Five-year-old Isla Johnson from Grays, Essex has spent the last two Christmas’ in hospital. She was diagnosed with intestinal failure in infancy, which means she’s unable to eat or drink. Despite that, Isla adores cooking and has always wanted to be a chef. Thanks to Elior and its charity partner Starlight, Isla saw her wish come true in spectacular style this Christmas.
To help make Isla’s wish come true, Starlight (the UK’s leading wish granting charity for children and young people with serious and terminal illness) contacted Peter Joyner, food development director at Elior UK. Moved by her story, Peter reached out to colleagues at The Royal Institution in Mayfair and John Williams (executive chef at The Ritz) to build an unforgettable experience for Isla.
Isla’s wish started at The Royal Institution in Mayfair, where Isla and her brother Jack were presented with their personalised chef whites – bearing the Starlight, Elior and The Ritz logos. After rolling truffles, making chocolate lollipops and baking and decorating cupcakes, Isla and her family were whisked away in a Rolls-Royce to The Ritz for a private tour of the kitchens and a spot of afternoon tea.
Ashlee Johnson, Isla’s mother, said: “I don’t even know where to begin. The whole time we were there, we felt so special. Jack and Isla adore Peter and really can’t thank him enough for all he did for us. We are truly grateful for such an amazing time, we hardly ever get to spend time together as a family. For the first time in I don’t know how many years I have a photo of all of us together outside the hospital environment.”
Peter Joyner, food development director at Elior UK, said: “Helping to grant this Starlight Wish was probably one of the best days of my whole career. Seeing Isla’s face light up when she put her chef whites on was amazing. From there, I knew it was going to be a remarkable day. She was so full of life, and it was lovely to see her and her family enjoying themselves. It makes you realise what’s really important in life. I’d like to thank John Williams and the Ritz, who helped make this day so special.”