The Green House in Bournemouth is regarded as one of the UK’s most sustainable hotels having considered the environmental impact of every single decision it made during a “painstaking” 18-month refurbishment. The man in charge of its F&B, head chef Andy Hilton, explains what it takes to create a kitchen set-up to complement its green ethos.
What do you see as the biggest change in the restaurant industry during the past 10 years?
The biggest change has been that people are very conscious of what they are eating and where it has come from — from the gluten-free, vegan guest to the guest that wants to know where each of the items on the plate has come from. Luckily we have a policy to source locally as we are an eco-restaurant so this plays to our strengths.
What developments have you been focusing on this year?
We are just completing our new terrace at the front of the hotel, which is part of our new eco-garden. We are currently doing tastings of our terrace cocktail menu, which will include drinks using our homemade raspberry sorbet. We also added our outdoor wood-fired pizza oven last year with adjoining hut, which is already booking up for the summer months for private parties for up to 20 and makes a great upgrade to the typical wedding evening buffet.
How do you ensure the kitchen works as sustainably as possible to fit with the hotel’s ethos?
Do you have a kitchen garden, and if so, how much is grown here?
We have a fairly limited space, but we have our own herbs and occasional berries. We do have established links with numerous local suppliers through Bournemouth Sustainable Food City.
How do you choose the right equipment for the kitchen?
The kitchen was completely renovated during the hotel refurbishment. This allowed us to maximise the overall efficiency of the kitchen. Items included the highest efficiency-rated hydrocarbon refrigeration units, induction hobs and a hot fill dishwasher, as well as more simple items based on logistics like sensor taps and sensor grills that only come on when in use. We are very much aware that technology continually improves, so when it is time to replace an item we have to study the market again for the most suitable products.
How much waste comes from the kitchen and what are you doing to combat this?
We are extremely conscious of portion control and avoid the mistake of focusing on quantity rather than quality. Guests are more than welcome to take any leftovers home in our compostable takeaway containers. As all dishes are prepared to order each day, we can ensure minimum wastage. We are great believers of ‘nose to tail’ eating to get the most from the produce brought into the kitchen. Any food waste is segregated and taken to an anaerobic digestion plant in Piddlehinton.