Feedback & Results
“I think it’s huge for a hotel chain to take something like that on. We are not talking about making every restaurant and every dish slow food-aligned, but we are talking about putting on four to five dishes on the menu that meet slow food criteria, which is huge. The repercussions are huge, to the public, to the staff, and that’s what we want — we want more and more people asking what slow food is,” says Allais-Maré.
The new menus roll out this month at Time Oak Hotel & Suites and Time Grand Plaza Hotel, and Fantoli says he is very hopeful. He comments: “It’s a different approach, and a different way of calculating as well, but I am totally convinced that by giving the right products, the right quality, and healthier food, we will get a favourable response. I do hope that people will be able to taste the difference.”
Fantoli confirms that the buffet will possibly have 50% slow food dishes, and the à la carte would have a few slow food options in every section (salads, appetisers, mains and dessert).
The team is now also working on incorporating slow food in its banquet section, combined with Green Globe-certified practices, such as paperless meetings and reduced lighting. Fantoli says that the cold section of the menu is comparatively easier; the hot sections use sophisticated techniques and the pastry section includes a lot of speciality products, which are a little more challenging to source.
Fantoli’s commitment to slow food is not restricted to this project. He says that he is considering implementation of the slow ethos at any new F&B outlets as well.
“We have signed a massive franchise with O’Leary’s — a Swedish sports restaurant — which will be located in Fujairah. It is a typical Bostonian sports café where you have beers, et cetera, but we will replace it with healthy drinks, made from excellent soft drinks and organic juices. When we approached them, I said I would like to inject a little slow food here.”
In addition, Time’s first five-star property, slated to open in 2016 in Dubai Healthcare City, might house the group’s first slow food restaurant with the Snail of Approval. However, all plans will be finalised after the response at Time Oak Hotel & Suites and Time Grand Plaza Hotel is gauged. “We take this as a pilot project. The roll out will depend on how successful it is,” he says.
When asked about his expectations and returns, Fantoli says: “In terms of returns, it is difficult to say anything right now. But I think I will be very happy if we have managed to change the mind-set of our chefs and F&B people — it’s a long-term process and if we manage to change habits, then slow food will become a norm. And this is a priority.”