A career planning and employment resource for people who are blind or partially sighted

Meet Conner

Co-op student and future chef extraordinaire, Conner, talks about her passion for cooking and her dreams of becoming a professional chef.


Narrator: Welcome to Success Stories brought to you by Project Aspiro. Produced by the World Blind Union and CNIB, and funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. 

In this video you’ll meet Conner Moreira, student at the W. Ross Macdonald School for the Blind, and her supervisor Dennis Duce, owner of the Sherwood Restaurant in Brantford, Ontario where Conner is doing her co-op placement as a food prep assistant.

The video includes a montage of clips that show Conner cutting vegetables, preparing bacon, storing cooking trays, and cleaning her workspace. 

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Conner: My name’s Conner and I’m currently in my last year of high school and my co-op placement is at the Sherwood Restaurant.

My vision loss in Duane's Syndrome, where the muscles didn’t develop so that kind of constricts my sight, but I can see up close, but not that far away - and I was born with my Duane's Syndrome.

When I was little I would cook for like my friends and family and they would all say that it was great cooking and that I should look into this as a career.

Dennis: Hi I'm Dennis Douce, I'm the owner/operator of the Sherwood Restaurant and Catering in Brantford, and I'm also the chief cook and bottle washer sometimes and I get in the kitchen and I help supervise the co-op students here at the restaurant.

Conner's an excellent student. She comes in, she does her job, she's excellent at traying the bacon - better than our regular staff - and that type of thing. She's getting used to working with a knife. She likes to use a small one; we're trying to get her graduated to using a French knife and that's our next goal with her. But she's really doing a fabulous job for us.

Conner: A food prep assistant just really preps the food to make sure it’s ready to go whenever the chef needs it.

An average day is that I tray bacon, I cut carrots, I cut potatoes. I just make sure everything for breakfast is ready.

I was worried that I wouldn’t know where anything was, I would be totally lost in the kitchen, but they helped me find everything. If I had any questions I would ask them and they would help me.

It’s helping me improve my confidence, and learning how to work with others.

Dennis: We were worried well you know [they’re] going to have a knife in their hands and there's water on the floor sometimes, and slips and falls and health and safety became a real good issue for us. But we were able to work out some of those things; our student last year was totally blind, and we were able to teach her how to walk into the restaurant and we got all of the obstacles out of her way and it really worked well.

Conner: My plans for after school for my education is to go to a college that has a culinary program.

In five years I see myself working at a restaurant as one of the lower chefs and in 10 or 20 years I would like to see myself as one of the head chefs on a cruise ship.

It’s shown me that being a chef is pretty hard but I think I could do it.​