Big-hearted TV Chef provides tasty treats for key workers

Big-hearted TV Masterchef Matei Baran has brought a smile to the faces of the North East’s courageous key workers who are protecting us during the coronavirus crisis.

Matei – who lives in Wallsend – has baked and prepared special afternoon teas and tasty treats and delivered them to staff at hospitals, ambulance stations and care homes after inviting families, friends and colleagues to make nominations for their front line heroes.

“I wish I could do more, because they all deserve our appreciation” said Chef Matei, who was a quarter-finalist in MasterChef: The Professionals. “If anybody needs a treat, then it’s these fantastically brave people.  For me they all deserve a medal.”Matei Baran - December 2019

At the request of his seven-year-old son Armin, Matei also delivered 20 tasty teas to members of the respiratory team at the RVI Children’s Hospital in Newcastle. “Armin has cystic fibrosis and people who suffer from the disease are at greater risk if they are infected with coronavirus,” said his dad.

“He probably wouldn’t be here without the care he’s received at the RVI and the people there do a fantastic job and are in regular contact to make sure Armin and all their patients are OK.”

Matei has been busy making hundreds of scones, brownies, cheesecakes and sandwiches in the kitchen at the café he opened in February at the famous Stepney Banks Riding Stables in Newcastle.

Deliveries have only been possible within a 10-mile radius and Matei has observed the strict social distancing rules when he has dropped off his delicious gifts.

“Everybody’s been so grateful and it’s fantastic to be able to put a smile on their faces – at least for a few minutes,” he said.

Sunderland Royal Infirmary

Sunderland Royal Infirmary

St Mary’s Nursing Home in Chester-le-Street

St Mary’s Nursing Home in Chester-le-Street

Chef Matei has provided his teas for staff who were nominated at the Sunderland Royal Hospital’s Maternity Unit and Hawkeys Lane Ambulance Station in North Shields. He delivered boxes of goodies to staff and residents at St Mary’s Nursing Home in Chester-le-Street and has surprised a bus driver, workers at the Department of Work and Pensions and Booker Wholesale in Newcastle, and a woman in North Shields who has been supporting her elderly neighbours.

“These are terrible times, but it’s brought out the best in people who are going above and beyond what’s normally expected of them at work,” said Matei.  “I think we all should all do what we can to show our appreciation – whether that’s making some noise on a Thursday night or in my case using my skills in the kitchen to create a well-deserved tasty treat.”