A Geordie-inspired cookbook which helps support blind and partially-sighted Chinese orphans has finished runner-up in a prestigious international culinary competition.
Secrets from Dot’s Kitchen was created by Dot Jenkinson, from Blyth, who now lives in Shanghai, and features popular favourites such as roast beef dinner, corned beef hash and sausage rolls.
The book was selected by French food experts as the Asian entry for the World’s Best Charity Cookbook category at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Beijing, where it finished runner-up to an entry from Africa.
Dot emigrated to Shanghai with husband David who works for electric vehicle control manufacturer Sevcon, and the Gateshead-based company paid for the book’s publication costs.
To date 700 books have been sold, raising £7,000 for the Shining Star orphanage for blind and partially-sighed children in Shanghai.
Dot, a chef by trade who previously worked for Newcastle University, said: “We are over the moon to finish in such a high position.
“The MC said before the winner was announced that there was very little difference between the first three places and that we would all have the honour of being able to call themselves the label world’s best charity cookbook for 2014.”
David, a quality assurance engineer for Sevcon in China, added: “We were contacted by Edouard Cointreau who is president and founder of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.
“He said he had come across the book on the internet while travelling in Europe, and after we sent him a copy it was selected by their judges as the Asian entry in the competition.
“It’s a great honour to be recognised by the judges in this way.”
Edouard Cointreau, Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, president and founder, said: “Dot’s Kitchen is practical, useful and a quality production.
“It is a happy and friendly book.
“The objective of the awards is to build a cultural bridge thanks to food culture.
“The awards are directly inspired by the Olympic spirit, with 189 countries participating this year, with competitions in 102 categories. Everyone big or small has a chance.”
Dot says one of the biggest frustrations in China is the lack of any decent cooking facilities.
“Most kitchens only have a two-ring hob and a microwave,” she said.
“We purchased a small bench top oven and my challenge was to then try and produce popular UK, comfort food.
“One of the best things that foreigners like about it, apart from sampling the tastes of the UK, is its dual language.
“A lot of people have what the Chinese call an ‘ayi’ – a housekeeper.
“The ayi will do most of the domestic chores including the cooking but normally do not have great understanding of English,” she said.
Matt Boyle, president and chief executive of Gateshead-based Sevcon, who paid the publication costs of the book, said: “We were delighted to help David and Dot in their efforts and pleased to see it raise so much money for charity and win such a prestigious award.”
Dot and David left their Blyth home for China five years ago, and their daughter still lives in Blyth.