Meet the Chef: Scott Fitzgerald

Scott, our Head Chef, has been part of the Orri team since day one! We sat him down to learn more about the work he does with our clients and Senior Dietitian, Paula.

Being Head Chef for an eating disorder clinic is quite a unique role. What was it that made you want to join the Orri team?

From an early age I have had a real passion for cooking and preparing food that is appetising to the eye. Alongside this, I have always wanted to help people and believe that I am lucky to work in a job where I can make a real difference to someone’s’ day. It is a unique role that is both rewarding as well as kind and caring to others. Working for Orri has been very inspirational – just simply engaging with our clients makes what I do worthwhile.

How would you describe your style of cooking?

Colourful, rustic and seasonal home-cooked food with a twist on flavours.

How important is appearance when it comes to serving food at Orri?

I believe the appearance of food is very important – you eat with your eyes! As such, our food is always prepared with love, care, craft and passion.

How do you interact with our clients and ensure they feel safe around mealtimes?

I treat our clients as I would treat anyone. I see each client as an individual and hope that I can demonstrate what it looks like to love and care for food so they might one day feel the same. Alongside this, I try to create a space that allows our clients to feel relaxed and able to ask any questions about the meals, food preparation and ingredients.

Our clients all have unique needs and tastes. How do you work with our Senior Dietitian, Paula, to cater to that?

I work very closely with Paula. We plan seasonal menus together based upon client feedback and ingredients we consider to be easily replicated at home outside Orri. All our home-cooked meals can be “taken” home and prepared individually or as a family/with carers. Just with our therapeutic programme, we want clients to feel at home and comfortable as they progress in their recovery.

What sort of requests do you receive from our clients?

Sometime clients start their journey at Orri with a very limited list of safe foods – they may all plant based or meat based, but within weeks, clients progress to expanding their food choices outside of what feels safe and comfortable. In the past, clients have asked me for very spicy food, food without any flavour, or just a bowl of fresh air. We respect that everyone’s recovery journey is different and, as such, collaboration between the clients, Paula and myself is really important

What sort of special diets do you cater for?

We can cater for a multitude of special diets, including: vegan, kosher, gluten free, dairy free, lactose intolerant, vegetarian, etc!

What’s been the most memorable moment so far since working for Orri?

The most touching moments are when I see a change in a client’s eating habits or receive positive feedback on our meals from clients who were once quite reserved when it came to talking about their experience of food and eating. Since we opened in February, I’ve received some really moving feedback, including:

“Sorry that I have this eating disorder Scott – your food is amazing and you really are helping me along on my journey. Thank you for all you do.”

“The food is always beautifully prepared and presented which definitely makes it easier!”

“The food is of a very high quality and Scott is great with us, always happy to talk and compassionate about our struggles.

Have there been any culinary disasters?

I once had a few muffins that tasted terrible due to missing ingredients – but thankfully they didn’t make it to the clients!

What do you do to relax when you aren’t in the kitchen?

I enjoy sitting on the other side of the kitchen and eating out at restaurants. I also enjoy planning adventures and weekends away as I love to travel.

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