In our “Voices of Veritas” series, we’re introducing you to some of the world’s most engaging thought leaders, compassionate caregivers, and science-minded multidisciplinary teams. They work together to fulfill the Veritas Collaborative vision of a world where all persons with eating disorders have access to best-practice care and hold hope for a cure. This month we explore culinary excellence with Eduardo Polit, executive chef for Veritas Collaborative’s Child and Adolescent Hospital in Durham, N.C.
Eduardo – who is fluent in four languages – has worked at Veritas for more than two years, but honed his craft by creating culinary experiences for countless patrons across three different continents and in four different countries (Switzerland, Ecuador, England, and the U.S. for those with curious minds).
His passion for food began at an early age in Ecuador, where he grew up watching his grandmother run a restaurant, his father work on a farm, and his entire family engage in artisanal crafts like roasting coffee beans and making vinegar from scratch. Throughout his college education and professional career, Eduardo developed food expertise and cultivated a heart for those he feeds.
Patients with a desire to recover and passionate co-workers fuel Eduardo day in and day out. “I walk by the ‘art wall’ every day. It’s where every single patient who completes our program hangs a hand-crafted canvas. Watching that beautiful wall expand, grow, and shine makes me really happy and affirms that our hard work truly has a wonderful purpose.”
Eduardo shares that the Culinary Department in Durham is a very diverse group of 17 professionals divided into four different positions – sous chefs, cooks, culinary assistants, and dishwashers. All hailing from different walks of life, this team rallies together around a common goal – to drive young patients toward health through food – a difficult task for those with disordered eating complexities.
He cites communication as a key competency his department consistently addresses because of its ability to create successful outcomes for those on the road to recovery from eating disorders.
“Because patients with eating disorders have unique food perspectives providers rely on our department to understand the significance of delivering a safe, nutritionally accurate, and documented meal at the exact right time so that we do not elevate a patient’s anxiety around food.”
In addition to his vigilance regarding each patient’s relationship with food, Eduardo knows patient safety is a top priority. That’s why he spearheaded an intensive interdepartmental collaboration to create standard operating practices for handling allergens in the kitchen. He also navigates complex Department of Health and FDA regulations that are strictly enforced. In fact, all three Veritas kitchens are inspected separately every 90 days.
With so much responsibility for creating healthy futures, he enjoys his downtime. He has two wonderful children and enjoys antiques, yard work, dining out, and traveling. And if you want to know what food he most enjoys preparing – it’s soups!