Casa Serena throws a farewell party for Sarina

Casa Serena in Stafford, Brisbane

It is time for Sarina Nucifora to add one last ingredient to her book of recipes: a generous pinch of fond memories.  Casa Serena’s cook has announced her retirement from the kitchen after unceasing nine years of bringing joy to clients through homemade food. It wasn’t an easy task, but it was necessary.

“I’m a “nonna” now, and I really want to enjoy my grandchildren and my children. They need me. I understand that one door is closing, but a new one is being opened,” says Sarina.

The feeling of an empty nest and years away from the workforce led Sarina to Casa Serena, where she was a volunteer for five years before becoming a cook.

“I loved it because it felt like I was doing something good, and I loved all the older people. They reminded me of my mom,” she says.

“As the years went by, a new position became available in the kitchen. So, I applied. I didn’t get it at first, but I kept persisting, and eventually, a spot came in.”

Sarina juggled the job as a cook and volunteering for years until her workflow in the kitchen began to demand more of her time. “I dropped the volunteering and fully embraced my job,” she says.

One can say that the clients benefited the most from this decision.
“They [clients] have always loved my chicken. I just marinated it with wine, herbs, and tomatoes – the tomatoes give it that moisture. I add veggies and bake it. They all enjoy it.”

Future memories
Sarina proudly speaks about how teamwork boosted her confidence, especially after years away from the workforce caring for her mom.

“I had lost confidence. But at Casa Serena, I have learned to find myself and be strong again. The people who work here are just so beautiful, and they have given me so much courage, support, and friendship.”

“They have taught me a lot, and they will be teaching me until my last day of work. They have always encouraged me not to be afraid. I really wouldn’t dare to cook for 50 people, and after a while, I was there cooking for them,” she concludes.

On April 24, Sarina had a proper farewell at Casa Serena, surrounded by the ones who will never forget her.