A Taste of Sustainability

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Published on February 21, 2012 with No Comments

A Taste of Sustainability InterContinental executive chef Edmond Weicherding is preparing totally sustainable meals for diners.

Diners can help save the planet with every delicious mouthful at Wellington’s Chameleon Restaurant during it’s A Taste of Sustainability promotion throughout March.

Chameleon is the signature restaurant of inner-city five star hotel InterContinental Wellington, where the philosophy of sustainability is embraced in all areas of the hotel.

For a product – food or otherwise – to be termed sustainable, it can be produced indefinitely without damaging the environment or human health and InterContinental Wellington executive chef Edmond Weicherding believes completely sustainable menus are a sign of things to come.

“Every ingredient used in the A Taste of Sustainability menu is organic and sustainable, from the oil in which the meat is cooked to the overall seasoning.

The A Taste of Sustainability menu was first featured in the restaurant last year and proved popular with diners and the kitchen team alike.

This year’s five-course set menu includes organic Waimarino pork (pork belly with a kamahi honey and gooseberry glaze, served with green elk leaves), Kipdale Farms chicken (breast with a pinot noir jus, roasted roots vegetables and crushed moi moi – a Heritage potato that is thought to have originated from a crop Captain Cook planted in New Zealand in 1773) and Aoraki fresh-water salmon (hot smoked with a kelp and lime crust), accompanied by various ingredients from Commonsense Organics and matched with the delightful Vynfields Organic Wines.

Chef Weicherding knows that organic foods cost more because of the greater care put into production but also appreciates the finer quality and flavour from the products, as well as the all-round benefits in this style of farming.

Waimarino pigs are raised 100% free range and fed exclusively on a special grain, ensuring no hormones, antibiotics or animal by-products enter the food chain.  Raised without nose rings, in their own paddocks with shelter and straw bedding, Waimarino pigs live in a manner that avoids stress throughout their lives; not only better for the animals, but providing meat of a superior eating quality.

Kipdale Farms is one of New Zealand’s main organic chicken suppliers.  Organic chicken is more expensive to produce because the chickens live longer, their food is only ever certified organic feed and the stocking levels – i.e. how many chickens live in an area – are less intensive.  Chef Weicherding has long been a supporter of Kipdale Farms organic chicken, where the birds are also genuinely free-range.

“We really enjoy putting sustainable menus together – it’s a philosophy we feel passionate about and align ourselves with whenever possible, including being part of the Wellington City Council’s Kai to Compost minimum waste programme.  But having a total focus on sustainability gives us a chance to research even more options.”

Weicherding says one of the aims of the menu is to highlight to diners how easy it is to source a broad variety of products – including dry goods and wines – from organic farmers.

To be certified ‘organic’ no chemicals which might harm humans, animals or the soil are used in the foods’ production, and guidelines for the animals’ living conditions and respect for their behavioural needs are important components of organic farming.

“People are using more organic food now but often the main organic ingredients are not combined with other sustainable ingredients or produced in a sustainable way, which defeats a lot of the purpose.”

A Taste of Sustainability, which begins on March 1, offers a set five-course menu for $65 per person (or $100 pp with wine matches from Vynfields Organic Wines).  Reservations are recommended, and the menu runs alongside Chameleon’s Autumn Dinner menu, until March 31.

In 2010, InterContinental Wellington upgraded to EarthCheck from the Green Globe scheme, aiming to minimise its environmental footprints and reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions.  In addition to actually having a Sustainability Policy in place, 10 out of a possible 14 of the assessed EarthCheck indicators are now at or above the Baseline level, with seven of those 10 now at or above the Best Practice level.

InterContinental Wellington also holds New Zealand’s highest level of green-rating in responsible tourism, the Qualmark Enviro-Gold.

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts world-wide work in partnership with National Geographic’s Centre for Sustainable Destinations, which aims to ensure guests at each individual property enjoy enriching experiences that reveal what makes a place truly special, while acknowledging and being active in protecting that environment.  One project under this banner is the annual Responsible Business Day whereby the 166 InterContinental Hotels & Resorts across the world take part in activity that supports their local area for a day.

The world’s first truly international hotel brand, InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts is located in more than 60 countries with local insight that comes from over 60 years of experience.  There are currently 166 InterContinental hotels and resorts worldwide – equating to over 55,800 rooms – and another 64 in the pipeline.  www.intercontinental.com


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