Culture Dose: Hyatt at Olive 8 Menu Revamp

Forward-thinking food that’s thoughtfully sourced and carefully served.

Sometimes when we hear “hotel food,” we think mass quantities of preservative-laden, buffet-ready grub. But thankfully the times are a-changin’…and luckily for the better (if Hyatt has anything to do with it, anyway). Thanks to a program recently launched by the global hotel brand, Seattle’s downtown Hyatt at Olive 8 will benefit from this new philosophy– “Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served.”

Photo by Corinne Whiting

Inspired by a fax (yes, a fax) received awhile back from the Dalai Lama camp inquiring about Hyatt’s ethical treatment of animals, hotel executives decided to implement a culinary mentality that “will be healthy for people, for communities and for the planet.” Staff members insist that they are “not trying to put the world on a diet,” but rather, they hope to provide their guests with food options that are wholesome and fresh.

Last Thursday I was fortunate enough to feast among fellow journalists, friendly industry folks and a jovial pair of farmers from Eastern Washington. (Allen and Emmy Widman own Palouse Pastured Poultry in southern Spokane County, where they pride themselves on raising all-natural poultry, including USDA certified-organic, free-range broiler chickens and turkeys, grass-fed, free-range chicken pullets and eggs and duck eggs.)

Photo courtesy Hyatt at Olive 8

On our menu last Thursday evening? We indulged in fresh wild watercress and miner’s lettuce salads (with warm chèvre and borage blossoms form the hotel’s rooftop garden) and succulent roasted chicken from Palouse Poultry (flavored with a tarragon sauce). Delectable side dishes included minted spring peas, grilled asparagus and spring onions plus wild mushrooms with Bluebird Farms faro (and truffled fromage blanc). But the piece de la resistance? Our meal finished with rhubarb and cherry hazelnut cobbler (who knew I even liked cobbler?). I left the restaurant smiling, utterly content and vowing to soon return.

With this new philosophy, Hyatt, a company that serves about 24 million meals per year, intends to use only cage-free eggs, all-natural beef and sustainable seafood (not to mention the offer of vegan and gluten-free options). Over the next ten years, they will aim to drastically reduce the amount of calories, sugar and sodium in the dishes they serve. New Hyatt goals range from reducing the hamburger size from eight to seven ounces, introducing recycling programs to their restaurants and hosting farmers markets, to educating all associates on organic eating and mandating that five local ingredients be included on each menu.

The Hyatt at Olive 8, Seattle’s first certified “green” hotel, was awarded LEED Silver by the U.S. Green Building Council in July 2009. (Among other features, the building boasts one of the city’s largest living rooftops.) On the ground level, visitors find the 108-seat eatery Urbane (with its rustic-sleek decor, tempting happy hour specials and live music in the lounge area).

So be prepared to disregard what you’ve associated with hotel dining in the past, and head on over as soon as possible for a culinary experience that’s both delicious and guilt-free.

Hyatt at Olive 8 | 1635 8th Avenue,  Seattle | (206) 695-1234