Thursday, November 11, 2010

Eco-Cuisine and Meetings

Cabrin Kelly-Hale, Director of Event Planning at the JW Marriott Starr Pass in Tucson, defines eco-cuisine as a conscious effort to be aware of what we put into our bodies and how it affects the world around us.

Meetings are not held based on food, but food rates high on attendees’ list of important items.

The food choices that matter at this particular property include free-range chickens and certified humane ranches for meats, a number of local farms that are certified sustainable and organic for vegetables and fruits, organic milk, cage-free eggs, and line-caught fish.

You would think eco-cuisine menus are more expensive but not if you manage them correctly. Organic may cost a little bit more but at the JW Marriott Starr Pass they cook to order. They do not over-order or over-produce. The chef can customize less expensive menus that still meet all the environmental criteria.

When cooking to order that means there are no traditional buffets. The food is never put in chafing dishes and left for guests to serve themselves. Instead, everything is seared, sautéed, assembled and carved. Cooking to order means you never run out of food and you never have food to throw out.

Some types of foods offered at breaks include Green Valley Ranch pecans made into pecan brittle with local honey, made-to-order salsa with locally grown chillies and tomatoes. The chef makes beef, turkey and vegetarian jerky that is all natural. They provide signage highlighting the information which usually becomes a conversation topic for attendees.

This property also offers tours of their organic gardens outside their Primo Restaurant.

At the end of the day they take pride in doing all of these things but if their food did not taste amazing, no one would care. They have to do the right thing and have great food.

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