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Winter warmer

1st August 2019

Oliver is the head chef at a new Spanish restaurant in Modbury and has loved cooking ever since he was a child, taking after his dad who was also a chef. After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2016, he has had his ups and downs dealing with heat, fatigue and cognitive issues in the kitchen, but has never let that get in the way of doing what he loves.

Oliver first started seeing symptoms of MS back in 2008 while living in the UK. “I had a recurring tingling, burning sensation in my back and I just felt really ill. It got to the point where I had to leave work.” It wasn’t until eight years later when Oliver started experiencing headaches and loss of vision in one eye that he was diagnosed with MS.

During the summer months are when he feels his symptoms flare up the most, with him often experiencing fatigue and cognitive issues when working in a hot kitchen. “I was working in a restaurant that was very busy and had no air conditioner in the kitchen. When I had 30 orders at a time I would find it hard to concentrate, but I always managed to push through.”

With the arrival of his daughter Isabelle just last year he felt it was time for a change. Not only to make things more comfortable for his MS symptoms at work, but also to create a balance between family and work.

Oliver loves seeing people enjoy the food he cooks, and has kindly prepared a recipe to help us get through this cold winter season. “This soup is a nice winter warmer, hearty soup that my dad would make for me all the time as a child. What’s so good about it is you can easily add your own ingredients, and change it up.”

“I like this soup with dumplings and I always use the carcass and bones from my left over roast chicken to make the chicken stock.”

Oliver’s Chicken and Barley Soup


  • 200g Roast Chicken, flaked into pieces
  • 1.5L Chicken Stock (see below for home-made stock)
  • 2 medium Onions, diced
  • 200g Carrots, quartered and diced
  • 150g Celery, halved and diced
  • 100g Button Mushrooms, quartered
  • 200g Baby Potatoes, quartered
  • 1 Leek, washed and sliced (TIP: don’t use the green top)
  • 100g Pearl Barley
  • 20ml Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper


  • Sauté onions, carrots and celery in olive oil until onions start to soften.
  • Add mushrooms, potatoes and leek, and leave to cook for a few minutes.
  • Add chicken stock and pearl barley, and season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and simmer for 20-25 minutes until barley and vegetables are tender.
  • Add cooked chicken and heat through. Serve.
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Winter warmer