Chef brothers spice up the life of care home residents
A passion for producing great food often runs in families with such legends of gastronomy as the Roux brothers springing to mind. Now a less well-known but equally passionate sibling combination from East Anglia is embracing a challenge to bring star rated restaurant service to care homes. Meet the Guenaoui brothers – Ali and Said – who have begun working with chefs across Suffolk-based Kingsley Healthcare Group, inspiring them with new recipe ideas and creative ways of serving dishes.
People remembering the plain food served to their grandparents in care homes of the past might think it is a challenge as tough as Jamie Oliver’s to re-invent school dinners. However, Ali, 55, who has been appointed as hospitality manager at Kingsley Healthcare, said: “We already have some very skilled chefs working in Kingsley homes. My role is to inspire them and take their menus and food presentation to the next level.
“The meal time experience is so important in care homes and achieving excellence in this area is an important stepping stone in progressing towards an outstanding CQC rating.” Ali and his brother, 52, both started their careers as chefs in five star hotels in their Morocco homeland. Ali went on to run successful restaurants in Norwich, Wymondham and Dereham for 23 years and is credited for bringing the taste of Morocco to the region. Said, who worked with his brother in his restaurants for several years, as well as a patisserie they owned in Norwich, has now joined him at Kingsley.
As part of their mission to make meal times more exciting and adventurous they hosted an international experience with Mediterranean and North African flavours at Allonsfield House care home, in Campsea Ashe near Woodbridge. There were fezes for giggling residents, an exotic belly dancer and, of course, lots of delicious food – from Italian seafood pasta and spicy meatballs to exquisite pastries made by Said, an expert in French patisserie. The event took place in Allonsfield’s new sunroom tea room which will be the venue for regular fine dining lunches and high teas that the brothers will be phasing in to all Kingsley homes. Ali, who trained in hospitality management a City College Norwich, said: “I knew it was time to move on from running my own restaurants, to enjoy more family time, and when I met Kingsley CEO Daya Thayan I was impressed by how passionate he is about improving service and food quality in his homes.
“I thought I could bring something to Kingsley Healthcare and I am excited about what we are aiming to do, giving our residents the restaurant service they would have been used to earlier in their lives. “Our aim is to make lunchtime a restaurant experience for residents with real attention to detail, from polished cutlery to good service, and high quality food made from fresh produce. “We want our residents to enjoy looking at and eating their food and our chefs to put passion into what they do.” He said his aim was to inspire chefs to not just settle for what they do and to take pride in improving the service.
“We want chefs to have the opportunity to develop their career with us and to reward them if they are good,” he said.
Captions: Ali preparing food; the new conservatory tea room; Ali and his brother Said; Ali with residents and belly dancer at Allonsfield House luxury care home