Farm To Table Cuisine
As customers start to return to Asia’s hotels, resorts and restaurants, a new trend is emerging that will change the face of the hospitality industry. In this new era of heightened awareness about personal health and well-being, farm to table cuisine will take centre stage as diners seek dishes made using local and sustainable produce.
At The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat, Sunway Hotels & Resorts’ eco-friendly five-star resort in Perak state, Chef Lee Choon Boon is giving guests the chance to savour distinctive dishes that highlight the finest produce the country has to offer, including local and seasonal ingredients grown on-site.
Chef Boon, who hails from Ipoh, has returned to his homeland following a stellar culinary career that has included spells in some of Asia’s leading hotels and resorts. This highly-skilled head chef sources many ingredients from the Sunway Organic Gardens, a vast 20-acre working farm that is nourished by pure water from the lush, jungle-clad mountains. The diverse harvest of fruit, vegetables and herbs produced in this garden is incorporated into the regularly rotating menus at the resort’s restaurants. All the produce is grown responsibly by a team of local farmers, free from chemicals.
This extensive farm has already achieved the myOrganic license from the Malaysian government’s Department of Agriculture, one of the most prestigious certifications in the industry, which reflects the resort’s deep commitment to the environment.
The brainchild of Sunway Group’s Founder & Chairman, Tan Sri Dr. Jeffrey Cheah AO, Sunway Organic Gardens produced 60,000kg of vegetables last year, which is expected to be doubled in 2021. Any produce that is not used in The Banjaran’s restaurants is donated to tackle the issue of food security in disadvantaged communities and, more recently, to support Perak’s hospitals during the pandemic.
“Farm-to-table dining reminds us about the things that matter – our inseparable relationship with nature, our infinite capacity to nurture, our imperative to live healthily and our inherent responsibility to the stewardship of the planet,” commented Tan Sri Dr. Jeffrey Cheah AO.
Sunway’s founder is also the inspiration behind one of the most exceptional dining experiences in Asia, and perhaps the world. Jeff’s Cellar is The Banjaran’s signature restaurant. Nestled in the softly-illuminated chamber of a limestone cave, amid a 260-million-year-old landscape of mountains and rainforest, this enchanting venue has won multiple awards. In this ethereal ambience, surrounded by stalactites, stalagmites and rippling water, Chef Boon presents a series of captivating culinary journeys and tantalising tasting menus that change with the seasons.
Recently, Chef Boon and his team unveiled the “Tanah” tasting menu, which features the finest Malaysian produce from land and sea. In addition to ingredients grown onsite, this responsibly-sourced menu includes Perak quail, Tanjung Malim Amur caviar (Malaysia’s first-ever caviar), Bario salt from Sarawak, jungle-foraged buah ara figs, vanilla from Kedah, bee pollen from Perak, Ipoh peanuts, and seaweed-fed free-range chicken from Beacon Chicken, a responsible company that provides financial assistance to underprivileged communities.
This epicurean odyssey was personally developed by Chef Boon, who has a deep passion for the flavours of his native Malaysia. With over 15 years of experience, he leads a team of talented chefs at The Banjaran, and even hosts cooking classes that allow guests to create exquisite dishes using ingredients hand-picked from the Sunway Organic Gardens.
According to recent reports, the global organic F&B market is growing rapidly. Having expanded at a rate of 14.6% per year between 2014 and 2020, reaching a total of US$211.4 billion, it is now projected to accelerate at an annual rate of 16.4% between 2020 and 2025.
In the post-pandemic era, guests will become even more conscious of their personal health and wellness. With its focus on organic ingredients, authentic local produce and farm-to-table dining, as well as its incredible, Instagrammable dining experiences, The Banjaran Hotsprings Resort is likely to become a destination-of-choice for foodies from around the world.
Main image: Puyuh – Braised Quail with Extra Virgin Soy Sauce, Rice Cracker, Spiced Broth Sphere, Cured Yolk
Source: Sunway City Kuala Lumpur Hotels.