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Food & beverage Plant life


Long driven by a more traditional approach to dining, European hotels are increasingly catering to modern diets, incorporating plant-based cuisine into their menus. Far from simply providing a secondary option for those with alternative palettes, these dishes are being served with panache and style, becoming an art form in their own right. Will Moffi tt speaks to Jack McLaren-Stewart, founder of Saorsa 1875, the UK’s fi rst vegan hotel, Saorsa’s head chef Deborah Fleck, and Tom Booton, head chef at The Dorchester, about why more hotels are embracing veganism and vegetarianism, and the onus this puts on culinary creativity.


I n June 2015, Jack McLaren-Stewart was strolling


through his home town of Cambridge when he glimpsed through the back of a butcher’s van. Dangling idly from the ceiling were pig carcasses cut


n June 2015, Jack McLaren-Stewart was strolling through his home town of Cambridge when he glimpsed through the back of a butcher’s van.


Dangling idly from the ceiling were pig carcasses cut lengthways. The image has stayed with him everlengthways. The image has stayed with him ever since, and compelled him to rethink his attitude


since, and compelled him to rethink his attitude towards farming, food and meat production. “I think


towards farming, food and meat production. “I think I probably cried solidly for three days. I just thought, ow, I can’t do this anymore.’ I switched to veganism


I probably cried solidly for three days. I just thought, ‘W‘Wow, I can’t do this anymore.’ I switched to veganism pretty much there and then,” he explains.


pretty much there and then,” he explains. After graduating from university, McLaren-Stewart


worked for several years at marketing companies running campaigns for start-ups and established brands, until his “worldview shifted” and his


running campaigns for start-ups and established brands, until his “worldview shifted” and his


After graduating from university, McLaren-Stewart worked for several years at marketing companies


reservations around the ethics of these companies


reservations around the ethics of these companies overwhelmed his passion for the role. His search for


a more ethical business opportunity combined with a passion for food and boutique hospitality sparked


a fully-fledged vegan hotel. “The two of us came from these different


“The two of us came from these different directions and we sort of met in this central place


got bigger and bigger, and spiralled a bit. It went from being a glorified Airbnb into a hotel.”


directions and we sort of met in this central place where we were like, ‘Okay, let’s explore the idea of


where we were like, ‘Okay, let’s explore the idea of doing something vegan,’” he says. “[Gradually] that


doing something vegan,’” he says. “[Gradually] that got bigger and bigger, and spiralled a bit. It went from being a glorified Airbnb into a hotel.”


overwhelmed his passion for the role. His search for a more ethical business opportunity combined with


a passion for food and boutique hospitality sparked a conversation with his mother Jackie about starting


a conversation with his mother Jackie about starting a fully-fledged vegan hotel.


Hotel Management International / www.hmi-online.com


59


Saorsa


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