Here are some of this year’s most appealing food and drink trends, along with some of the ways Fairmont Hotels & Resorts are bringing these trends to life in markets globally.
- No bucket-list trip to Kenya is complete without the Slopes Breakfast at Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club. Guests head out in the wee hours of the morning for a horseback ride through the forest to see zebra, buffalo and elephants in their natural environment. A secluded spot provides the perfect place to stop and marvel at the glorious sunrise over the snowcapped peaks of Mount Kenya, the largest mountain in the country and the second largest in Africa. Guests are then joined by the resident chef and his team, bearing a sumptuous breakfast spread with freshly squeezed juices, pastries, eggs to order, breakfast potatoes and smoked salmon, all sourced from a local farm.
- With spectacular views of the African Savannah, the Aitong Hills in the Masai Mara is the ideal spot for an unforgettable sundowner experience. Fairmont Mara Safari Club invites guests to embark on an evening game drive, often the best time to see wildlife and animals as they begin to stir from their heat-of-the-day slumber. Rendezvous at a scenic spot in this expansive game reserve, complete with comfortable seating, lamps, a campfire and a fully equipped bar with bush cocktails, light bites and cold canapés.
- Fairmont Pacific Rim offers an exclusive dining experience at The Curator’s Table; a private table dedicated to the art of great conversation, fueled by fantastic food and wine. The table for eight is a work of art - a solid custom-made round table surrounded by chairs of beechwood and ivory leather and set with Versace chargers and Sambonet ‘Imagine Gold’ flatware. Perched on the hotel’s second level mezzanine overlooking The Lobby Lounge, the eight fortunate guests at The Curator’s Table will have a front row seat to the best people watching in the city.
- Fancy a birthday tea with the Queen? Fairmont can’t promise that Her Majesty will be present, but the HRH spirit will certainly be present at A Royal Afternoon Tea at The Savoy, A Fairmont Managed Hotel throughout the month of June 2016. In celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th Birthday celebrations, Chef Darren McGrady, former personal chef to the royal family, has collaborated with The Savoy’s executive chef, Holger Jackisch, to design a menu that is fit for a Queen and a true representation of what the UK’s reigning monarch enjoys when taking tea at the Palace. Served in the beautiful Thames Foyer, The Savoy’s Royal Afternoon Tea features some of Her Majesty’s favorites, which remain on the Royal tea menu today, such as the Jam Pennies; Chocolate birthday cake, the recipe of which dates back to Queen Victoria’s chef; and Her Majesty’s absolute favorite, the Chocolate biscuit cake chosen by Prince William for his Groom’s cake.
Respecting our Place in the World
- Fairmont continues to buzz with excitement over the growing success of its Bee Sustainable initiative to support bee health globally. More than 40 honeybee apiaries and pollinator bee hotels currently reside on Fairmont properties around the world with many more to come this year, including 10 new bee hotels across the United States including Sonoma, Boston and Washington, D.C. Plans are also underway to build new bee hotels globally starting in Dubai and Singapore Additionally, many Fairmonts also nurture on-property herb and vegetable gardens, which contribute to pollinator health and local food production.
- The kitchen brigade at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge has partnered with Twin Meadows Organics Farm - a sustainable and organic family farm that delivers local produce, which shows up on the hotel’s menus in dishes such as signature foraged mushroom risotto. The Fairmont team provides the waste vegetable oil back to the farm to fuel the delivery truck and on-farm generator. The partnership does not end there… staff of the hotel have been known to show up at the farm en masse to help pick potatoes!
- In Vancouver, Fairmont Waterfront is working towards being a zero waste hotel by the end of 2016. Zero waste means 90 percent of all waste (including food waste) will be diverted from landfill, as certified by Recycle Smart. In addition to the hotel’s 2,100-square-foot rooftop garden, the kitchen team has created a vertical garden that composts the kitchen’s food waste onsite and uses it to fertilize plants. The vertical garden supports 100 plants in less than one square meter of space. The hotel has also partnered with Growing Chefs, a not-for-profit organization that teaches school children about urban gardening.
- Also in Vancouver, ARC restaurant at Fairmont Waterfront has partnered with Haida Wild, an organization producing sustainable seafood from the Haida Gwaii region with Yahguudang, the Haida concept of respect for the land, sea, air and all living things. Chef Alessandro Vianello recently visited Haida Gwaii to experience where the hotel’s 100-percent certified Ocean Wise seafood is sourced. The hotel has a goal to source 60 percent of all seafood served in ARC from the pristine waters of northern British Columbia.
Eating like a Local
- In a place as ethnically and regionally diverse as Kenya, it is difficult to pin down a dish that is representative of the whole country. The coastal communities claim fish and seafood as dietary staples, while city center families dine on rice and stew. Fairmont The Norfolk, based in Nairobi, offers samaki wa kupaka, a flavorful smoky grilled fish braised in rich and creamy tamarind flavored coconut sauce. This is a coastal East African fusion delicacy that is loved by almost every family in the east coast from Mombasa to Malindi. Guests of The Norfolk might also sampleboma feast, a combination of meats and accompaniments traditionally shared as a post-ritual meal when young boys become men in the ‘boma’, meaning, the homestead.
