Sustainability is one of the most important challenges facing kitchens today, and something that has become somewhat of a passion in the kitchens of The Merchant Hotel. One of our priorities is to ensure that our chefs understand food responsibility, and are aware that how they cook and the methods they use will impact the future of the environment. With this in mind, we have already made conscious efforts to promote the use of sea lettuces, vegetables and salads in our kitchens; as well as changing the perception of how various elements of these vegetables can be used to complement other flavours and textures.
With sustainability at the forefront of our minds, the opportunity to collaborate with the Northern Ireland Science Festival to host our Sustainable Gastronomy Dinner on 25th February 2016, was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate this huge driving force operating in the kitchens of The Merchant Hotel.
Food sustainability is a wide and ever-expanding topic, affected by what we eat, but more significantly by what we don’t. So much of our food is produced but never eaten – as much as 1.3 billion tonnes globally. With this in mind, our talented chefs took on the challenge to explore the issues of sustainability through this special event, taking guests on a journey of six courses which maximised the potential use of single every ingredient. Each course stemmed from one specific ingredient, with a strong emphasis on what we believe to be sustainable sources.
By focussing on one main ingredient in each dish, we not only had the ability to plan and execute dishes that explore all of the textures and possibilities that ingredient has to offer; but also to reap the rewards of a heightened dining experience, and the satisfaction that that ingredient had been utilised in its entirety.
We are delighted to say that this event was incredibly well received, with excellent feedback from our guests, and we would like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and dedication.