Lemon sole wins award for Marriott chefs
January 11 2011 Lewis Smith
Pan fried lemon sole
Chefs at a flagship London hotel have won an international prize for the best sustainable fish dish.
The team of 16 chefs at the 140 Park Lane restaurant in the Marriott Park Lane hotel, in the UK, beat off entries from thousands of other chefs around the world with their recipe.
Pan fried south coast lemon sole with Canadian cold water potted shrimp proved such a hit that it was served to Bill Marriott, the chairman and chief executive of the US-based Marriott International hotel chain, and his powerful executive committee.
The five star Park Lane hotel was declared the winner of the competition, which was open to all 3,600 hotels and properties run by the Marriott International group, within hours of it being awarded a four blue fish rating by Fish2fork.
The award for the most sustainable fish recipe was a reflection of the effort chefs at the 140 Park Lane restaurant have made in recent months in revamping their menus and their buying guidelines to avoid using threatened and overfished species.
Kavita Bengali, executive chef at the restaurant, said after being told she and her team had won: "We are very happy. We are working to being sustainable - we were the first Marriott to push this in the UK - and this award gives the whole restaurant a lift."
Gareth Marsh, director of operations at the Marriott Park Lane, added: "We are absolutely thrilled. The lemon sole is certainly going to be a signature dish for us now."
Making marine sustainability a key element of the restaurant's buying policy has meant the menus have been re-written. Mike Berthet, of M&J Seafood, worked closely with the hotel to advise on which fish could be served up and to set up a reliable supply network of sustainably caught seafood.
Smoked eel used to be one of the best-selling dishes but is no longer served because European eels have suffered dramatic population declines in the last 30 years and are now considered to be endangered. Overfished stocks such as wild-caught Atlantic halibut have also been removed from the menu.
Marriott International, which includes a score of brands including Renaissance and Fairfield Inn, became the first major hotel group to adopt a sustainable fish policy but the measures taken at 140 Park Lane are much more radical and offer a blueprint for the sister hotels to follow.
The lemon sole used in the winning recipe was caught by the South West Sustainable Trawler Group, primarily based in Brixham and Newlyn in the UK. The shrimp was from a fishery certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council.
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