Connecting Catholic communities through delicious, nutritious meals has become a labour of love for chef manager of McQuoin Park, Giuseppe Gugliotti.
Beginning his career as an apprentice on cruise lines after seven years of culinary college in Italy, the talented chef was quickly promoted in his second year to Sous Chef in charge of twenty.
Today, he mentors his high-performing kitchen staff in the art of pastry, chocolate and seafood, among many other international cuisines.
'We cover the whole of Europe now, everything from Turkish cuisine all the way to England and Morocco. It's a lot of different types of cuisine, probably have around 2000 under my belt,' said Guiseppe.
Inspired to study the science behind food to care for his sick grandfather, suffering from Parkinson’s disease and dementia, Guiseppe now educates his team on how to create nutritious, sustaining meals.
'[I say to my team] the veggies are good, but we really want to get the starch down, and we really want to get the protein down and the calcium up to build their [residents'] muscle mass,' he said.
'Being awarded two and three Michelin stars in Italy…I get more joy seeing the faces of my residents smiling when they're having a meal.' Guiseppe Gugliotti.
Guiseppe’s a la carte menu has a choice of around 40-50 meals for lunch and dinner, although he is always tailoring meals to individual requests.
'I had one resident ask me for some fresh prawns and offered to pay for them. I said no, no, no! So, we had fresh prawns for happy hour last week. And they were a hit!' he said.
Serving an audience of around 50 residents, the menu has become a resounding success with many compliments and few, if any, complaints in his three years with Catholic Healthcare.
Cooking up the idea of a takeaway menu
Guiseppe’s talents go beyond the kitchen to include his ingenious idea of extending the a la carte menu meals to the nearby retirement village residents in return for the monthly loan of their state-of-the-art movie theatre for the aged care residents.
'I was thinking, "why don't we just have a takeaway menu with some of the same dishes as we do here for the residents that can't really look after themselves anymore"? 'They can put it in the oven, or they can reheat it later on if they don't want to have it then and there.'
Guiseppe bases his menu plan on resident feedback as well as on the residents’ cultural tastes.
'When I first designed the menu, the first menu, their ethnicity dictated what they wanted to eat. I tried to do some research and go back in history, and say, hey, what would you like to eat?'
These restaurant quality meals are priced around $19.00 and will include a main, vegetables and a dessert.
The menu is based on a 14-day menu, and orders are placed through reception, where residents can pay for their orders through the retirement village’s EFTPOS machine.
'It's spreading the word of Catholic Healthcare and what we are doing - Catholic Connected Communities. I've got ladies from my mum's hairdresser saying, “Your son's doing a fantastic job".'
Find out more about McQuoin Park Wahroonga, here
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