Choco­late best medicine

Central Leader - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

De­li­cious cakes and big smiles were the or­der of the day when MasterChef New Zealand con­tes­tant Vanessa Bax­ter dropped into Ron­ald McDon­ald House.

Mrs Bax­ter spent an af­ter­noon mak­ing zuc­chini frit­ters and one-cup mi­crowaved choco­late cakes with fam­i­lies stay­ing at the house while their chil­dren are un­der­go­ing treat­ment at Star­ship chil­dren’s hos­pi­tal.

‘‘I cook with my kids all the time. Be­ing in the kitchen is an im­por­tant part of their lives.

‘‘I thought it would be great to come in and give some­thing back. It’s heart warm­ing for me and fun for them,’’ she says.

Mrs Bax­ter’s 11-year-old son Christopher was on hand to play the role of as­sis­tant.

The 46-year-old Epsom res­i­dent is one of six fi­nal­ists still fight­ing for the MasterChef ti­tle.

In Sun­day night’s show she had the task of mak­ing a roasted tur­duck­en­qua, which in­volves stuff­ing a quail in­side a chicken, in­side a duck, in­side a turkey.

Star­ship pa­tient Char­lotte Tu­uta-Kyle’s favourite cre­ation at the class was the choco­late cake in a cup.

A month ago doc­tors found a tu­mour in the 7-year-old’s brain which they have been able to re­move.

Char­lotte’s fam­ily live on the Chatham Is­lands and they’ve been stay­ing at Ron­ald McDon­ald House while she is treated.

The cook­ing class was Char­lotte’s first trip out of her hos­pi­tal ward.

Vicki Lee Har­ris dropped in on the les­son while her 4-year-old was in theatre be­ing tested for a lung dis­ease.

‘‘It’s good for the pa­tients’ fam­i­lies to be able to have a break away from the hos­pi­tal en­vi­ron­ment and all of the med­i­cal terms,’’ she says.

Pho­tos: JA­SON OXENHAM

Taste test: Talia Edwards, right, takes a bite of one of the tasty treats MasterChef New Zealand con­tes­tant Vanessa Bax­ter showed fam­i­lies how to make at Ron­ald McDon­ald House.

Team ef­fort: Vanessa Bax­ter helps Ebony Reweti and Kyan Edwards with their bak­ing.

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