Cancer survivor who lost his tastebuds inspires Sheffield children with healthy eating business

A cancer survivor who lost his tastebuds and risked becoming paralysed down one side of his face when he had a life-saving operation - hopes his new Attercliffe site can spread the word of healthy eating.

Tuesday, 18th February 2020, 7:21 am
Daniel Stevens owner of Food Fusion has opened a new shop in Attercliffe. Picture Scott Merrylees
Daniel Stevens owner of Food Fusion has opened a new shop in Attercliffe. Picture Scott Merrylees

Food Fusion owner, Daniel Stevens wants to pass on his love of cooking balanced meals for top athletes, onto children in the city.

Daniel was diagnosed with the disease in 1999 and spent years retraining his lost tastebuds before launching his nutritonally balanced meal service business.

The 40-year-old opened the second Food Fusion branch eight months ago, following the success of the original shop on Trippett Lane.

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Daniel Stevens owner of Food Fusion has opened a new shop in Attercliffe.Daniel with his partner Lisa Siddall. Picture Scott Merrylees

He said: “I want to teach kids and underpriviledge kids that you can cook on a budget so that they can learn nutritionally balanced food and give them exactly what they need to get through the day.

“There are so many kids hanging around on the streets who don’t have anything to do, but I want them to know you come in here and cook and then take it home and feed your family.

“I want to show them they they’ve got a chance to feed athletes that they might look up to and make a difference.”

The father of two, prides himself on only using fresh, quality ingredients which has led to him cooking for members of the England Rugby team, alongside Sheffield Steelers and Sheffield United players.

He added: “Things have changed massively for us with the second shop in Attercliffe and we now have customers from all over the country.

“Gordon Ramsay now follows me on social media, it’s massive to me to have that acknowledgement and recognition of what we’re trying to do.”

Daniel came up with the idea to provide a meal plan service to help people trying to lose weight, keep track of macronutrients and consume a certain amount of protein, over five years ago.

Now, the business owner works with a team of nutritionists from around the country to formulate healthy, balanced meals that are enjoyable and fit alongside different meal plans and training regimes.

But he says it was his throat cancer diagnosis that gave him the ‘wake up call’ he needed to realise that life is too short to not pursue your dreams.

The operation to remove Daniel’s cancerous tumour could have left him paralysed half way down his face.

“I was going into the operation thinking of the worst case scenario and I remember I really didn’t want to have it done because of the complications.

“But one day my little boy woke me up and sat on my bed and said ‘I don’t want you to die’ and I told him I wouldn’t but that was the wake up call that I needed to go through with it.

“Everyday you wake up and you’re thankful of where you are now and it’s a massive wake up call when you’re told your life can end, you just never know what’s going to come around the corner.”

It wasn’t until Daniel moved to Sheffield in 2008, after his recovery from chemotherapy and radiotherapy, that he set about making his Food Fusion ambitions a reality.

“You do everything you do to make the business a success but if it wasn’t for my kids and my family I wouldn’t be where I am now.”