Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Are you vegetarian friendly?

As a business and leisure traveler, I have visited many countries, stayed in a large number of different  hotels and dined at numerous  restaurants. I occasionally complete TripAdvisor or Bookings reviews and sometimes when requested I offer a feedback. I have been struck by the number of establishments that fail at being vegetarian friendly while actually intending to be just that.  I write this short blog to help hotels and restaurants be truly welcoming to vegetarians and vegans. Most want to be truly vegetarian friendly but fail to achieve this relatively easy goal over some basic things.

First is a simple item that makes life difficult for us vegetarians. It applies mostly for breakfasts, and other open buffet type service. Never put cheese or eggs next to meats even if they are on different serving plates. Your non vegetarian guests think nothing of using the same serving utensils for both, leaving the cheese or eggs contaminated and unsuitable for many vegetarians. Leave space between vegetarian and non vegetarian offerings, but something like fruit or yogurt containers between them. Also for breakfast throw in some fresh vegetables or even grilled vegetables from the night before. If you offer  an egg station, then please do use separate pans and spatulas for vegetarians, we can actually smell the tiny bit of bacon fat residue in our food, we often leave our omelettes untouched because of that! 

For lunches and dinners, you need to have more than one and two vegetarian items on your menu. Nothing too complicated, pasta (or pizza) with tomato sauce, pasta with vegetables, pasta with a white sauce. By avoiding butter and using only oil, you make it easier for vegans: for they then only have to avoid milk, cream and eggs.

Always remember to include some actual vegetables, raw or cooked. You don't have to do something very elaborate with the vegetables for we vegetarians do like the taste of vegetables especially if they are fresh and high quality. 

If you really want to be favored by vegetarians then you could include beans and lentils as main courses or in soups. 

Remember keep it simple and watch out for contamination with meat or chicken stock which we can smell. It's not very difficult and it will make a big difference for the satisfaction of some of your clients without infringing on your other clients.

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