The Eating Habit Evolution: The Transition From Dining In The Past To Today's Plate Style
By Brian Contreras Director of Culinary Operations, Americas, Hyatt Place & Hyatt House | August 11, 2019
I'm often asked what kitchen or cooking trends I'm seeing. It should be no surprise that sustainable sourcing is top of mind for most chefs and restaurants. As trained chef and the corporate culinary director for two hospitality brands, Hyatt Place and Hyatt House, I too am always thinking about how to scale sustainable practices across hotel food and beverage operations, all while meeting or exceeding expectations of the thousands of guests that walk through the doors of our hotels every day.
The food industry is going through a very important evolution where diners are demanding healthier options, transparency and accountability. Consumers want to be part of the experience and better understand the story of the food they're eating – where did the cow come from, how was the cow raised, what breed, is the ranch engaging in sustainable practices, and so on. It's this curiosity and deliberate awareness that drives me to focus on not only the freshness and quality of the products, but also the environmental impact and animal welfare.
My journey as a chef began more than 10 years ago, but the practice of responsible eating was instilled in me at a very young age. My grandparents immigrated to the United States from The Philippines in the late 1970s, and it is their "grow what you eat" and "zero waste" mentality that has deeply influenced me, both personally and professionally.
When I was brought to Hyatt's corporate office in 2018, I was tasked with reimagining the breakfast offering at Hyatt Place hotels. Because of my belief in sustainable sourcing, responsible vendor procurement and reducing waste, this was a great challenge to undertake as there are more than 300 Hyatt Place hotels across the U.S., many of which are franchised and have a high volume of transient guests. Before overhauling the existing breakfast offering, we embarked on a year-long breakfast journey in order to examine how we were doing business and to fully understand our guests' preferences. Research indicated consumers have increased quality, convenience and personalization expectations when it comes to food and their dining experience. They want flexible food choices and they are seeking fresh, regionally sourced, unique food experiences and ingredients. Furthermore, I considered the effects our food and beverage decisions have on the environment and I felt compelled do more and address guests' growing curiosity and demands related to sustainability.
With this in mind, as well as the results from Hyatt's consumer insights and the many taste tests across the U.S., the new Hyatt Place breakfast was introduced in late 2018 with a focus on holistic, regional and craft food offerings. Most notably, the new breakfast closely aligns with Hyatt's Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served. philosophy, which guides the way we design menus and purchase ingredients that are good for Hyatt colleagues and guests, good for the planet and good for local communities. Hyatt's food philosophy encompasses a variety of initiatives, including a holistic global sustainable seafood strategy in conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), sourcing cage-free eggs and more.
In fact, the new Hyatt Place breakfast brings Hyatt's food philosophy to life by serving guests cage-free scrambled eggs, cage-free hard-boiled eggs and all-natural bacon and sausage. Additionally, a variety of vegetarian and gluten-free options are available to provide guests with more options that flex to meet their dietary needs or restrictions. The breakfast itself draws from food culture across five of the country's regions – the Atlantic, South, Heartland, Southwest and West Coast – to give guests a sense of place. This includes items like a Mediterranean scramble with chicken sausage on the West Coast or a turkey sausage and pimento biscuit in the South. The idea is for guests to get a literal taste of the region they are visiting.