Back in the fall, when I was on the road promoting The Damage Done, I had the good fortune to read at the Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont, PA, and to stay at the Fairmont Pittsburgh. The latter is a gorgeous tower of glass and steel that opened last March just a stone’s throw from downtown’s trendy Market Square District and PNC Park. As much as I loved the hotel’s elegant, spare design, the best thing about staying there was hearing the news that Fairmont was very close to announcing a gluten-free initiative that would affect every hotel it owns.
That initiative has just become public: Lifestyle Cuisine Plus, a new menu that is available upon request to guests who have specific diet-dependent conditions. Celiac disease/gluten intolerance is on that list, as are diabetes and heart disease. The menu also guarantees options for macrobiotic, raw and vegan diets.
Here’s how Fairmont describes it in the company’s official release:
Fairmont chefs have been trained to prepare a vast array of special dietary and allergy-specific meals and are equipped with Nutritionist Pro™ by Axxya Systems (www.axxya.com), cutting-edge recipe analysis software to help customize entrees and menus to fit with guests’ requests for caloric and nutritional requirements. Utilizing nutrient-rich ingredients, clean cooking methods and local food products, diners at Fairmont, whether in a restaurant, bar, banquet or in- room, can be sure dishes are wholesome, balanced and full of taste.A typical Fairmont Lifestyle Cuisine Plus menu includes a selection of appetizers, entrees and desserts to address diabetes, heart healthy, vegan, raw, macrobiotic and gluten-free diets and will contribute to guests’ well-being, vitality and energy. Guests with specific food allergies and sensitivities are invited to have a direct conversation with the chef in order to plan their food options during their stay.While the same nutritional parameters guide Fairmont chefs across the globe, actual menu offerings reflect the distinctive style and unique food products of each destination. A sampling includes Baked Tofu with Bean Noodles (gluten free – Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa); Arame with Sunflower Seeds, Chives and Mustard (macrobiotic – Fairmont Beijing); Zucchini, Carrot, Portobello and Cashew Butter Pave (raw – Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club); Cornish Crab Cake and Marinated Cucumber & Grapefruit Salad with Homemade Aioli (gluten free – Fairmont Bab Al Bahr); Chilled Pea Soup with Tomato and Key West Shrimp (DASH and heart healthy – Fairmont Turnberry Isle); Free Range Chicken with Quinoa (DASH and heart healthy – Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Seattle); and Chocolate Ganache Flan (vegan – Fairmont Hotel Vancouver).
So Fairmont hotels from Acapulco to Zimbali are now guaranteeing choices for gluten-free guests. In a move that I think is a particularly nice touch, the company has already posted some of these recipes online. If guests want to re-create the Cornish Crab Cake, Marinated Cucumber and Grapefruit Salad or the Chocolate Ganache Flan, they can. Recipes and more information about the program can be found at www.everyonesanoriginal.com. I’d love to hear from readers who stay at Fairmont properties about their dining experiences there. But in the meantime, bravo, Fairmont!