The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2015

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30  /  the tasting panel  /  may 2015 on Honey On the last day of last year's Honey Beverage Summit, you could see the wheels in David Morgan's head turning: "I hadn't even left Seattle yet, and I was already thinking about how we could work with honey," says Morgan, who wasted no time in approaching the National Honey Board on ways to implement honey into the Omni's F&B programs on a national level. "I immediately began to think about honey as a flavor and as a growing trend in F&B, and I knew we had to move ahead." From that sweet kernel, Morgan and the Omni team moved quickly to develop a pool menu highlighting honey, rolling out this month at all 34 Omni properties with a pool. "The goal here is to introduce customers to honey in a way they may have never thought about before," explains Morgan. "We're giving them a little more of a story and educational experience, providing our pool program with a point of difference." To kick off the collaboration, Morgan convened a team of four Omni chefs, Omni brand mixologist Kim Haasarud, along with National Honey Board Ambassador/ Chef David Guas for a two-day immersion event at the Omni Amelia Island. After a honey education, beehive tour, honey tasting and flavor pairing session, the team developed and fine-tuned ten honey menu items, from which each property will feature two food items and two cocktails, each with a honey designation on the menu calling it out as part of the program. In addition, each menu will feature an opening page detailing Omni's "love affair with honey" and explaining that cocktails will be made with "liquid gold." Additionally, since each Omni property strives to create a unique and location-specific experience, Morgan turned to Wildflower honey as his sweetener of choice. An umbrella term used to describe honey sourced from bees foraging nectar from a variety of local flowers, Wildflower honey "evokes a regional play," according to Morgan, who has selected several regional Wildflower honeys to feature on menus. All in all, featuring honey in a surprising place—poolside food and libations—will give the Omni guest the truly immersive, regional experience they're looking for. "With the advent of the Food Channel, people are looking for more than the ordinary hotel or dining experience," comments Morgan. "Honey helps us tell a story that really helps develop a sense of place, and I believe that if our guests can have something great and learn something while they're at it, we're truly succeeding." Honey continues to gain traction as a trending beverage ingredient. In fact, the latest Technomic MenuMonitor data shows a 29% increase in honey mentions on adult beverage menus through Q3 2014 and a 60% increase within the specialty-drinks category. Throughout 2015, THE TASTING PANEL looks at honey's impact on the beverage industry, one tastemaker at a time. Honey Melon Mojito 1½ oz. light rum 1 oz. lime juice ½ oz. clover honey water ½ simple syrup ½ oz. watermelon purée 6 mint leaves Splash of club soda Garnish with lime wedge and watermelon cube With so much happening with honey this year, we're following up with the tastemakers who are putting it on their menus and into their beverage programs. Here's one of the ten cocktails Omni hotels will be featuring poolside this summer. Swe et David Morgan, Leveraging Honey in National Programs with Vice President of Food and Beverage, Omni Hotels & Resorts C M Y CM MY CY CMY K PHOTO COURTESY OF OMNI HOTELS & RESORTS PHOTO COURTESY OF OMNI HOTELS & RESORTS Left to right: David Morgan, Vice President of Food and Beverage; Joshua Hasho, Exectuive Chef, Omni Interlocken Hotel; Robert Ash, Executive Chef, Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate.

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