Portland and Chicago Hotels Making a Difference in Food Waste
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), along with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Rockefeller Foundation, recently announced early results of a four-month pilot program to combat food waste in hotel kitchens. We'll have more on that in our January/February issue.
Red Star Tavern and Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland are doing their part, rolling out a "Zero Waste" banquet menu this month, designed for cross-utilization of product, better estimates on serving size, and dishes/presentations that minimize food waste. This project comes on the heels of the property’s participation in in the pilot program. Red Star Tavern was selected as one of 10 catering programs across the country to participate.
Over the course of the three-month pilot program, Chef Dolan Lane and his team audited pre- and post-service practices to make sure banquets were managed as sustainably as possible. They also put best practices to work from the WWF and AHLA to improve the way Red Star Tavern approached menu planning, staff education, and donation opportunities to further reduce waste. As a result, pre-service waste was already down 15 percent in the first three months, and expected to grow with the launch of the Zero Waste Menu.
A few examples of these principles in action on the menu, include:
- Bread Pudding French Toast: putting delicious use to day-old bread;
- Morning Zinger (carrots, apple, ginger): cold-pressed juice made from uncut produce;
- Build-Your-Own Omelet or Granola Bar: station ingredients, like dried fruit and fresh vegetables, can be repurposed or donated;
- Celeriac and Apple Soup OR Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (brown butter, sage, parmesan): pureed soups of previously discarded vegetable ends and trimmings, including apple pulp from the above juices;
- Roasted Heirloom Beet and Pear Salad: once the beets are cut to specifications, scraps are pickled for the bar’s house Bloody Mary.
Other Kimpton properties are reducing waste as well. At Kimpton Hotel Allegro in downtown Chicago, Head Bartender Jennifer Knott eliminated all plastic straws from the ground floor Italian restaurant, 312 Chicago, the lobby bar, Bar Allegro, and banquets in August 2017. Knott felt strongly about eliminating the straws after learning about the dangers they cause the environment—especially sea life. If a guest feels strongly about having a straw, they offer paper or metal options.
At BOLEO, a lively South American rooftop restaurant and bar at the Kimpton Gray Hotel in Chicago, acclaimed Head Bartender Jess Lambert and her all-star team has curated a new lineup of sustainable sips. Pulling inspiration from famed international mixology pop-u, Trash Tiki, where bar talents are schooled on creating cocktails with a sustainably conscious mindset, Lambert puts her own spin on the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) with three earth-friendly drinks added to Boleo’s robust cocktail offerings.
With a portion of the proceeds from each drink benefitting Zero Waste Chicago, each carefully crafted cocktail is instilled with reused and recycled ingredients, while also showcasing the nuances of autumn, and Boleo’s continued focus on the traditional flavors of South America. More details on Boleo’s new sustainable sips:
- Sparkling Caipirinha - A play on the classic Caipirinha cocktail that is native to Brazil, this version takes a sustainable slant using repurposed citrus. The base starts with wood aged Avua Amburana Cachaca, a spirit derived from fermented sugarcane, providing warm and savory flavors of black cherry, baking spices, and caraway. The drink is balanced with a housemade key lime cordial that utilizes a lime cordial made from the previous day’s lime juice (that would otherwise be tossed) from both Boleo & Vol. 39 (located on the second floor of The Gray), lime zest, and a touch of ginger. The cocktail is then kegged and carbonated to give it effervescence.
- Crossing Seas - Inspired by a Peruvian holiday bread called Panetón, which is adopted from the Italian sweet bread, Panettone, Crossing Seas combines Cana Brava 7-year rum, Fernet Jellinek, Licor 43, and Appleton Jamaican rum to begin this creation of complex flavors. A concentrate, made from leftover oranges and orange scraps accommodated by both bars (Boleo and Vol. 39) are simmered and reduced to provide toasted, citrus, and bitter elements. The drink is then finished with lemon juice, Scrappy’s Aromatic, and Angostura bitters, lending to a full-bodied, complex, and warming libation.
- Breakfast at Katsura - Combining inspiration from a Japanese highball, with the traditions of Thanksgiving, Breakfast at Katsura brings together a fizzed concoction that’s part of a complete breakfast. By reusing day-old bread from the hotel kitchen, toasting it, and allowing it to infuse with a hous-made almond orgeat, this mixture creates a “French toast” like syrup to complement the base of Suntory Toki Japanese whiskey and Rhine Hall La Normande brandy. Final components of lemon, egg white, Angostura bitters, and the topping off with club soda bring it all together for a textural mouthfeel with a bubbly, fizz finish.