SPRINGFIELD — A blind man isn’t letting his condition affect what he loves to do, and doesn’t want it it to stop anyone else either.
One of the cornerstones of summertime fun involves firing up the grill, but many take the ability to do so for granted.
A good meal off the grill has the ability to set off any of the five senses, but Chris Peltz, director of Blind Grillin’, has become a grill master, and he overcame not having one of the most important senses for the job.
“By the time I was 16 I was legally blind,” Peltz explains.
Peltz lead a class Saturday at Pits N’ Grills on East Sunshine today, and around a dozen other visually-impaired people attended.
“It’s just a basic activity that in the summertime especially people are involved in — going out in the backyard and firing up a grill and cooking their favorite meals. For the blind, that can be a very intimidating thing,” says Peltz.
Peltz says he is teaching this class to educate blind people on some different tools and techniques that are available to help them enjoy what many people think of as a simple task.
“We want to give them that confidence and that independence back,” Peltz explains.
After burning himself a few times, he discovered some helpful tools to make grilling safer for his condition. One, is a voice-assisted app called Flame Boss.
“Just with my phone, with the screen reader I can change all of that and it will go to the controller and it will adjust the temperature up and down,” says Peltz.
He also gave some techniques on how to prep, and practice rotating things around the grill with a demo of sorts. His daughter, Sarah, says it’s even useful for people with full vision to be able relate to what a blind person goes through.
“We had english muffins, lemons, and they’d have blindfolds on. So you would have to adapt to what a blind person would have to do on a daily basis. It affects the families the people around them and their friends, so it’s just affects everybody. It’s really big just to see how these people adapt,” Sarah says.
For Chris, his goal is to help people overcome the dangers that could come with enjoying a staple of summer.
“We want to help with what many people think of as a simple task, being able to do it, and do it independently,” says Peltz.
Blind Grillin’ has a Facebook and YouTube page that has instructional videos and audio for the blind and visually impaired. You can also find those at Blind Grillin’s website here.