Food Is Family
At Elements Retirement Village, food and community have always gone hand in hand. Last year, in Feb 2019, Village Owner and Operator, Chiou See Anderson, celebrated cooking her 8th Chinese New Year dinner for her residents. It was while cleaning up after the party for 250 guests, that she decided that everyone had such a great time that they should not wait another year for the next big bash. And that was how it all started….
By March 2019, Chiou See had started a monthly themed dinner for the Elements family. Each month, Chef Brian Pozzey will come up with a cuisine theme, complemented by table decorations and costume dress ups. With the assistance of Teacher Kelly Brown from Rochedale State High School, her hospitality students would acquire their work experience hours by working in the kitchen, behind the bar and serving the residents their two-course meals. These dinners became so popular that it had to be capped at 100 and a wait list had to be formed.
When Covid-19 restrictions were in force, instead of despairing over the temporary cessation of their regular monthly dinners, Chiou See introduced “Covid-19 Cuisine with Chious @ Elements”. The aim of the dinner was to ensure the residents’ mental and stomach well-being. As there are 6 streets at Elements, she decided to cook and deliver dinners to the residents one street per week. First street off the rank was Harmony Street with a total of 19 residents and thank goodness for the small number! By the time Serene Ave came along, the logistical challenges associated with booking and delivering have been ironed out and meals were delivered to 42 happy residents from a mobile kitchen set up on the back of a buggy. Joy Place was next and this time, a temporary
kitchen was set up in the garage of a vacant unit in the same street, thereby ensuring the 39 meals were still warm on arrival. With three streets to go, the remaining residents are eagerly waiting their turns!
Social distancing rules and a limit on the number of visitors per household were all happily observed by the residents as homes turned into little restaurants. The best glassware and linen were laid out and pre-dinner drinks were enjoyed as residents trotted out in their Sunday best to their mates’ place for a bit of pampering and a shared meal accompanied by much laughter.
Elements is a unique village; it is more like a large family living on a shared property. Covid-19 has made us closer and it has also made us healthier as we are constantly walking laps on our village grounds or venturing into the adjoining Daisy Hill Conservation Park. The joy of sharing a meal with our neighbours during this period is heightened by our gratitude for friendships and security.