Grateful patient cooks up a storm

Nico Scarnera and the team at the Viking Day Unit
Nico Scarnera and the team at the Viking Day Unit

Published on 27 August 2019

A team of cancer nurses had a tasty treat thanks to a talented former patient.

Chef Nico Scarnera had 11 chemotherapy treatments at the Viking Day Unit at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate and was so impressed by the dedication and professionalism of the staff that he wanted to say thank you.

So he spent hours in his professional kitchen at home in Ramsgate and returned with a feast, including a choice of main course and dessert for the whole team to enjoy.

Nico, who has worked as a chef all over the world, said: “The whole team are so caring and professional and the way they treat people is out of this world.

“I wanted to give something back and to say thank you because they deserve it, so I decided I would cook for them.”

The most recent feast included lasagne, meatballs, frittata, Italian sausages, and tiramisu. Nico has been cooking for the team three times a year for the past two years; at Easter, summer and Christmas.

Carrie Merry, Chemotherapy Unit Manager, said: “On Viking Day Unit we get to know our patients very well during the course of their treatment.

“Nico often talked about cooking a meal for us all, then one day he came in with a menu for us and a date of when he was going to cook lunch.

“The food is amazing, and for Nico to do this for us means so much. He truly does spoil us.”

Nico, who retired to Ramsgate after working in Texas for 25 years, said he enjoyed treating the team.

He said: “Although I have stopped work it is good to have something to do.

“The team work so hard and they deserve it so I am glad to be able to do this.

"They asked me how long I would keep cooking for them, and I said as long as they keep me alive - I wouldn't be here without the treatment they gave me so I owe everything to them."