MANILA – Plant-based food is all the rage these days. Even fast food giants now offer vegan counterparts to classic hamburgers and fried chicken.
The shift to embracing a vegan diet is not just a fad because it’s a whole lifestyle. And as more people try to live without meat, more companies are heeding to their call for more plant-based options. This is especially true for the hospitality and food and beverage sector.
Recently, luxury hotel Sheraton Manila added vegan dishes to their food and beverage portfolio.
“I can see a big push coming in the Philippines now, where people are a little bit more receptive not only for health reasons but also for sustainability,” explained Sheraton Manila director for operations Brendan Mahoney.
The hotel made sure that they offer vegan food without compromising flavors. According to Sheraton Manila’s executive chef Kiko Santiago, the team created dishes that would appeal to the Filipino palate, turning to Filipino classics and some kid-friendly comfort food.
The dishes are available on the a la carte menu of The Lounge (lounge bar), S Kitchen (all-day buffet and a la carte restaurant), and the hotel’s in-room dining.
These include the crispy fried kale with tomato salsa and longganisa, sinigang, “beef” rendang, “pork” embutido, pancit bihon, and spaghetti. All of these use plant-based meat substitute made from soy.
There are also “beef” wraps and “beef” tacos that also use soy protein and dairy-free daiya cheese.
For dessert, the hotel made healthier options like the cheesecake that uses stevia as main sweetener and the flourless, eggless, and dairy-free brownie. The pastry chef makes the syrup using fresh stevia leaves.
The Lounge also serves sustainable cocktails using the local brand Archipelago, which is known for its products like Botanical Gin, Lava Rock Vodka, and Barrel Reserve Gin.
Instead of throwing away fruit rinds and stems, the hotel uses them in the cocktails. For instance, citrus rinds are used to infuse their aroma and oil in liquors like gin and vodka, while grape stems are turned into artful garnishes of a drink.
FARM IN TAGAYTAY
Along with launching new vegan dishes, Sheraton Manila also launched their own farm in partnership with Nurture Farmacy in Tagaytay City.
Nurture Farmacy allotted a 300-square meter land for the hotel. This plot grows the basic needs of the hotel like kale, lettuce, corn, herbs, and more.
They also cleverly arranged the farm to from an “S” shape, copying the Sheraton logo.
“Our objective is to have a more holistic approach to sustainability. So this will be the source of majority of the herbs and vegetable requirements that our chefs will be using in the hotel. We look forward to continue to grow and partner with them,” said Sheraton Manila general manager Anna Vergara, adding that the hotel also sources their soy protein from Nurture Farmacy.
While Sheraton Hotel’s kitchen requirements are still minimal, the farm doesn’t cover all of their needs. Aside from Nurture Farmacy, they work with smaller farmers around the area that meet their standards, giving livelihood to the community.
“Our aim is to improve the negative impact of the businesses or activities that we do that affects the environment. The campaign is actually to challenge the farm-to-table concept and even bring it to a higher level. Meaning, we would like to bring it to a more of an advocacy that will eventually impact the social, environment and local community here in Tagaytay,” Vergara said.