Brisbane celebrity foodies bring new cooking program to cancer patients | Leukaemia Foundation

Brisbane celebrity foodies bring new cooking program to cancer patients

Thursday, 02 April 2015


The Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland has partnered with 2014 Masterchef finalist Ben Macdonald and Brisbane celebrity chef Ben O’Donoghue to bring a free cooking and nutrition program to Brisbane blood cancer patients.

Cooking for Chemo aims to give patients and their carers new ideas for creating easy, tasty, and nutritious meals that suit their changing tastes and lifestyles during chemotherapy treatment.

Session one of the program kicks off on Saturday April 11 at the Golden Pig Cooking School in Newstead, where O’Donoghue and Macdonald will cook several dishes for audience members to taste in a live demo.

‘Chemotherapy can really impact on your diet, appetite, tastebuds, and even your tolerance for certain foods,’ explains Macdonald, who remembers how he felt when going through treatment for leukaemia more than a decade ago.

Common side effects of chemotherapy include mouth ulcers and nausea, which can make eating certain foods difficult for patients.

In addition, patients often find it difficult to keep their weight stable: some treatments can cause huge increases in appetite, while others can do the complete opposite.

Dietitian Peter Rhodes and Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland support worker Amanda Ferguson will also be on hand at the event to discuss nutrition and treatment implications with the audience.

‘Patients are often told to just eat whatever they can during treatment, so the program aims to get people excited about cooking and eating again, while taking into account the new lifestyle that treatment has imposed,’ says Ferguson.

Dishes on the menu so far include Macdonald’s potato and leek soup (a dish that is easily modified based on a patient’s calorie requirements) and O’Donoghue’s banana pancakes, a popular dish regularly served up at his BillyKart Kitchen restaurant in Annerley.

About the Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland
The Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland is the only Queensland charity dedicated to improving the lives of patients with all types of blood cancers including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. The Foundation wants more people to survive a blood cancer diagnosis and go on to live a full life. We are committed to investing in research projects which focus on improving patient outcomes and providing free support programs which aim to reduce the emotional impact of a blood cancer diagnosis. The Foundation does not receive direct government funding and relies on the generosity of the community to support our vision to cure blood cancers and support patients when they need it most.

Media contact:
Ally Tutkaluk, Support Services Communications Officer, Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland
P: 07 3055 8233