Sally Wise loves to cook and has shared that love through cookbooks and cooking classes for years.
But after being named Tasmania’s Senior Australian of the Year she can see even more ways to be of service.
“I’ve always loved to cook; it’s what I am at my very core,” Sally said.
Being Tasmania’s top senior has opened up new doors for Sally and she plans to take full advantage of them.
After she was announced in the role in November, she started planning meetings with the people and organisations she knew would help her with the plans she had in mind.
“I’ve been thinking more about the types of groups that have come to my attention. These additional people have added an extra dimension to what I do,” she said.
After running cooking classes for soon-to-be released prison inmates, Sally turned her attention to other groups “who go unnoticed within the community”.
“These women (the prisoners) have been out of touch with society and have to start preparing meals for themselves or families again, and have to budget.
“The types of products could have changed, so I made up recipes for them to use and then put them into a recipe book and they loved using that.
“They were such enthusiastic participants. It was just a wonderful type of environment for me.”
Another group Sally has been working with recently is carers, a role she understood after looking after her father and her mother-in-law for years.
“Even when people are lovely, that job still has demands. Some might be cooking for the first time, or have left work to care, and they don’t get out as much,” she said.
“They came here for recreational cooking, but it turned out to be so much more.
“It is companionable cookery – it’s as much about having a great time together as the cooking.”
Other groups Sally has considered helping are children leaving home to continue their education – which happens younger for Tasmania’s regional students – and older people who have a change in circumstances due to their health or relationship.
“It is easy to grab takeaway because it’s quick and easy, but they could benefit from cooking classes.”
There are many more groups within Tasmanian – and further afield – that Sally thinks could benefit from classes and recipes.
“I want to spread it further beyond Tasmania. It can be pushed out anywhere.
“Food is like a chameleon – it can change its face for whatever is needed.”
Ms Wise will attend the national Australian of the Year Awards event in Canberra on January 25 to find out if she is named the national Senior Australian of the Year.
“I feel very privileged to have come through the Tasmanian awards process. It’s just cooking for cooking’s sake – it’s so much more.”