With today’s consumers more interested than ever in healthier eating, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has stepped up to the plate by introducing “Lifestyle Cuisine Plus,” a new way of eating healthy while travelling.
The company launched its Lifestyle Cuisine in 2004, featuring low-fat and low-carb menu items, well before the trend to healthy cuisine took root. Meanwhile, the recent launch of its “Plus” program takes that mandate one step further, featuring a Heart Smart menu, a vegan option, a diabetic friendly version as well as gluten-free items.
“Our Fairmont Hotels customer wants to maintain a healthy lifestyle while they’re travelling,” Mike Taylor, director of Public Relations, told a group of food writers and media, who attended the February launch. In a survey of its President Club members, taken before launching the initiative, Fairmont found 83 per cent of its loyalty club members were focusing on healthy eating while 91 per cent are actually practicing some form of dietary lifestyle.”
Media in attendance at last month’s launch sampled from several tasting stations, helmed by some of the chain’s top toques, who showcased the different diets addressed in the “Plus” program, which can differ from hotel to hotel. David Garcelon, from the host Royal York Hotel, prepared a diabetic menu featuring such menu items as balsamic-seared tuna loin, baby arugula, freerun Ontario chicken breast cooked sous vide with spruce maple glaze and steamed wild rice. Chef Andrew Morrison travelled from the Fairmont Pittsburgh to prepare gluten-free selections, lighlighting items such as Vietnamese vegetable summer rolls with spicy Nuoc Cham; mirin glazed beets with creamy goat cheese, coriander and wild flower honey as well as braised pork belly and vegetable fried rice with spicy pineapple. Chef Felix Pfister, from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, prepared a selection of Heart Smart menu items, including chilled sablefish with edamame bean purée and radish sprouts. Montreal’s Alain Pignard, from The Queen Elizabeth, highlighted a vegan menu of cold red beetroot soup with granny smith apples, candied fennel crouton, eggplant caviar and broccoli mouse served in a small glass; vegetarian caviar and taro chip as well as polenta nugget with oyster mushrooms.
The “Plus” menus are being rolled out at all of the chain’s hotel locations worldwide, including room service. According to Garcelon, the program has been in the works for almost two years and has been well received internally.
To make preparation seamless, Fairmont chefs can access a software program that will allow them to find out whether their menu hits the mark on all nutritional fronts. And, to ensure offerings extend beyond the food to beverages, Fairmont Hotels has also introduced a series of shakes, juices and wellness teas from Metropolitan Tea to complement its menu offerings.
The talented ensemble of toques is working hard to dispel the myth that healthy food tastes bad. Now they just need to prove it to their guests.