Brian Roland has been in a hospital since Dec. 4
NAPLES — Celebrated Southwest Florida chef and entrepreneur Brian Roland, critically injured in an accident in early December in Naples, is going to be transferred to a rehabilitation facility.
Roland, who co-owns Bonita Springs-based catering company Crave Culinaire with his wife, Nicole, was injured after being trapped beneath a freight elevator platform at a Ferrari dealership on U.S. 41 in Naples Dec. 4. Roland was at a Saturday night event at the dealership when the accident happened, around 9:30 p.m., according to a Collier County Sheriff’s Office incident report. Roland was “extracted from underneath the elevator and transported to Lee Memorial Hospital,” the report states.
West Palm Beach attorney Dena Sisk Foman released a statement from the Roland family Friday Jan. 14, coming after several media organizations in the region, including the Business Observer, had enquired about Roland’s condition. “After a long stay at Lee Memorial, he will be transferred for rehabilitation. We are all hopeful that Chef Brian continues to make progress in his recovery. Chef Brian and his wife Nicole, thank the community for the outpouring of love and support during this difficult time in their lives.”
The family statement comes a week after Crave Culinaire provided an update on business operations, saying the firm and all its sister companies, returning to full capacity, “continues to plan and deliver unforgettable culinary experiences to guests like never before.”
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of American and former executive chef of M Waterfront Grille in Naples, Roland his wife founded Crave Culinaire in 2013. The company grew quickly, putting on some of the most attended events in Naples and the surrounding area. In a July story in the Business Observer, the Rolands talked about how they shifted some of the company’s focus amid the pandemic, including a Crave 2 Go unit, to offer gourmet meals at home. They also teamed up with other local businesses, including Norman Love Confections and Narrative Coffee Roasters, to stock Crave Pantry, where shoppers could purchase items like eggs, veggies, breads and ready-to-cook proteins as well as essentials like toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
Through July the company had some 100 employees — and the Rolands were optimistic about the rest of year and 2022. “It’s very promising,” Brian Roland said. “We can look at what we’ve gone through and feel safe in knowing there’s a bright future ahead.”
The release from the company says since the incident, “some of the team roles at Crave Companies have been temporarily reassigned, awaiting Chef Brian Roland’s return. As a whole, Team Crave has banded together as a family, risen to the occasion and doubled down on their commitment to continue Chef Brian and Crave’s mission of delivering unforgettable hospitality experiences to each and every client and their guests.”
Crave Culinaire, Virtual Venue SWFL and Crave Event Staffing are currently accepting bookings for February and beyond, while Zest at Valencia Bonita continues normal operations.
'The care and prayers shown from our community has been more comforting than we can express.' Nicole Roland
“Chef Brian has instilled in us an excellence that can’t be shaken, and although things are a little different right now, we’re continuing to move forward and provide outstanding experiences for our clients, and we’re doing this together,” acting General Manager Joshua Cook says in the statement.
In addition to the pair of statements, Nicole Roland has published a few Facebook posts since Brian’s accident. On Jan 14 she wrote: “They say it takes a village and ours is an amazing one. After almost six weeks of prayers and a long stay at Lee Memorial, Brian will be transferred for rehabilitation. We are all hopeful that he continues to make progress in his recovery. Brian, Remi and I thank the community for the outpouring of love and support during this difficult time in our lives.”
The post included Remi, their baby who was born a month before the accident, and was tagged #BStrong and #thisishowweroland. The latter hashtag, ‘this is how we Roland,’ stems from a phrase Brian Roland used. Both Nicole and Brian Roland’s Facebook pages have been filled with hundreds of encouragement posts since the accident, many of them talking about how much Brian Roland went out of his way to help them.
“We would like to thank everyone for the ongoing love and support for Brian and our family,” Nicole Roland said in a Dec. 18 post. “The care and prayers shown from our community has been more comforting than we can express. We are still learning the extent of Brian's injuries. At this time he is stable and we anticipate that his recovery will be long and challenging. We continue to thank you for your understanding of our privacy during this time.”