Over the years, an increasing number of hotels around the world have gone “green” with everything from energy-efficient lighting, to onsite recycling programs. But the eco-friendly practice that seems to be the biggest hit among hotel guests is the farm-to-table culinary concept. In fact, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts—which has already adopted many eco-friendly culinary practices such as having onsite herb gardens and honeybee apiaries—is upping the ante when it comes to sustainable food sourcing with a new brand-wide initiative—the Green Cuisine program.
“More than ever, guests are looking to be mindful of their health and the environment when they dine out,” says Mariano Stellner, Fairmont’s corporate director, food & beverage. “Diners are increasingly interested in knowing where their food is sourced and how it is produced, and our chefs are responding by working closely with local producers to source many of their ingredients, as well as finding innovative ways to bring production in house.”
Across the portfolio, Fairmont’s Green Cuisine program includes initiatives that cater to specific local and regional needs. In Quebec City, for instance, executive chef Jean Soulard of Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac recently brought five hens to the property and they are now the newest neighbors of the hotel’s resident honey bees. Fed only organic grains, each hen produces about one egg per day with the collected eggs served up to guests dining within the hotel.
Over at the Fairmont Newport Beach in California, 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 goat cheese, which the chef brings back to use in dishes for the restaurant and lounge. 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.
And at The Fairmont Royal York’s EPIC Restaurant in Toronto, the new Thisfish lobster tagging program was recently introduced. This practice involves tagging and tracing lobster from ocean to plate. 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 here can arrange a private excursion with a Fairmont chef aboard a 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.
With the Fairmont’s Green Cuisine program, Stellner explains, “Guests can expect dishes that are local, sustainable and delicious. Every Fairmont hotel takes inspiration from its locale, and the restaurants and menus reflect that, making every experience unique.” He adds, “Every chef adapts the Green Cuisine program to his or her own destination and surroundings. Many chefs strive to incorporate authentically local ingredients, tastes and techniques into menus, while others offer fusions of global flavors and styles.
In Montreal, for instance, the chef has partnered with the local Fromagerie du Vieux St-Francois to raise goats in order to produce cheese exclusively for the hotel, while our top chef in Kenya has worked with nearby Morendat Farm to create his ideal breed of cattle just for our hotels there.”
Many of the brand’s properties, from China to Washington, D.C., have also added honeybees to their onsite herb gardens or partnered with local parks and organizations to source local honey. “Honey products have been a huge hit with guests, as chefs and bartenders at our hotels with beehives incorporate rooftop honey into all sorts of cocktails and desserts,” says Stellner. Fairmont Yangcheng Lake in Kunshan, China, for example, 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. In Seattle, The Fairmont Olympic Hotel plans to install five rooftop hives, while in nearby Victoria, The Fairmont Empress has already installed 10 hives in the hotel’s Centennial Garden.