Monday, May 23, 2011

The Chateau Frontenac in Quebec, one of the Fairmont Bee Hotels
The Fairmont Olympic Hotel and The Fairmont Empress are pleased to announce the addition of on-site honeybee programs, new for the 2011 summer season. Both programs will launch prior to May 29, the second annual “Day of the Honey Bee” (a day intended to raise honeybee awareness).

In Seattle, The Fairmont Olympic Hotel plans to install five rooftop hives that will be home to a half million honeybees once they reach full capacity in 2012. Executive Chef Gavin Stephenson spearheaded the hotel’s bee program with Ballard Bee Company’s Corky Luster as a project consultant. With a hive typically yielding 30 to 40 pounds, it’s likely the hotel will have over 150 pounds of honey to use by next year, with the hotel’s signature honey featured on the menu in The Georgian restaurant by 2012.

Honey bee collecting pollen
In nearby Victoria, The Fairmont Empress plans to install 10 hives in the hotel’s Centennial Garden. The lucky bees will pollinate Victoria’s most lavish hotel garden and produce about 1,000 pounds of honey. The program is spearheaded by the hotel’s Executive Chef, Kamal Silva, who also launched the program at The Fairmont Vancouver Airport in 2010. The Fairmont Empress plans to serve the honey during their popular Afternoon Tea service, a grand tradition at the hotel for over a century, as well as on their restaurant menu and in signature honey cocktails. The Fairmont Empress is working with the Honeybee Centre (the same company employed by The Fairmont Waterfront and The Fairmont Vancouver Airport).

 “I recently joined The Fairmont Empress’ culinary team and am excited to ‘bring the bees’ with me from The Fairmont Vancouver Airport after starting the program there,” said Kamal Silva, executive chef for The Fairmont Empress. “It’s great to see Fairmont starting bee programs across North America and beyond as bees play such an important role in food production for the future. There is no other hotel group doing what we’re doing.”

In Seattle, Executive Chef Gavin Stephenson added: “Bee programs are relatively new to Seattle so we are thrilled to be one of the leaders in this charge, alongside Ballard Bee Company. Our culinary team is excited to taste the first batch. Apparently the honey’s flavour is quite unpredictable at first – bees travel up to six miles from their hive and bring back an array of different nectars which is why ‘urban honey’ is so interesting and complex.”

Beekeeping has definitely taken off amongst the Fairmont family with honeybee programs already in place at the following 11 properties (13 in total now): The Fairmont Waterfront (Vancouver), The Fairmont Vancouver Airport, The Fairmont Royal York (Toronto), Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac (Quebec City), The Fairmont Algonquin (St. Andrews by-the-Sea), The Fairmont San Francisco, The Fairmont Dallas, The Fairmont Washington, DC, Fairmont Mayakoba (Riviera Maya), Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club and The Fairmont Yangcheng Lake (Kunshan).

News from Fairmont Hotels and Resorts

Photos copyright Anne Gordon


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