Back in February, Meeting News magazine – a leading trade publication in the meetings and events industry – interviewed Executive Chef Fred Mensinga about the Eat Naturally sustainable catering program that he spearheaded at the Hilton Anaheim. The interview sheds some light on this program as well as our approach to sustainability at the hotel.
Sharing a longstanding passion for fresh, natural foods—an interest now sweeping across professional and home kitchens nationwide—executive chef Fred Mensinga of the Hilton Anaheim last month introduced Eat Naturally, a program offering banquet menus with fresh, local, organic, and sustainable food and beverage choices.
In fact, Hilton Hotels tapped the widely respected Mensinga to spearhead the program not just at his hotel but at Hilton’s seven other area properties.
Leading a charge is nothing new for Mensinga though. He launched a culinary trade magazine 18 years ago and served at the helm of a professional chefs organization for eight years. Mensinga stopped slicing and dicing while he explained his inner revolutionary to MeetingNews.
Q Why do you feel that fresh, natural food is so important?
A Everything we eat these days is processed. Stores use chemicals to make fruit look nice, and meat is hormone injected. This trend of natural food had been out there, and I was researching things like fish farming processes when our area vice president suggested we create a banquet menu with products from local farmers using sustainable techniques.
Q But this is only available for meetings and events. Why did you start with that customer base?
A The hotel had already gone green, and Joseph Kruvi, [formerly] the area vice president, thought this would be interesting for the banquet menu.
Q What are some examples of dishes that groups can find at participating hotels?
A At breakfast, there are organic eggs, fair trade coffee, trans fat-free Danish pastries, a berry tart using local berries, as well as almonds for the cream filling. For lunch, there’s an heirloom tomato salad, a free-range chicken breast with organic spinach and tarragon sauce, as well as seasonal California fresh vegetables-to name a few dishes.
Click here to go to the Meeting News website to read the rest of the interview.