Food: Its all about the spices

March 18, 2011 – It’s all in the spices they say, when it comes to good food. A little chilli here, a little turmeric there and your taste buds are in for an incredible ride.

This is how it should be unless you would rather not indulge. Again I say this is how it should be; but with life going at its present pace, spicy has to be renegotiated and the issue of ‘tumbukiza’ simply does not apply.

When it comes to lifestyle and food, things can get a bit tough for restaurants, but many are starting to come to terms with it.

“There are so many requests for specific dietary needs, and these have been increasing. From Diabetes to Heart Disease to gluten free, it’s becoming more and more common for guests to ask for special foods,” says Head Chief at Fairmont, the Norfolk, Hubert Des Marais.

“Because of the demand we had to come up with a special menu we called Lifestyle Cuisine Plus which covers macrobiotic, raw and even vegan diets. We trained our chefs for about six months to get it right,” he adds. “And its not just in Kenya, it’s a menu we’ve incorporated in all our (Fairmont) hotels.”CHEF_HUBERT_120324606.jpg

Its serious business learning a new menu; because chefs have to understand the aspects of each ailment and whip up dishes accordingly. The waiters too need to be well versed on the different lifestyle diseases to advise customers on what they can eat and what they can’t.

When it comes to Diabetes for example, about 1.5 million Kenyans are living with the disease. Their diets are drastically altered and its hard to make food interesting. That’s where the Fairmont came in.

The foods on Lifestyle Cuisine Plus are cooked with spices and herbs specific to the country the hotel is in. For instance, in Kenya you have dishes such as Grilled Rainbow Trout with minted Papaya Relish, Cabbage wrapped Organic Vegetables with Tomato Dernier Sauce, and Roast Chicken Lettuce wraps with Cashew nuts and Kachumbari; and others.

“It wasn’t easy coming up with the menu, but we’re satisfied that it meets people’s needs and the flavours are exceptional,” adds Hubert.

The main spice for most of these unique dishes is chilli, but Chef Hubert says guests are free to ask the kitchen for any specifics.

Fairmont Lifestyle Cuisine Plus is an extension of Fairmont Lifestyle Cuisine, which is targeted to the most common dietary requests such as low-fat, vegetarian and low-carbohydrate.

And for those who’ve had to give up alcohol, perhaps the Lifestyle Plus menu might interest you in organic wine by Australia’s Angove?

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