From canapes to a hospital canteen: the restaurant owner doing her bit for the NHS

PUBLISHED: 10:38 09 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:38 09 April 2020

Former Norwich restaurateur Jayne Raffles who is now working for the NHS. Pic: Archant

Former Norwich restaurateur Jayne Raffles who is now working for the NHS. Pic: Archant

A restaurateur has praised the “amazing” staff at the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital after she joined them serving up meals to patients.

Nigel and Jayne Raffles, pictured when they ran the Library restaurant. Pic: Simon Finlay Photography.Nigel and Jayne Raffles, pictured when they ran the Library restaurant. Pic: Simon Finlay Photography.

Jayne Raffles closed the Library restaurant in Guildhall Hill last year and went on to launch her own business consultancy firm for the hospitality trade.

But with work on hold because of the lockdown, rather than stay at home with her family – husband Nigel and their two sons – Mrs Raffles decided she would do her bit to help the embattled NHS.

And it couldn’t be more different.

The Library restaurant. Pic: ArchantThe Library restaurant. Pic: Archant

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Work running her Egg Consultancy often entailed dressing smartly to meet with clients, helping them with their marketing and organising high profile launch parties with the right guest list and the right canapes.

Now she starts work in the early hours, dons a disposable apron and gloves and dishes up food for patients as part of the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital’s catering department.

Jayne and Nigel Raffles. Pic: Jayne RafflesJayne and Nigel Raffles. Pic: Jayne Raffles

After her first week, she said: “There are amazing systems in place and the hospital is very well organised. I’m exhausted but I’m seeing the other side of life and in some cases, end of life.

“I feel privileged to work in the NHS, there is so much work, positivity and commitment that makes the massive wheels of an organisation work on so many levels. The team who make it all happen from porters, doctors, nurses, domestic staff are all truly amazing.”

The Raffles ran restaurants in Norwich for nearly 30 years.

The couple, who took on the Library, in 2006 eventually took the sad decision to close last summer after a sale fell through. The couple are highly experienced restaurateurs – they opened St Benedicts Grill in 1991, then Pinocchio’s, the Pulse cafe bar and then the Library, housed in a magnificent venue, the UK’s first subscription library which was built in 1886.

All the other restaurants have been sold on and are under different management.

But after closing, Mrs Raffles started up her own consultancy and has been helping many other businesses while Mr Raffles launched the Rude Health cookery and wellness retreats, helping men suffering anxiety and depression overcome their problems through cooking in stunning locations.

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