Ecotourism and the Culinary Arts

Our SponsorsHay House, Inc.

by David Flegel.alberta-beef

Look for restaurants with sustainable practices.

Ecotourism unites communities and encourages conservation in order to minimize the impact of travel on the environment. Having grown up in the prairies of Saskatchewan, I live and breathe sustainability and have a passion for naturally sourced products. Growing up, I always believed knowing where your food came from is very important. As executive chef of Hyatt Regency Calgary and Thomsons restaurant, I know that it’s possible for restaurants to do their part.

With the popularity of the local-food movement, more and more restaurants are buying from local producers or even growing their own food. For example, we have created a rooftop garden for Thomsons, Hyatt and the neighboring Catch & the Oyster Bar to use in our culinary creations. Its cedar box “pods” house a variety of produce, from carrots and rainbow chard to rosemary and edible flowers. The garden caters to numerous dishes in the restaurants, including pickled beets and jams.

Thomsons sources nearly all of its products locally and embraces free-range, ethically raised dairy and protein products. Initiatives such as these, especially when combined with an environment where creativity and teamwork thrive, result in an environmentally savvy value system that creates delicious dishes while supporting the community.

Many restaurants are working with local charitable and community organizations in ways that benefit all. In some communities, restaurants donate leftover food to shelters and soup kitchens to reduce waste. We collaborate with Apiaries and Bees for Communities, a local project that helps educate the public and industry about the importance of beekeeping. Our recently purchased bee apiary, consisting of two honeybee hives, has been placed in the rooftop garden, supporting community development and sustainability while providing us with the luxury of fresh honey. The bees are expected to produce forty to eighty pounds of fresh honey per hive. This campaign will help to halt the decline in bees while promoting our values of using quality organic components in our dishes.

Whether you’re travelling or just out for dinner with friends, choose restaurants that embrace sustainable practices such as these. Hyatt was the first hospitality brand to make a global commitment to serving food and beverages that are good for people, the planet and communities. Restaurants that are committed to local producers, environmentally friendly practices and helping their communities allow you to enjoy fine meals while minimizing your environmental impact.

David Flegel, award-winning chef and the executive chef for Hyatt Regency Calgary, is one of Canada’s premier chefs. His culinary experiences span the globe.


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