after he lost his vision, Reed worked as a kitchen prep cook at a high-end restaurant in Louisiana.

He says he cooks mostly by feel.

“I do some things by touch, I do some things by smell, some by taste,” he said. “Sometimes it’s just instinct.”

“I mean it helps that I’ve got really heat-tolerant hands, just genetically I can, I can just touch just about anything hot,” said Reed.

“Watch how the amazing blind man takes something out of the oven,” he jests as he removes a pie crust from a hot industrial oven.  “You shoulda been here the other week when I was playing with a blowtorch (to make a desert).”

When Reed needs a pair of eyes, Rick Tuttle, an assistant with the college’s Disability Resource Center, has his. Reed says since he cooks in the school’s kitchen and can’t consistently keep ingredients and tools where he can find them again, he needs Tuttle’s help.

“I admire his tenacity. I admire that he doesn’t let anything get in his way,” Tuttle said.

“We have to adjust the verbiage slightly, have him understand all the visual cues,” said assistant professor Cynthia Alberts.

Reed is taking Alberts’ introductory baking class.

Jim Reed is a student at Salt Lake Community College’s culinary school.

“I used terms like north, south, left, right,” she said. “And then I give him things to feel when I’m doing my demos. I hand him the tart shell so he can follow along.”

Reed is trying to earn two certifications, culinary and baking, but says he may only be able to complete one track because the school may not offer classes when he can take them.

Reed says he doesn’t foresee a career in a kitchen as a daily cook, but he may be able to use his culinary skills in other ways.

He says he used to subscribe to a concept called the “hierarchy of sight.”

“That the more vision somebody has the better off they are in all capacities of life, everything from going through school to raising a kid to even hygiene,” he said. “I didn’t know anything about blindness and so I just thought that, you know, if I’ve got some vision I’ll be OK and then if I go blind and I am not OK.”

Now, Reed says, he sees thing more clearly.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Signature Reports

...
John Hollenhorst, KSL TV

BYU professor discovers ‘dead zone’ in Antarctica

In the history of science, there have been big discoveries and little discoveries, fantastic findings and obscure observations. But here's a very special case: A professor at Brigham Young University is gaining attention for literally discovering "nothing."
1 year ago
Victoria Karpos works on her computer in her company's warehouse space. (Ray Boone/KSL TV)...
Ray Boone, KSL TV

Statue Sculptors In Salt Lake City Achieve International Recognition

Like all civilizations, every business starts out small. The one sculpted by Victoria Karpos and her husband in Salt Lake City has spread far beyond the Aegean Sea, thanks to a little help from the internet.
2 years ago
The Antelope Point launch ramp is closed due to dropping water levels at Lake Powell. (National Par...
John Hollenhorst, KSL TV

Love, Hope, Worry & Fear As Lake Powell Water Levels Drop

Normally at this time of year, Lake Powell's water level would have risen substantially due to spring runoff, but not this year. It continued to drop through the month of May. 
2 years ago
Richard Ledbetter, 88, began writing poetry after his wife, Elicia, succumbed to cancer in 1987. (K...
Peter Rosen, KSL TV

Elderly Man Shares His Big Heart By Writing Inspiring Love Poems

Love inspires, no matter who you are or how old you are. At his job as a security guard last year, Saxon Porter made a discovery — a new poet with a lot to say about love. The writer was 88-year-old Richard Ledbetter, the guard who worked the overnight shift.
2 years ago
(KSL TV)...
Shelby Hintze, KSL TV

KSL Special Report: COVID-19 Vaccine

In this COVID-19 Vaccine special report, KSL TV breaks down what is known about each vaccine and what the process for rolling out the vaccine will look like.
2 years ago
...
Ashley Moser, Keri Wilcox & Aley Davis, KSL TV

The Quiet Crisis: Utah Law Enforcement Share Mental Health Struggles With KSL

In 2018, more police died by suicide in the United States than died in the line of duty. And the number of law enforcement suicides went up dramatically in 2019. KSL heard from officers statewide about their mental health struggles in an exclusive survey.
2 years ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Salt Lake City man can cook what he can’t see – and it looks delicious