- South Africa is a country with many traditional foods such as biltong, boerewors, milktart and koeksisters, however one of the most traditional and famous dishes of this wondrous region is inspired by Indian culture and flavor. The ‘bunnychow,’ which can be eaten with fingers or fork, is a favorite dish at the Fairmont Zimbali. A half loaf of bread is hollowed out and filled with any type of steaming hot curry. Other variations include a breakfastbunnychow filled with bacon, beans and topped with egg.
- With soaring temperatures and the arid heat of Dubai, it takes a great deal of research to source fresh and organic ingredients. At Fairmont The Palm, the culinary team at the Mediterranean restaurant Seagrill on 25° recently unveiled a range of organic dishes, showcasing the pure taste of herbs and vegetables and putting into practice the ‘farm to fork’ philosophy. The chef de cuisine ventures out to local food markets to personally select the best fruits and vegetables from a wealth of naturally grown organic produce. The delightful daily bounty appears on the menu in exquisite dishes such as sea bass carpaccio; Mediterranean grilled squid; organic tomato and tuna salad; and burrata cheese with organic tomato and balsamic reduction.
- Bab El Nil Restaurant at Fairmont Nile City features koshary, one of Egypt’s most celebrated dishes. This hidden gem is not listed on the menu at the restaurant, but always available to those in-the-know. The chef pays tribute to the eclectic origins of this vegetarian dish, which dates back to India in 1914. Originally a dish of simple rice and black lentils, British troops brought it to Egypt where the resident Italian community added their No. 1 ingredient – pasta (more specifically, macaroni). Egyptians later layered it up with additional ingredients, including tomato-vinegar and chili sauce, and garnished it with chickpeas, crispy fried onions and sprinkled garlic, resulting in a hearty dish reflecting a culinary hybrid of international cultures.
- At Arizona’s Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, La Hacienda serves fine Mexican cuisine with a fresh, contemporary twist and a selection of 240+ artisan tequilas. One of the most popular is the Snake Bite Flight, featuring sotol, mescal and tequila, representing three of the five spirits of Mexico (and a rattlesnake head and tail for décor). Ending the evening with bebidas de fuega – a.k.a. flaming coffees – is an impressive show, with six different kinds of flaming coffees on offer. Each flaming coffee begins with the process of caramelizing the glass with 151 and a cinnamon-sugar mixture that is the secret to creating the big crowd-pleasing flames. Guests particularly love the Café 192, made with 1921 tequila de crema, coffee and whipped cream, topped with chocolate shavings.
- Fairmont Orchid celebrates the modern pau hana experience at Luana, with its signature Hawai‘i’an style, expressed through cocktails, cuisine, music and fashion, and set amid one of the most gorgeous settings of the resort. The bar has partnered with highly acclaimed Hawaii designer Sig Zane to create an exclusive uniform for the bartenders and servers of Luana. Guests love The Training Room cocktail, developed in the black box session of lead mixologist Aaron Alcala-Mosley’s job interview. He was given a few unusual ingredients (one of which was a blow torch!) and was asked to create a cocktail. His creation is now one of Luana’s best-selling cocktails.
- Local is spelled ‘LoCal’ at Fountain Restaurant at Fairmont San Jose. New LoCal Bowls have been introduced to the menus for breakfast and lunch. The ‘LoCal’ name is a play on words, derived from the inspiration to offer healthy, low calorie, locally sourced, California-style cuisine for Fountain Restaurant guests. Breakfast now features the sweet Strawberry LoCal Breakfast Bowl (sliced bananas, strawberries, raspberries, dried apricots, goji berries, house made granola) and the savory Campbell Harvest LoCal Breakfast Bowl (quinoa, faro, arugula, corn, broccoli, tomato, shaved white cheddar, almond parsley pesto dressing). The lunch menu provides seven delicious new options including the Tomato Harvest LoCal Lunch Bowl (grilled sesame crusted Ahi Tuna, heirloom tomatoes, silky tofu, shiso, ginger, purple cabbage, Japanese wasabi vinaigrette).
- Not to be outdone in SoCal, Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows offers the chance to learn grilling and pizza techniques from the best. The Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet Grilling Series Presented By FIG Restaurantbrings Chef Yousef Ghalaini poolside to teach guests backyard tips, tricks and best practices in mastering the art of cooking with fire. Following the demonstration, guests can enjoy an a la carte menu featuring signature dishes from the grill. A fun session designed just for kids -Pizza in SoCal Paradise – provides an interactive and complimentary poolside pizza making class.
