'The future of hotel food': Marriott partners with River Cottage for new menu

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: River cottage, Sustainability, Marriott international

Anthony Barnes (executive chef, Cardiff Marriott); Gary Richmond (Chef Tutor, River Cottage); and Gary Armitage (executive chef, Hollins Hall)
Anthony Barnes (executive chef, Cardiff Marriott); Gary Richmond (Chef Tutor, River Cottage); and Gary Armitage (executive chef, Hollins Hall)
Marriott Hotels has today partnered with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage to revolutionise its food offering in a bid to become ‘sustainability leaders’ within the hotel industry. 

New seasonal menus will be introduced at two hotels - Cardiff Marriott and Hollins Hall in west Yorkshire – in October, with a view to being rolled out across the group’s other 50 UK properties. Ingredients will be sourced from local suppliers and dishes created in collaboration with River cottage.

“Culinary enjoyment is a crucial element of any travel experience and the partnership with River Cottage will not only enhance the guest experience but hopefully encourage local people to try our restaurants too,” said Osama Hirzalla, vice president of brand marketing & eCommerce for Marriott International in Europe.

Video: Marriott's new menus

Ingredients for the new menus will be sourced from local suppliers and dishes created in collaboration with River cottage. Graig Farm in Newton will provide organic Welsh lamb for a signature dish including shoulder of lamb, smashed celeriac, chilli and thyme. Meanwhile, Swillington Farm near Leeds will produce beef for a signature dish of slow-cooked beef brisket with anchovy, rosemary potatoes and a red wine sauce.

The partnership will also see changes in the following areas of Marriott’s food offering:

  • ‘Future Fish’ ​– A new programme that aims to select and serve fish and shellfish from sustainable sources
  • Local sourcing​ – Increase the percentage of food sourced by each Hotel from within a 60 mile radius to 80 per cent
  • Menu change frequency​ – Increase the number of times the restaurant menu changes, from quarterly to daily
  • Waste management​ – Further reduce food wastage from a current level of 5%
  • Sustainability rating​ – Improve the Sustainable Restaurant Association rating of each hotel
  • Organic meat​ – All meat used in the restaurants will be organic
  • Free range chicken​ – All chicken used in the restaurants will be free range

Chefs at the Cardiff Marriott and Hollins Hall hotels have undergone ‘rigorous’ training at the recently launched River Cottage Chefs’ School, also obtaining City & Guilds-accredited certificates in a range of competencies, from procuring sustainable food through to butchery and nutrition.

SLOW food

Chris Griffin, head of education at River Cottage, added:  “This is an exciting project for River Cottage because of the substantial changes we can help Marriott make in procuring and cooking food. 

“The new menus embrace our SLOW philosophy – Seasonal, Local, Organic and Wild - and we are delighted that local food heritage is being celebrated at each hotel. This is the first phase of a project that we hope will grab the attention of the hospitality industry.”

River Cottage Chefs’ School launched in spring 2013.​Its primary objectives are to develop learner knowledge and competency in craft skill, menu development and business sustainability. Working with a range of learners from the young and unemployed through to executive chefs and business managers, Chefs’ School aims to educate those employed within the hospitality and tourism sectors.

This partnership is the latest in a line of initiatives from Marriott International to increase the sustainable practices of its signature hotel brand. Earlier in the year, the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) named Marriott the only hotel group in the UK to achieve a Three Star Sustainability status.

Related topics: Business, Restaurants, Hotels, Hotel Trends

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