Vegetarian food debate divides industry opinion


With the media hype surrounding the rise in demand for vegetarian, gluten-free and just plain healthier dishes, consumers are more food savvy than ever. But is this attitude filtering through to the hotel industry directing chefs to tweak their menus to include more meat-free options?

Ian Grant executive chef, The Alexandra Hotel and Restaurant, Lyme Regis

Yes absolutely, there’s been a huge increase in guests seeking vegetarian meals and as such they are well catered for at the Alexandra and we now have a full vegetarian menu. Despite being extremely thorough with the sourcing of all our meat and fish, we are finding more and more people feel that meat-free meals are a lighter healthier option – even if the choice is not made for ethical reasons it seems to be more around a perception that it’s healthier.

Brendan Fyldes, executive chef, Hotel Football Old Trafford

We’ve had a range of meat-free dishes on our menu since opening in February and they continue to grow in popularity. We aim to give traditional favourites a unique twist at Café Football and that includes some vegetarian classics such as macaroni cheese and our latest addition, Fizzer’s summer vegetable risotto.

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Radek Nitkowski, head chef, Cambridge Street Cafe, Artist Residence, Pimlico

As the Vegetarian and Super Foods market keeps growing over recent years we, at Artist Residence, are experiencing high demand on meat free dishes. Our restaurant Cambridge Street Cafe introduced healthy breakfast options such as home made granola with goji berries, millet grain porridge with blackberries and honey, quinoa, feta, melon and almonds salad for super healthy lunch. Cambridge Street Cafe aims to be seasonal and sustainable therefore our daily specials will include soba noodle and super grain salads, wild mushrooms and barley risotto, lemon verbena and kale based smoothies.

Garry Durrant, head chef, The Arch London (member of Pride of Britain Hotels)

We have seen an increase in demand for steaks and burgers, so quiet the opposite. Whilst people are much more aware of allergens such as gluten and lactose free products which are extremely popular, the request for quality meat has increased since we have implemented our new menu.

Aaron Patterson, head chef of Hambleton Hall (member of Pride of Britain Hotels)

Absolutely, we see a lot more vegetarians than ever before. We have many guests with dietary requirements and requests for dishes to gluten-free for example. This week for the first time ever I have put a vegetarian main course on the main a la carte menu! As far as I am concerned you have to invent new ways to present good meat-free food. Vegetarian dishes require a very creative chef to wow the vegetarian guest.

Simon Bolsover, head chef at Seaham Hall, (member of Pride of Britain Hotels)

We haven’t experienced a rise in demand for meat-free dishes. We continue to see guests selecting from our grill menu, particularly at the weekend where our steaks – especially the Chateaubriand – are a popular choice. However, our guests also enjoy being more adventurous with our locally-sourced à la carte menu. I’m more than happy to cook off menu, too, for any of our guests who have dietary requirements.