In her first large-scale corporate collaboration, Alice Waters has joined forces with the Hyatt Hotel chain to provide an organic children’s menu at full-service Hyatt's in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. At a press conference Tuesday at the Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley Waters, surrounded by baskets of fresh bounty from the garden, and representatives from Hyatt -- including local hotel chefs -- talked up this nascent edible experiment while students prepped produce from the new menu for lunch guests.
Waters initially turned down the hotel chain. Undeterred, Hyatt food folk continued to court her and impressed the Chez Panisse founder with their commitment to offering guests quality eats. She made it clear that she wouldn't compromise on a local, organic, seasonal menu. And that's how this unlikely alliance formed. Waters sees the partnership as an opportunity to work with a big institutional setting on the tricky distribution end, including sourcing farm fresh organic food in parts of the country not blessed with California's year-round growing season. Hyatt made a generous donation to the school food reformer's Edible Schoolyard Project, said Waters, ($50,000 it turns out). In exchange, Waters agreed to lend her name, expertise, and food philosophy to the evolving edible hotel program.
Hyatt was already reworking its menus before Waters came on board. Feedback from hotel customers revealed that travelers want to maintain a healthy regimen when they're away from home, said Susan Terry, vice president of culinary operations for Hyatt Hotels and Resorts In North America. The hotel chain's kitchen staff took note. The company's culinary philosophy boils down to: Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served. -- promoting healthy people, a healthy planet and healthy communities. Developed in association with the Partnership for a Healthier America, Hyatt's edible offerings also feature the recently launched “For Kids By Kids” menu tasted, tested, and approved by the younger set.
Given the farm-to-table pioneer's long-term focus on feeding children well, it made sense for Waters to concentrate on elevating the kids' food first for Hyatt. Waters and her team designed the prix fixe menu, a simple, three-course dinner, consisting of a salad, chicken entree, and dessert -- made with all organic ingredients, natch.