lunes, 15 de julio de 2013

Hotel restaurants are a hive of activity

ORIGINAL: SF Business Times
Jun 14, 2013, 5:00am PDT

A new class of tenant at San Francisco hotels is causing quite a buzz.

That would be bees.

On-site beehives are the latest must-have for chefs at top-tier hotel restaurants, with harvesting honey made by one’s own colony fitting neatly into the locavore, farm-to-table, do-it-yourself ethos that now permeates the restaurant world.

The Fairmont San Francisco was the first, installing four beehives in its 1,000-square-foot onsite culinary garden three years ago. It now has seven hives from nearby Marshall’s Farm, which bottles the honey and sells it back to the Fairmont.

The Fairmont San Jose just followed suit by installing its own hives last month. The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa also is on board.

Paul Piscopo, the W San Francisco’s former executive chef, installed beehives in that hotel last year. It just upgraded to 10 hives and hopes to produce another 240 pounds of honey this year, which it will use to glaze its flatbreads, create specialty cocktails and flavor desserts.

Unlike the Fairmont, the W does all of its production and bottling in house.

Now that Piscopo has moved over to the St. Regis as executive chef, he plans to get some beehives buzzing on its roof, too.

Bees, in fact, are something of a thing for Piscopo. “I have a hive at my house,” he said. “It’s like an addiction — almost like having tropical fish.

But don’t expect to get the homemade stuff in room service. It’s reserved for the culinary side of things.

Jim Gardner oversees print and online news coverage of the vibrant Bay Area economy.

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