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Cookbook launch a proud moment for YACRO social enterprise employee Christopher Wheeler

Aimee Acker, operations manager with YACRO Social Enterprises in Yarmouth, and Christopher Wheeler, one of YACRO’s social enterprise employees, during the May 2 launch of his cookbook.
Aimee Acker, operations manager with YACRO Social Enterprises in Yarmouth, and Christopher Wheeler, one of YACRO’s social enterprise employees, during the May 2 launch of his cookbook. - Eric Bourque

What a feeling.

Christopher Wheeler was seated at a table by a window at the Shanty Café in downtown Yarmouth on late Thursday afternoon, getting ready to greet people and sign copies of his new cookbook.

Wheeler is one of the social enterprise employees at YACRO (Yarmouth Association for Community Residential Options) and last fall he began work on a book project. A book launch on May 2 was a public celebration of the finished product.

“I’m so excited that, honestly, I am feeling dizzy with adrenaline,” Wheeler said.

The book’s title is Gourmet Cuisine: Talent Not Required.

Wheeler, who has Asperger syndrome, offered a little background on the title, saying the “gourmet cuisine” part was meant to invite readers to have a look inside and find recipes they would like. The “talent not required” part was meant to put them at ease.

“I didn’t want people to feel intimidated,” Wheeler said. “I wanted to relieve any intimidation that the first line might have caused.”

Before things got too busy at the book launch, Wheeler recalled how the book started taking shape.

“It was sort of a break that I was coming back from and I needed a little something to do,” he said. “My boss, Aimee (Acker), suggested the cookbook.”

He started working on it in November, he said, and finished it in a few months.

“It took a while for the actual product to be made,” he said. “You’ve got to thank our PR specialist (Michael Carbonell) for the beautiful final product.”

Acker, the operations manager at YACRO Social Enterprises, said they considered Wheeler’s interests and felt a cookbook would be a good project for him.

“He likes food, he likes to work on the computer, he likes to write ... he likes to chat with people,” she said. “So all of those things combined.”

Wheeler did the research to get the recipes and then put it all together.

“Our PR/marketing guy, Michael Carbonell, helped him with a photo shoot for the cover and then we sent it to print,” Acker said.

The book, which sells for $13.60, is on sale at the Shanty Café/The Store Next Door at 6B Central St. in Yarmouth and also will be available online.

Acker said they were pleased with the book launch.

“We’re really excited for the turnout,” she said. “We weren’t quite sure how many people would come.”

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