Penny Melville Brown OBE has accomplished many things in her life, from gaining a degree at university to joining the Navy and reaching the rank of Commander, in between that she was based in Naples Italy with NATO, as well as working in London for the Ministry of Defence and later in her naval career as one of the first woman barristers, but the most challenging role Penny had to deal with was losing her sight.
In 1999 Penny was medically discharged from the navy, but this did not deter her from doing something different. Penny worked with many government departments to help disabled people get back into work, she achieved this through her company called Disability Dynamics. She also runs Baking Blind and Bloggs.
Penny has been cooking ever since she was a teenager at the age of 15. Penny was in charge of a little cafe restaurant in Rottendean in Sussex and she was running the kitchen, recently winning the Holman Prize which is part of the Light House Foundation in San Francisco, America, for the blind.
The Light House Foundation attracted candidates from all over the world and there was over 200 candidates from 23 countries. Each candidate had to do a 90 second video telling them what their ambitions were and Penny’s was about cooking around the world, because everyone needs to eat, after all, cooking is a great way of bringing people together.
Penny was selected to be a semi finalist which meant she has to submit a paper proposal and a budget. From there, Penny was selected as a finalist and carried out interviews online as she was in the UK, and in Penny’s own words she was amazingly selected as one of three winners.
Penny will be in San Francisco for a week with the Light House team where they will be helping her make this project a success. Then she will be remaining in San Francisco for a further week cooking with amateur chefs as well as professionals. After this she will be going down to Costa Rica to develop new dishes and then back to Virginia Beach where there will be a few people volunteering to cook with Penny.
She will be back in the UK for a little rest and catch up with her chores before embarking onto her next adventure to China where she will be working with the Rotary Club who work with the blind. Then globe trotting Penny will travel to Kiama, Australia and is hoping to cook with a bush tucker author before embarking to Melbourne do some cooking with a blind cook, she will also spend a day in Perth.
Following Australia, Penny will be off to Malawi, Africa, where there will be the head chef from the hotel cooking with her, as well as cooking with a group of albinos before heading back to the UK.
Once back home, Penny has a whole host of activities to do in Hampshire which involves blind cooking. Penny is inviting people to come to Fareham and cook with her be it visually impaired, blind or normal sighted, she wants to cook with you!
Penny will be travelling with her videographer so all her cooking will be on her YouTube Channel – she will also be blogging. In the coming year Penny hopes to publish her recipes for everyone to use.
Penny is willing to try anything different be it Mexican or Filipino so if you would like to cook with her contact us and we will put you in touch with her for the new year. You can follow Penny on YouTube whilst she is traveling around the world.
Penny says just because you have sight loss or any other disability it doesn’t stop you having ambition or a zest for life. Penny is not just targeting her project for the blind, it is more for the general group of people showing that just because you are blind, it does not mean you cannot do anything in life. If Penny can do it anyone one can.
We wish Penny all the best for her adventure and we are looking forward to following her across the globe! Penny is a very inspirational woman who is determined not to let her sight loss get in the way of her life.