I was very excited to attend the relaunch of Carmella’s on the Square, at Cedar Square, after hearing all about the upgrades and new look from Danielle Cahi, who has been with the Carmella’s family for five years now! Check out my previous post!
I arrived to an already festive crowd and a space filled to the brim with platters of incredible food. I was soon greeted by the amazing women behind Carmella’s and its success: owner and founder, Cecilia Chemaly, as well as Danielle. Despite rushing in and out of the kitchen, and having just created a massive spread of food, both Cecilia and Danielle were attentive, friendly and energetic, and took time to greet myself and all the guests, welcoming everyone individually.
One thing would soon become very apparent to me, and would be mentioned by each and every guest I spoke to: Cecilia immediately makes you feel as if you’re part of the family, and her warmth is genuine. It felt like an absolute pleasure to be included in the Carmella’s relaunch. That innate friendliness trickles down to the staff as well.
I was particularly amazed and impressed when three of the staff – Bongani, Catherine and Zandile – received a special commendation for being with the Carmella’s family since they first opened, ten years ago! I believe that speaks volumes. Few things underline the sense of camaraderie and success quite like people being part of the family for a decade. As everyone knows, restaurants are a tough business and high staff turnover is a major factor in most cases.
Laughs and hugs all around as the Carmella’s family celebrates 10 years
I chatted with so many of the guests, who all had lovely things to say about Cecilia. While waxing lyrical about the amazing food and the restaurant itself, almost all of the comments were about the owner herself and how much they loved the feeling of a home away from home. And I think one comment encapsulated it perfectly. Jennifer, one of Carmella’s suppliers, said of Cecilia: “Her love is in the food”.
And as Cecilia urged us to eat and enjoy ourselves, I could tell this was entirely true. Every platter and every dish … all seemed to be infused with love and attention and a special flair. It’s no wonder that the catering side of Cecilia’s business is extremely successful too.
“To accommodate for the increase in customers without compromising the comfort of regulars, Carmella’s underwent a facelift earlier this year. While we have gotten some additional comforts, quirks and space, we have not lost our cosy atmosphere. Thanks to Cecilia, myself and the people who work at Carmella’s, this little deli and coffee shop is a home away from home for many. People feel like family and relationships and friendships are brewed along with the coffee.” Danielle Cahi
I neglected to ask for a menu of the evening’s catering but I will let the photos speak for themselves. Right now, I’m dying to find a spot in our hectic schedules to go for brunch as everyone at the event, and even people who responded to me on Twitter, mentioned breakfast is the business at Carmella’s.