Reinventing Old Recipes
- The UAE’s two most illustrious steakhouse restaurants– the multiple award-winning Exchange Grill at the Fairmont Dubai and Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr – are serving up specialty bone marrow dishes. Widely recognized as a form of offal, meaning the internal organs of an animal, chef Nahsen Akgul at The Exchange Grill transforms bone marrow by pairing it with sauteéd snails, a white butter sauce, onion chips and toasted sourdough. Meanwhile, his colleague at Marco Pierre White Grill in Abu Dhabi, covers the marrow (still in the bone) with garlic, parsley and a breadcrumb paste, then bakes in the oven until the top is golden brown and crispy. The dish is presented with a toasted baguette, which guests use to spoon the marrow onto, and eat like bruschetta.
- Pioneering the party scene in Shanghai since the 1930s, The Jazz Bar at Fairmont Peace Hotel has hosted numerous global celebrities and world leaders who came to experience its distinctive culture. The skills of Jin Bao Lin's cocktail wizardry have been put to use in creating two signature cocktails to represent the hotel’s harmony of 'West meets East'. Based on the classic dry martini and Manhattan, the Shanghai and Peace cocktails are masterpieces, bowing to the Golden Age of the 1930s. Mixed with gin and Cointreau, 'Shanghai' has the aura of a high-class gentleman in the elite cigar lounge, while 'Peace' is a gorgeous woman, glowing with Osmanthus wine, portraying the sweet charm of Southeast China.
- Not everyone appreciates high tea, so for those who prefer something stronger, the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle has turned Fairmont teas into delicious tea-infused cocktails. Originally designed in honor of Father’s Day, the cocktails proved to be so popular the hotel kept them on the lounge menu year-round. The distinctly masculine-sounding drinks - “The Godfather”, “Father Thyme” and “Don’t Tell Mom” – are best enjoyed as part of the full Anti-Tea service, consisting of decidedly not dainty finger foods served on a tea tower in the hotel’s Georgian Room.
- The infamous Kinder Egg, an international children’s favorite recently banned in the United States due to a 1938 ruling outlawing toy-embedded candies, takes on new life at Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. In the cozy environs of Quebec City, guests can legally partake in the illicit children’s treat in the most delightful way. Inside the chocolate-coated candy egg is a mini edible Lego man. The whimsical dessert is served with licorice sorbet, a wooden log made with nut powder and a strawberry trapped in a frozen ice cube.
Home Brews and Small-Craft Spirits
- Creating house-made liquors and mixes is an exciting part of the job for the talented mixologists and bartenders at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. Tour the world with Fairmont and travelers will find homemade Le Sam Tonic at Fairmont Le Château Frontenac; and custom bourbon at Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston. Meanwhile, Fairmont’s in-house busy bees are doing overtime to create bespoke honey beer at several properties, including Fairmont San Francisco, Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, Fairmont Royal York and Fairmont Waterfront.
- The infamous steak pie at the Fairmont St Andrews has one very unique and local ingredient, The Kilted Kittock. This beer lends its name from a large ravine, the Kittocks Den, located in the East Neuk of Fife. Here, the horizon is dominated by a panoramic vista of white water crashing on the rocky shoreline below and over the body of the North Sea to the Grampian Mountains. The ever-changing ambience of this vast and spectacular view heightens the experience for any golfer or guest enjoying a leisurely stroll. Local brewing company, Eden Mill St. Andrews, brews the beer, seeking to recall that famous view. Exclusive to Fairmont St. Andrews, it is found in all its dining venues.
- Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park has recently launched a new quintessential Windy City tap house experience, Columbus Tap. Chef Atticus has created a fresh Midwest-focused menu to pair perfectly with the gastropub’s unique and extensive beer selection. The line-up includes rare vintage beers, such as the Grand Cru Rodenbach, small batch brews and local craft beers. The launch of Columbus Tap featured Founders beer, a highly allocated beer made in very small batches. Columbus Tap received one keg from a very limited supply and once it’s gone, it’s gone, to be replaced by more rare, small batch beers.
Celebrity Chefs in the House
- It began as a pop-up… and was so wildly popular that Hamilton Princess & Beach Club and New York based celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson decided to make their relationship a permanent one. Marcus’ is the restaurant now occupying the hotel’s former grand ballroom and it features ocean views, a central bar and an open kitchen with a wood burning grill. Menu items include some of Samuelsson’s signature dishes such as Dockyard IPA BBQ short ribs for two and fried chicken and waffles; along with a Sunday Champagne brunch and some authentic Bermudian cuisine done up Samuelsson style, such as grilled Bermuda onion and fish chowder bites.
- A new culinary era has commenced at Mexico’s Fairmont Mayakoba, through a partnership with world-renowned chef Richard Sandoval. The resort now boasts four new restaurants where guests can enjoy the bold flavors and flair of Sandoval’s Mexican, Latin and Asian culinary delights. The new places to dine include an extended terrace for al-fresco dining, a large indoor dining space and two private dining rooms. The redesigned El Puerto restaurant serves up Latin-Asian dishes in a social and lively setting with a menu of dim sum, antojitos, sushi and seasonal ceviches. The experience is complemented by an array of more than 100 selections of sakes and tequilas.