Learning > Inspiration

Violet Oon completes bucket list with recipes for stroke survivors

Having survived a stroke, chef Violet Oon decides to give back by helping others rethink their diet

Gracia Yap on 14 Dec 2020

The New Paper


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Shortly after her 70th birthday last year, local celebrity chef and restaurateur Violet Oon felt compelled to give back to society after being awarded the Lifetime Achievement for Outstanding Contribution to Tourism by the Singapore Tourism Board.


She came up with a bucket list of seven things to do for the community - "one project to celebrate each decade of my life".


Her final item to strike off?


Contributing recipes for four healthy, delicious and aesthetically pleasing dishes specially crafted to suit the dietary and medical needs of stroke survivors, in collaboration with the Singapore National Stroke Association (SNSA) as part of its annual National Stroke Awareness campaign from October to December.


Ms Oon, 71, told The New Paper: "My strength is food, and I thought it was quite nice and fitting to end with (SNSA) because I had a stroke in June 2014 and am forever grateful to the medical personnel and the team at the Singapore General Hospital - including the cleaners - who were dedicated to making sure us patients could get as well as we possibly could before leaving their care."


She added: "I have enjoyed relatively good health and I am grateful to still enjoy life with family and friends, and contribute in ways that I can."


After suffering from the stroke, she recalled having to relearn how to walk and adjust to culinary challenges - even eating purely pureed food at one point due to swallowing difficulties - but it did not dampen her spirits.


"I didn't feel depressed. Whatever happened, happened," said Ms Oon, who used the experience to research and experiment with food as she prepared her own meals after being discharged from the hospital.


"For me, the most important thing is that food must be colourful. When I was recovering, every meal of mine looked beautiful, because you eat with your eyes before you eat with your mouth.


"I chose dishes where the flavour comes from the natural ingredient itself. When you are given a restrictive diet, what you miss most is taste."


Available on SNSA's website, the cooking video recipes for Korean Vegetable Pancake, Eggplant Curry, Italian Bean and Tuna Salad as well as Smooth Fish Porridge cater to those who want to eat healthily.




Ms Oon hopes the recipes help people rethink how they eat - that food can have less salt, oil and sugar but still taste good.


It is also her wish that the annual National Stroke Awareness campaign will educate others on how to deal with a stroke, such as by identifying and detecting stroke symptoms through the FAST acronym (Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 995).


She also noted that studies have shown 80 per cent of stroke cases can be prevented through lifestyle modification and by managing its risk factors - and healthy eating is one of them.


Lastly, she encourages fellow stroke survivors to "try and be very positive" and to "do your exercises and whatever the physiotherapists tell you to do".


Source: The New Paper © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.



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