Rita is a passionate cook with a heart of gold. For over 20 years Rita has been treating residents at Mayflower Reservoir to hearty home cooked meals, served with an extra dollop of love.
Rita was born in Rabat, a village in Malta. Being part of a large family, she has six brothers and two sisters. They would often catch the bus for a 30-minute drive down to the coast.
Rita migrated to Melbourne when she was 11 and spent her younger years working in several jobs, including a sock factory and a car parts factory. After getting married and having a young family, Rita applied for a role as a part-time kitchen hand with Mayflower, which suited her nurturing nature. And after two decades, she is still feeding Mayflower residents healthy tasty meals.
With a typical day starting before sunrise preparing fresh breakfasts, morning tea, lunch and dinner, Rita cooks all meals from scratch, with help from fellow cook Gautam.
Residents adore Rita’s style of cooking, feeling like they are enjoying a family meal together. She goes to great effort to learn their likes and dislikes. One of her favourite dishes to cook is Pasta Alforno, a traditional Maltese recipe, which has mince in a luscious sauce with cheese and eggs. Her residents also love chicken schnitzel, which Rita creatively converts into a chicken parmigiana, and jokingly asks, “would you like your chicken in pyjamas?”
Rita’s love for feeding her Mayflower family, clearly shines through, with close relationships developed with many residents over her time with Mayflower. Reservoir facility manager, Robert Gvojic, says Rita is like a mother to everyone. “Rita’s compassion and dedication to her work has been outstanding,” said Robert. “Every day she greets residents individually, discusses the menu and offers them personalised choices. Nothing is too hard when it comes to enriching their quality of life.
Like many of the staff at Mayflower, Rita enjoys the family atmosphere. When she’s not caring for her Mayflower family, Rita enjoys holidaying at the beach with her husband, two children and five grandchildren. She dearly loves looking after her grandchildren, as well as her toy poodle, Bella.
An avid Home and Away fan, Rita is looking forward to visiting the set of the show later this year. Perhaps she will give the catering team some tips.