A new recipe book aimed at helping people who have lost their sense of taste following Covid is set to be distributed to 3,000 residents across Sunderland in a collaboration between the City Council and award-winning chef Ryan Riley.


Here’s everything you need to know about ‘Taste & Flavour’… 


Ryan was inspired to set up his Life Kitchen cookery school in Sunderland’s Mowbray Park in 2018 after nursing his mother Krista who died from terminal cancer. 

Prior to the pandemic, the cookery school offered free cookery lessons to people who had lost their sense of taste due to cancer and other illnesses.

Using ingredients and textures designed to combat the loss of taste and smell some cancer patients experience as a result of their treatment, Ryan published his best selling cookbook Life Kitchen, followed by a Christmas cookbook in December 2020 which was offered free to 7,000 people living with cancer.

Now, with Life Kitchen co-founder Kimberley Duke, he has turned his expertise to helping people who, although they have recovered from Covid-19, are still suffering from the loss of taste and smell following the disease. 

This is well documented and although some sufferers regain their sense of taste and smell, many do not.

Funded with the help of Sunderland City Council, the resulting 54 page full colour hardback book contains 18 specifically designed recipes aimed at addressing Covid taste loss. 

It also includes a foreword by Dr Barry Smith, Life Kitchen expert and advisor to HM government, who is a world leading expert on taste and flavour deprivation.

The book also offers health and wellbeing information in collaboration with Abscent charity https://abscent.org/ and access to online resources in the form of video recipes and tips.

Sunderland City Council will be distributing the book free via partner networks to 3,000 people in communities across city who have lost their sense of taste and smell following Covid. 

It will also be available via a free pdf download from the Life Kitchen website. Home – Life Kitchen


Supporting people in Sunderland and across globe on their road to recovery…

Ryan said:

“I’m proud to have worked with Sunderland City Council on this project, their forward-thinking support has enabled this book to not only support residents of Sunderland but so many people globally.

It’s this innovative type of leadership that is effecting real change.”


Patrick Melia, Chief Executive of Sunderland City Council,  said:

“We know from the work we’ve been doing to support our communities all the way through the pandemic the devastating impact losing your taste and sense of smell can have on some members of our community following Covid.

“Not being able to smell or taste what you’re eating can really have an effect of how quickly people recover from Covid and impact on their mental health too.

“So we’re delighted to have been able to work with Ryan on this project which will see copies of the book, along with packs of the core ingredients needed to make the recipes, distributed via our inspirational voluntary and community sector (VCS) network to 3,000 people across the city who have been struggling with loss of taste and smell following Covid. 

We hope this will help make a real difference on their road to recovery.

“This builds on the work we have been doing with the help of partners in the voluntary and community sector to support some of the most vulnerable people in our communities through the crisis which has included everything from volunteers collecting shopping and prescriptions, and weekly keep in touch calls to virtual coffee mornings and families taking part in virtual fitness sessions from the safety of their own homes.

“We know the last year has been really hard for everyone but this is something that can really help those experiencing these very particular after effects of Covid-19.”


Where can I find ‘Taste & Flavour’?



The book will also be available from:

  • Sunderland Royal Hospitals


  • Macmillan Cancer (Covid affects cancer patients too and can increase loss of taste and flavour)


  • All Sunderland GP surgeries


  • St Benedict’s Hospice


  • Sunderland Voluntary and community sector organisations


  • Local Food banks



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