TORONTO — Andrew Court, executive sous chef at the Royal York hotel in Toronto, recently gave F&H a guided tour of the property’s rooftop garden and apiary.
“The garden’s looking phenomenal, we’ve done a little bit of construction, making a new trellis, and we’ve added two extra beds this year,” he said, of the garden that produces everything from lemon verbena to lettuce, heirloom tomatoes and oregano to be used in guest meals.
Court is thrilled with the garden’s yield and says it’s helping lower the hotel’s carbon footprint. “The Fairmont ethos is to be locally sustainable, so the amount of produce we pull from the garden is helping us cut down on our purchases, including those we bring in from outside the city.”
The garden is also a training ground where the Fairmont team can learn about the farm-to-table process. “There’s a whole eco-system of education we’re passing on to our cooks,” said the chef. “[We’re] teaching them about the care and love put in by local farmers to bring produce to market.”
Fairmont also houses six beehives. The hotel’s apiary, now in its fourth year, is very productive. “Last year our bees produced 870 lbs of honey. The honey is used in our afternoon teas, some guest amenities, and caramelized honey goes into our Northern Woods Mushroom Chowder,” explained Court.
The hotel also provides honey to Mill St. Brewery to produce the Royal York Stinger Lager, a specialty brew sold at the hotel. “It’s not sweet — it’s a very nice lager with a honey undertone at the end,” says the chef.
Twelve years ago Fairmont Hotels pioneered the Green Partnership program, a commitment to minimizing its impact on the planet.