Maggie Beer

Visit to St Basil's Home, Adelaide

December 19, 2019

A week ago I visited St. Basil’s in Adelaide, a predominately Greek aged care home in a quiet leafy neighbourhood. As much as I would love to visit lots of homes, time limits this dreadfully, so the catalyst for accepting this invitation was very much because of an old friend I heard was in the home.

It was Zeffie Kathreptis who, with her son Lou, had been responsible for the most amazing food of the time in Adelaide; Mezes in Rundle Street. It was a mecca for food loving Adelaidian’s and it was such a family favourite when, with or without our girls, we ventured down to Adelaide.

Lou was much acclaimed and Zeffie was always in the kitchen. With Zeffie’s deft hand and Lou’s creativity, this small restaurant was truly important. Years on, Zeffie, just turning 90, and now in St. Basil’s, I was so excited to see her again. Whilst St. Basil’s home was beautiful in many ways, the caring staff and the feeling of openness and gardens of this 32-bed home, it was all about visiting Zeffie for me.

After being so warmly greeted by my old friend, I was taken into the kitchen and though Zeffie now is limited in her physicality; her spirit and her influence very much alive. Indeed, on the wall of the kitchen there were photographs of Zeffie assisting with menu development; Zeffie teaching staff Greek classic dishes and an overwhelming feeling that the kitchen team were open to Zeffie’s influence and knowledge.

The icing on the cake was that Lou, who lives in Dubai, was home for his Mum’s birthday and so he and sister Irene came to say hello too. All of this gave me the most enormous pleasure, but then there was more as they say! The Primary School across the road who come and sing every week, put on a concert with year 2 pupils singing Christmas carols for the residents having lunch in the garden with visiting relatives; just a stone’s throw away from the raised vegetable gardens tended entirely by the residents. What a truly beautiful morning.

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