Engaging Culinary Creativity for Thoughtful, Healthy Kids’ Menus

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Underway since June, the Mission Delicious competition has engaged Westin culinary talents from around the globe; finalists will be announced this month. The competition was designed to expand the recipe repository for the Westin Eat Well Menu for Kids, to address healthy eating trends and children’s eating preferences around the global as they continue to evolve since the program’s first inception.

“The competition tasks hotel associates to demonstrate their culinary creativity for our smallest global guests,” Sarah Lipton, director, global brand management at Westin Hotels & Resorts told Hotel F&B. “We’ve been encouraging them to draw on their personal and cultural backgrounds to create dishes that are reflective of the diverse set of cultural preferences we cater to at our hotels around the world. We developed strict nutritional guidelines with our partner SuperChef, a group of dentists, chefs, dieticians, and doctors.”

Westin will select 40 of the best recipes from property submissions for use by hotels around the world on their Eat Well for Kids menus.

“It’s not only helping us enhance the program, but it’s also helped us engage the hotel associates,” said Lipton, who notes that 25% of the Westin portfolio is resorts, with plenty of family travelers, so Westin wanted healthy options for kids who may not be adventurous eaters.

Lipton said the adult Eat Well program taught Westin that even though healthy may be popular, the definition and knowledge of “healthy” varies around the globe. “They didn’t want to pigeonhole hotels into offering that didn’t work in their locations,” Lipton said. “That’s why they opened up the competition to chefs around the globe.”

After this competition, Westin will have doubled the recipes that properties can choose from to build their menus in a way that is most appealing to guests and that best works within the confines of their existing hotel operations. A Westin spokesperson shared with us that with the flexibility of a robust library of recipes, they do not see implementation having operational impact to the extent of an impact on kitchen layout or equipment.