DFSS is coming up March 29th and we’re bringing some of the participants to you now with a pre-summit interview. In this edition we talk to Samantha De Mello, Food & Beverage Marketing at Grand Hyatt. If you want to see a listing of speakers and sessions, please click here. To register as a delegate, click here.
1. The Grand Hyatt has been a pioneer in introducing plant based foods in Singapore. Please tell us about some of the foods you have introduced.
We are very happy to be the first in SEA to introduce a number of plant-based options including
- Beyond Burger, a plant-based alternative to traditionally beef patties that sizzles, cooks and tastes like beef
- Beyond Sausage, a plant-based alternative to regular pork sausages.
- JUST Egg, an egg alternative made of mung beans
- Omnipork, a pork alternative made of rice and shiitake mushrooms
We were also the first venue in the city to introduce a plant-based lunch buffet in our restaurant, Pete’s Place, using a mix of greens sourced from organic farmers in Cameron Highlands, as well as organic herbs grown on our rooftop garden with fertilisers produced by our waste management plant.
2. What has been your guests’ reception of these foods?
We have always used our food truck to launch our plant-based products, which is a refreshing concept in Singapore to really communicate the unique nature of these products, and we have had really good feedback for our plant-based items.
In the first few months of launching Beyond Burger, we outsold regular beef burgers 3:1, and we have also received enquiries to bring our food truck experience to several outdoor events such as Singapore Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and WWF’s Festival for Nature in conjunction with EarthHour 2019.
More interestingly, we have also started to receive more plant-based requests from event planners and organisers, which proves that more people and companies are starting to truly think about how their actions can positively impact the planet.
3. What advice do you have for other hotels and restaurants who want to introduce more plant-based foods?
The market is definitely more ready for plant-based options than when we first launched ours in 2018, and we believe that the hospitality and restaurant industry has a huge responsibility to protect the planet considering the amount of food we produce and consume.
Don’t be afraid to try. We are not telling people to go vegan but rather to give diners healthier and more sustainable options, to perhaps go green for one meal or one day a week, and to create an inclusive dining experience for vegans and non-vegans alike.
4. What about Hyatt hotels elsewhere? Are they introducing similar foods?
It’s very encouraging to hear that other hotels and restaurants are also introducing plant-based options, and we would be most happy to share our best practice and learnings with Hyatt hotels as well as non-Hyatt brands.
5. Other than plant-based food, what other green initiatives has Grand Hyatt Singapore undertaken?
Seven years ago, our Executive Chef, Lucas Glanville, pioneered this movement within the hotel focusing on introducing sustainable seafood and striving to consistently increase its presence on our guests’ plates.
We’ve been known to be the precursor of this movement in the city. Fast forward years later and we’ve worked tirelessly to expand that original mindset to as many facets of our business as we possibly can. This mindset has grown into several initiatives we have here at Grand Hyatt Singapore, such as reducing our seafood suppliers and focusing on procuring sustainable seafood only, the installation of a food waste management plant and trigeneration plant, sourcing herbs and greens from our rooftop gardens, introducing cage-free eggs, eliminating plastics from our event spaces, and more.
6. What about yourself? Has working at the Grand Hyatt led you to experiment with diet changes?
I find myself paying more attention to healthier options and taking more proactive steps when it comes to living sustainably. It is certainly very inspiring to work with a team that is focused on sustainability as a key aspect of our operations, I am very proud to be part of a team that is dedicated to making a positive impact on the environment in various ways.