To fight against social isolation of the elderly, Marie has chosen to combine Haute cuisine and Solidarity through her organization whose patron is none other than Chef Pierre Gagnaire.
Marie Guillois - Chef Pierre Gagnaire - Photo by @ClémentMuller
"The others give me the strength to move forward and to do something meaningful every day, which gives me joy."
Sensitive to the elderly and their struggles and with a wealth of experience in the field, it was quite natural that Marie Guillois founded, with heart and conviction, the association Étoilés et Solidaires (literally translated as ‘Michelin starred and Solidarity’), in 2018 in Paris. Étoilés et Solidaires brings together a rotating cast of Michelin starred Chefs – amongst them Pierre Gagnaire, Patron of the non-profit – who lend their talents to the senior Parisians. Marie and her team organize gastronomic events alongside renowned Chefs to fight against social isolation and undernutrition among the elderly, while informing them about nutrition.
Equivalent to the Chef Deliver by City Meals on Wheels initiated by Chef Daniel Boulud in New York City, the association brings joy and comfort to a very vulnerable public.
Through this initiative, Marie wanted to show that Haute Cuisine and Solidarity are compatible. Thus, her high impact organization aligns the stars in the plates as well as in the eyes...
Welcome Marie and all the Étoilés et Solidaires' Chefs to Chefs for Impact!
By Marie Guillois as told to Chefs for Impact
What is your background?
"For 12 years I have accumulated various professional experiences in the field of the elderly. I have been involved with different senior audiences throughout my career. I've had many opportunities to exchange ideas about social ties, gastronomy, nutrition and culinary workshops. I have identified needs: conviviality and sharing, rediscovering the desire to eat and learning about nutrition. As I was an intern and I was only 18, I co-organized my first gastronomic event for a socially disadvantaged public in collaboration with a Michelin starred Chef. From then on, I wanted to get involved in this cause that I am so passionate about.”
What led you to want to associate Gastronomy and Solidarity for the elderly?
"The health and the well-being of the seniors were two important things for me. We know that they are likely to suffer from undernutrition for two reasons: decreased appetite and loss of sense of taste. What could be better than gastronomy to boost the taste and reactivate the appetite of our seniors in a convivial setting that promotes social bonding?”
Can you name a few Chefs you collaborate with?
"Chefs are generally very receptive to what we do. They are no less than 70 prestigious Chefs who rotate and donate their talent. Just to name a few: the multi-starred Chef Pierre Gagnaire, Chef Christophe Raoux from the Ducasse culinary school in Paris, Chef Thibaut Spiwack, Chef Massimo Tringali, and Chef William Ledeuil."
Chef William Ledeuil, Chef Thibaut Spiwack, Chef Christophe Raoux
What types of actions are you implementing?
“Every month, we bring together 20 to 50 guests in a starred restaurant for an exceptional culinary experience. And twice a year, we put together workshops where 50 to 100 isolated elderly Parisians take part in culinary hands-on training with talented Chefs. The most recent event was held on the set of the TV show Top Chef in France. At the end of the workshop, all the participants get to taste their creations. We also arrange home deliveries while following an extremely strict sanitary protocol to protect our seniors too.”
Photo by @ClémentMuller
Since you are in contact with a high-risk public, how have you adapted your actions since covid-19?
“Due to Covid-19, these people are obviously even more isolated than usual. They no longer get to be in contact with each other. In this very special period, we are maintaining our commitment by replacing our events by doing home deliveries of meals and sweet treats prepared by our Chefs, pastry chefs and chocolatiers. We also asked them to make a short video of a simple recipe to share. Finally, we talk to our seniors over phone very often to get news and listen to them.”
What will Étoilés et Solidaires look like in 5 years?
“We will continue with our gastronomic events and solidarity actions and I would like to launch a TV series to raise awareness and change society’s perception of aging.”
Learn more about Etoilés et Solidaires : https://etoilesetsolidaires.fr/
Top Chef video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8NwPLG45Vo&t=5s