The latest restaurant affectation?

October 24th, 2010

30 years ago when we simply could not buy fresh herbs in Brisbane (for our restaurant), I grew what I could at home and Francis flew up the rest from Sydney.   I am an avid home gardener at our 1 acre holiday property in Mapleton on the Sunshine Coast (www.french-cottage.com.au).  I think Stephanie Alexander should have been nominated for Australia’s first saint, for her work in getting young people to grow vegies at school.  So why am I feeling so cynical about the latest “thing” with trendy restaurants i.e. growing their own herbs and vegetables on site? 

Food Detective, Michelle Rowe (Indulgence column in the weekend Australian) lists various uber restaurants around the world that are now ‘ doing it for themselves’.  The new Crosby Street Hotel in SoHo in New York which has a 12th floor rooftop urban vegie patch to provide fresh produce for the hotel kitchen, or Bell, Book & Candle restaurant which has set up hydroponic growing boxes on the roof of the Greenwich Village townhouse in which it sits.  And we have a growing number o restaurants in Australia proclaiming their green thumbs.   But is this just another publicity stunt? 

Well, I hope they have their own full time gardener with heaps of space because frankly I am skeptical as to how any restaurant could grow anything like their fresh veg requirements out the back, next to the garbage cans.  If you want an example of how to do it — the ‘Sun King’ Louis XIV in 1678 commissioned 29 elaborate walled garden ‘rooms’ at Versailles, to feed the palace population of 3000 people.  It covered 20 acres.  Now, that’s a kitchen garden!

2 Responses to “The latest restaurant affectation?”

  1. herveybayon 22 Dec 2010 at 7:17 am

    Nice article. Glad to read your post. I will definitely bookmark this page.

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  2. patrickon 28 Dec 2012 at 7:09 pm

    Yes i think it mostly is just to keep up with the trends. I’ve worked at a few restaurants now (not naming any), who say on their website that they grown their own herbs, but realistically they only grow a few flowers and maybe some micro herbs. However i’m not cynical about it, i think it’s overall a very good thing. Hopefully the trends can turn into something a little more meaningful in the next decade or so.

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