Food therapy for the soul

This story first appeared in the Information Point newsletter Our World in 2013 when Michael and Teena Crane told The Information Point about their son Scott and In Chef’s Hands, the organisation that he helped start.


The belief, food has healing powers is no secret; take chicken soup to cure a cold or an apple a day keeps the doctor away as examples. That belief is the foundation of In Chef’s Hands, a non-profit organization connecting renowned and respected chefs to individuals with special needs.

It all started with our son Scott Crane, ‘Mr Determinator’. Diagnosed with dominant centronuclear myopathy, Scott found his condition limited what he could do with food, like cooking, accessing certain restaurants and not always being able to eat out due to deteriorating strength.

However, when Scott was introduced to Chef Rodelio Aglibot (‘The Food Buddha’) for a behind-the-scenes look at making sushi, Asian cooking and preparing dinner for his family, he forgot all about his troubles, his illness, and his limitations. Rodelio and Scott knew they had discovered something special and in January 2012, In Chef’s Hands – Food Therapy for the Soul was born in Chicago.

Today the charity which Scott helped establish provides for individuals with special needs who have a passion for food and cooking, a culinary educational experience with renowned professional chefs. The program works to create an experience filled with food and fun, providing a respite from the distress of everyday life by using food as therapy for the soul.

The organization is designed to identify the personal interests of each individual to create a stimulating culinary session with a chef who shares that same passion. Whether it’s preparing a dish behind the scenes in a restaurant kitchen, selecting locally sourced produce at a favorite market, or simply swapping recipes and cooking stories over a meal, each encounter is meant to be as rich in experience as it is in flavor. The unforgettable epicurean adventures help individuals and their families find a positive outlet to channel their passions and emotions, while enjoying food that heals the soul.

Scott passed away on June 11, 2011 aged 23, the day notification was received from the Muscular Dystrophy Association that he had won the Robert Ross National Personal Achievement Award for 2012. However, Scott’s legacy, to help others and bring people together though good food lives on.

In Chef’s Hands continues to inspire and educate both chefs and participants and in January 2014, the New York City chapter will become operational and provide the same program that is in existence in Chicago.

The program can be established anywhere where there is a desire to do so and we are actively seeking special needs participants and looking to establish strategic partnerships with organizations and groups that work with the special needs community to provide a steady stream of participants for our program.

Further information

Learn more about Scott:

Food glorious food

This story first appeared in the Information Point newsletter Our World in 2010. 

Last November Scott Crane weighed only 70 pounds due to complications caused by centronuclear myopathy but what bothered him most was that he had lost his appetite.

Scott, a patient at Midwest Palliative and Hospice CareCenter in Glenview, IL USA had already ruled out music therapy and a visit from the rabbi but when asked by a hospice social worker how she might help, Scott suggested food therapy.

Scott who has loved cooking from being a child says ‘I’ve been cooking forever with my dad. I love creating new things’. Scott’s mother says ‘He loves, loves, loves food’. In school ‘other kids were ordering grilled cheese and peanut butter and jelly, and he would want lobster’.

So, it came to pass that a hospice worker named Eileen Considine-Boggins who was known to have a culinary degree, was called upon to help and Scott subsequently celebrated his 23rd birthday earlier this year doing what he loves most – cooking.

Eileen and Scott create created a four course gourmet meal for his family. A platter of assorted olives, gourmet cheeses and grilled bread; grilled sea scallops and a bibb salad served in a basket made of baked Parmesan cheese; and filet mignon with Madeira sauce, sea bass, and grilled asparagus with lemon and toasted pine nuts. Apple pie and chocolate cake were made for dessert.

The sessions says Scott’s mother ‘have given him something to look forward to’. Scott and Eileen now trade recipes and cookbooks, planning weekly meals which they cook every Thursday and Scott is planning a cooking therapy blog to record the food cooked at the sessions.

Learn more about Scott: