Regina Mitchell, 60, Las Vegas, was on a fast track in her chosen career in the culinary world. A classically trained chef, she traveled worldwide working alongside such notable chefs as Emeril Lagasse and Julia Child. Later providing team-building culinary experiences for Fortune 500 companies as a corporate executive chef and eventually landing a top position in Las Vegas with MGM Properties providing personalized-services to elite hotel guests.
Mitchell’s life changed instantly when she began to experience excruciating eye pain, she was later diagnosed with bilateral panuveitis, a condition which affects the lens, retina, and optic nerve. “It was like looking through multiple screen doors. I had to quickly come to the conclusion that I was blind,” Mitchell explains in the latest episode of the podcast Hadley Presents: A Conversation with the Experts. The acclaimed podcast from Hadley features experts on a range of topics unique to vision loss.
Following her diagnosis, Mitchell put her career aspirations on hold while contending with the challenges of vision loss and earning a Bachelor of Arts from UNLV in Psychology with an emphasis on Neuroscience. Mitchell only recently returned to cooking. “I just wanted to go for it,” she explained in the new Hadley podcast. “I wanted to test my skills and how I would navigate my kitchen without my vision.” She found that her knife and measurement skills needed work, but relied on sounds and smells to help guide her return to cooking.
Today, Mitchell conducts her own a Zoom cooking class, teaching others with vision loss what she learned in her own kitchen in what she describes as “descriptive cooking”. Mitchell also serves as a valued advisor to Hadley, participating in Hadley’s What’s Cooking? discussion group series and helping with the creation of a new Braille series.
As distance learning experts for more than 100 years, Illinois-based Hadley serves those with vision loss by providing practical help at no cost. Hadley recently reenvisioned its online educational platform, Hadley.edu to include a wide selection of free how-to workshops on topics, live support from experts, and timely discussion groups, including the podcast Hadley Presents. Listen to the complete interview with Chef Regina Mitchell, and all past episodes of Hadley’s podcast here, or any place you listen to podcasts.
The mission of Hadley is to create personalized learning opportunities that empower those with vision loss to thrive — at home, at work and in their communities. A 501(c)(3) non-profit, Hadley relies on contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations to fund its programs