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Fairmont Zooms Past Mere “Local” Cuisine With New Hyperlocal Menu Items
Publish Date : 22-Sep-2011
September 22, 2011
- Luxury Hotel Brand Brings Local to the Next Level By Adopting Livestock & More -
TORONTO, September 22, 2011 – Going local is so 2009. Upping the ante when it comes to sustainable food sourcing is Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, which has broadened the “go local” mantra by adopting local goats and chickens, allowed diners to catch their own dinner and gone out of its way to create homemade tofu. Long an advocate of green, fresh and healthy cuisine, the brand’s properties were some of the first to add onsite herb gardens and honeybee apiaries, and have pioneered myriad innovative projects that have brought farm and fork closer than ever.
Across the portfolio, Fairmont’s Green Cuisine program includes initiatives that cater to specific local and regional needs. In Quebec City, Executive Chef Jean Soulard of Fairmont Le Château Frontenac recently added five hens, who are the newest neighbors of the hotel’s resident honey bees. Chantecler hens, the only 100 percent Québec breed, have been carefully selected by Chef Soulard and have been placed in a coop equipped with a copper roof that matches the architecture of the hotel. Fed only organic grains, each hen produces about one egg per day with the collected eggs served up to guests dining within the hotel.
Fairmont Newport Beach in California is constantly in pursuit of the best local produce, and the recent adoption of seven goats is the hotel’s latest culinary initiative. In collaboration with Drake Farms Goat Dairy, where the female goats reside, the animals are cared for by dedicated farmers and staff and receive regular visits from the hotel’s Executive Chef. The farm uses the goats’ milk to produce organic and sustainable goat cheese, which the chef picks up and brings back to use in dishes for the restaurant and lounge as well for in-room guest amenities. Fairmont Newport Beach follows in the footsteps of Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth in Montreal, which adopted two goats, affectionately named Blanche Neige (Snow White), in 2010. While living at the local Fromagerie du Vieux St-François, the goats produce cheese for the menu at The Beaver Club, as well as for sale at the Fairmont Store.
At Fairmont Pittsburgh, Executive Chef Andrew Morrison of Habitat restaurant not only offers eggs from local heritage chickens, but has a side of grass-fed beef from Burns Angus Farm delivered each week so the culinary team can specially prepare every cut to their liking. The team butchers their own steaks, roasts and ground beef, utilizing every piece of the meat down to the bones, which are used to make stock. The hotel’s signature house-made soap is made using the leftover tallow (rendered beef fat) along with coconut oil, lye and natural scents. Beef is a staple in Kenya, where Chef Hubert Des Marais continually seeks out the area’s best to help support local farmers & serve sustainable cuisine. Chef Hubert recently debuted a special “platinum steak” from local Morendat Farm, which comes from selecting and breeding particular Angus/crossbred steers just for Fairmont’s East Africa properties. The cows have a specially crafted 180-day feeding program and are taken through a process of dry ageing for approximately 21 days, which further enhances the delectable flavor and texture of the cuts.
Many of the brand’s properties, from China to Washington, D.C., have added honeybees to their onsite herb gardens or partnered with local parks and organizations to source local honey for cocktails and menu items. Fairmont Yangcheng Lake in Kunshan, China has developed 200 acres as a private, organic herb and vegetable garden along the resort’s namesake lake, and has recently added 10 beehives housing 2.500 honeybees, which produce around 40 kg of honey in spring. In Seattle, The Fairmont Olympic Hotel plans to install five rooftop hives, while in nearby Victoria, The Fairmont Empress has installed 10 hives in the hotel’s Centennial Garden. With close to 20 active Fairmont bee programs in place around the world, new hives have also recently been installed at The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Fairmont Southampton in Bermuda, Calgary’s Fairmont Palliser and Fairmont Newport Beach in California.
Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York has cultivated rooftop beehives for a number of years, and has recently partnered with nearby Mill Street Brewery to create a unique honey beer, called “Royal Stinger”. To make the beer, brewers add the roof top honey at the end of the aging process, immediately before sealing it in kegs for distribution. But, Fairmont chefs are taking advantage of more than just local honey - in Vancouver, chefs at Fairmont Pacific Rim go the extra mile to make their very own tofu. Homemade tofu allows the guests to taste the nuances and flavor profile of the soy bean, and is used in a dish with braised daikon, gai lan and shiitake mushrooms.
Some Fairmont properties have even taken their search for hyperlocal cuisine under the sea, such as Fairmont Battery Wharf, which offers access to the only lobster boat tour in Boston. Guests can arrange a private excursion with a Fairmont Chef aboard an authentic down-east style lobster boat to learn firsthand how to bait, drop, and haul in lobster traps. After a day at sea, guests return with their catch and stop in at the hotel’s restaurant, Aragosta, where the Chef will prepare the lobster to their liking.
In Toronto, The Fairmont Royal York’s EPIC Restaurant has recently introduced the new Thisfish lobster tagging program, which involves tagging and tracing lobster from ocean to plate. When fishermen land their catch, they tag individual fish or entire fish lots with a distinctive code. Information about the fish - who caught it, where, when, and how - is linked to the code and uploaded to http://www.thisfish.info/, where diners can retrieve details about how their lobster was handled and processed through the supply chain.