Anthony O’Shaughnessy is a well known UK chef who premiered on MasterChef UK. Thanks to the popular television program, O’Shaughnessy was able to kickstart his fame. He is an avid traveler and is always on the hunt for interesting new dishes.
But, with the onset of COVID-19, O’Shaughnessy’s job as a cookery demonstrator at Leeds Cookery School was temporarily paused. Though he couldn’t work— he could still bake and cook and has been actively using this time to do so.
Every evening for the past few weeks, O’Shaughnessy calls his elderly neighbor to ask if he’d like a plate of his meal as well. The neighbor’s name is Peter, he is in his 70s, and has preexisting health conditions that concern his neighbors about groceries and access to food.
Peter’s grocery service has been canceled twice and many of the items have been unavailable, so O’Shaughnessy has been cooking for him in lieu of Peter cooking his own dinners. O’Shaughnessy cooks vegetables, roast beef, and apple crisp on a regular evening. He has also been experimenting with different flavors and dishes as seen on his Instagram page.
The neighbors’ ritual includes a socially distanced chat about what O’Shaughnessy has made every day. O’Shaughnessy’s kind deed became public news when he tweeted about it, and the tweet went viral.
Because of O’Shaughnessy’s kindness as seen on Twitter, many other Twitter users have become inspired by him. Others have tweeted back with their own stories of cooking for elderly or immunocompromised neighbors every evening or week.
Not only is O’Shaughnessy motivated by his neighbor’s gratitude and need for the meals, but also for his own inspiration. He claims that this daily exchange has pushed him to make his daily meals as delicious as possible, to experiment, and to use this time to improve as a chef.
Out of all the meals O’Shaughnessy has put together over the past month, Peter’s favorite has been the Moroccan lamb meatball tagine— it was by way of this dish that O’Shaughnessy found out that Peter traveled the world when he served in the navy and loves spicy foods.
O’Shaughnessy says that once the stay-at-home orders are lifted, he will continue to cook for his neighbor, as they’ve forged a special friendship over the past few weeks. These anxiety-driven times have certainly been tough, but they’ve also shown us some incredible truths about our neighbors and ourselves.