Q&A with Aria Care’s Steve Harding

Meet Steve Harding, Aria Care’s Executive Development & Dementia Catering Lead who shares with us his culinary career, including his time at Aria.

Have you had any other roles during your time at Aria?

I have been with the company for 10 years now, starting out as the head chef at Dormy House in Sunningdale, Berkshire where I worked for 5 years before taking on my current role.

Could you tell us about your career background?

After catering college, I went to London and worked as an apprentice with some of the leading chefs within hotels and restaurants at the time, including The Ritz, The Dorchester and La Gavroche.

I then travelled abroad to Thailand, Malaysia, and USA. When I came back, I worked in independent restaurants, hotels, and contract catering.  

In the following years, I ran my own pub business and set up a food production company. When I tried to go into semi-retirement, I was offered the Head Chef role at Dormy House which was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.

I’m also very proud to have won the National Care Award for Chef of the Year in 20218.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

The diversity of the role, the unexpected challenges, and the ability to provide good quality support, guidance, and knowledge.

Do you have any memorable experiences from the last 10 years?

There have been many including the launch of Aria’s Chef of the Year in 2023, achieving my degrees and Masters degree and bringing gastro physics and neurogastronomy (a relatively new science that studies how the human brain perceives food from the information processed through smell, taste, sight, touch and hearing) into dementia catering.

But ultimately, the most memorable experiences have been the engagement with the residents and bring that connection and joy with food back into their lives.

And finally, what does ‘hospitality from the heart’ mean to you?

To me, it is the understanding of how important food and drink is to all of us, it is the only activity that every single person has in common. The impact food and drink has on our everyday lives is taken for granted – as we age, our connection including our perception with food and drink becomes diminished. Hospitality from the heart is finding that reconnection for our residents, and all the joy that food, drinks and hospitality provides with it.