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Chef’s free cookbook contains recipes for loss of taste, smell from COVID-19

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    Toronto, Ontario (CTV Network) — Countless numbers of those with COVID-19 have had to contend with the loss of taste and smell, changing the way that they perceive food. But a British chef is coming out with a free cookbook containing recipes tailormade for COVID-altered taste buds.

British chef Ryan Riley is the co-author of “Taste & Flavour” and a co-founder of Life Kitchen, a non-profit cooking school initially targeted towards those who lost their sense of taste through cancer treatment.

“My mother died from cancer and she’d lost her sense of taste. And I worked with cancer patients for the last few years to try and help them regain that taste. And then when COVID-19 hit, we thought, ‘What can we do to help?’. So, this has been a book many, many months in the making,” Riley told CTV News Channel on Sunday from County Durham, England.

Last month, a preliminary study in Quebec found that those who test positive for COVID-19 could lose their smell and taste for up to five months.

The way COVID-19 affects the sense of taste is very different from cancer treatments. Riley said he worked with COVID-19 researchers in the U.K. to come up with these recipes.

“The normal recipes that we’d be looking to integrate into people’s lives, we can’t do,” said Riley, “Things like garlic and onions and eggs, for many people with long COVID are really repulsive to them so we’ve had to look at how we can really rejig what food is to create delicious recipe.”

The cookbook puts an emphasis on “fresh-tasting” dishes, like a fruit salad dressed with yuzu, honey and vanilla, or tacos with taco shells made from pineapple.

“You want to be trying to incorporate vinegars and acidity and brightness and lemon and all of those things to try and push flavour,” Riley said.

The free cookbook will be available for download on March 29. You can sign up to get an email notification for then the book comes out on

“Food is a uniter and when you’ve lost the sense of taste… it can really take away your quality of life. While we’re all facing this really big thing in the world. Let’s all try and get back together, try to enjoy food and have the best time that you can eating together,” said Riley.

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