Free cookery classes and cookery school for people living with cancer focused on taste & flavour.

About Life Kitchen

Life Kitchen is a not-for-profit cookery school for people with cancer, focused on taste and flavour. It is run by co-founders Ryan Riley, author, cook and food stylist, and Kimberley Duke, recipe developer, trained chef and food stylist.

During chemotherapy, radiation and other cancer treatment, a lot of patients lose or experience changes to their sense of taste. This is a really difficult side effect that can make mealtimes difficult and isolating. We’re here to change that.

Both Ryan and Kim were inspired to launch Life Kitchen after losing parents to cancer. Throughout Ryan’s mum Krista’s two-year battle with cancer, Ryan saw how chemotherapy was affecting her ability to taste and experience food.

After her death, he wanted to honour his mother’s memory and use his cooking skills to help cancer patients find flavour and pleasure in food again. And so, Life Kitchen was born.

Life Kitchen is backed by science.  We are advised by Professor Barry Smith, the founder of the Centre for Study of the Senses. Professor Smith guides the Life Kitchen team on our recipes and ingredients so that people living with an altered sense of taste get enjoyment out of food.

Life Kitchen: Quick, easy, mouth-watering recipes to revive the joy of eating.

This book is a life changer: this is not gush, but a statement of fact. The recipes in these pages have the power to bring pleasure back to the table for those whose tastebuds have taken a bashing in the course of cancer treatment, and it teaches new tricks and important lessons with gentleness and enthusiasm. It is also a fascinating invitation to lively flavour combinations for all of us who cherish the joy to be had at mealtimesNigella Lawson


A Life Kitchen Christmas is a collection of simple and delicious recipes created for people with cancer to enjoy this Christmas.

We know that Christmas is a time when we come together around the table to share food and celebrate. However, we also know that cancer and cancer treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy have an impact on taste and the senses. We’ve taught over 700 people at our cookery school – and they’ve taught us so much about the effect of cancer on taste. Many people experience a metallic taste in their mouths, a burnt feeling in their throat, or no taste at all. Life Kitchen supporter Nigella Lawson refers to this as your taste buds ‘taking a bashing.’

Using our culinary knowledge, our experience with teaching people with cancer and with a little help from scientists we know how to use ingredients and techniques to make recipes that revive your sense of taste and help you enjoy food again.

Every recipe in this book features the Life Kitchen approach. We’ve made delectable but simple Christmas recipes that stimulate the palate and the senses. We do this by thinking about strong, layered flavours, a focus on smell and texture, and using ingredients rich in umami. Our Christmas Turkey has a rich miso and tamarind glaze, the pigs in blankets a flavour-packed mustard and pomegranate finish, and our sprouts a sweet and sour tang. Even our red cabbage has the Life Kitchen twist, with mouthwatering pickled pineapple to help stimulate your taste buds.

Everyone should be able to taste good food at Christmas, and A Life Kitchen Christmas is our little gift to you all.

Life Kitchen Classes

Due to COVID-19 we are unable to hold in-person classes at this moment in time. We are working on a new programme to deliver Life Kitchen classes online and also in a socially-distanced way outside with our Life Kitchen Pineapple Truck, so please do sign up to our newsletter and you’ll be the first to know when we start.

Our classes focus on helping people understand more about taste and flavour and focus on enjoying cooking again, allowing that often needed respite from treatment.

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Covid-19 - Life Kitchen Cookery

At Life Kitchen the welfare of our guests and staff is of the utmost importance. After taking trusted advice from Public Health England and other government bodies with regard to COVID-19, it is with regret that we will be re-scheduling all upcoming classes until a later date.

Please do get in touch if you have any questions by emailing, and please do sign up to our mailing list to get further updates.

Recipes to revive the joy of taste & flavour

Shaun Riley | Operations Director

Shaun is operations director for Life Kitchen and has a commercial background in social housing, media and health care. Shaun heads up our northern operations at Mowbray park lodge.

Contact Shaun about Mowbray Park lodge, northern classes and events at

Kimberley Duke | Ceo - Culinary director

Co-founder of Life Kitchen, Kimberley is a trained chef, who is deeply passionate about food, flavour and all things taste related. Kimberley also heads up research and development.

Contact her for all things partnership, collaboration and food at