Ovolo Hotels is the first hotel group to go fully vegetarian for a year
No bull, just veg
You often hear of restaurants offering vegetarian menus, but you rarely catch wind of a hotel going completely vegetarian across all restaurants, bars and food services. Ovolo Hotels is the first hotel group to take up the challenge with their 'Year of the Veg' campaign. Motivated by the pressing importance of climate change and environmental conservation, the luxury hotel group has decided to focus on creating plant-based cuisine for its guests.
Starting October 1, on World Vegetarian Day, guests and diners at Ovolo Hotels will be able to partake in meat-free meals that are fresh and locally sourced. The hotel group intends to prove that eating healthy can be flavourful, whilst introducing ethical eating and conscious cuisine to its guests. "We want to be conscious about what we're consuming and practice sustainability as much as we can because we believe this can have an enormous impact on the environment and humanity at large," says CEO and founder of Ovolo Groups, Girish Jhunjhnuwala. "To that end, we're evolving our food offerings so that our guests can continue enjoying great dining experiences in a more sustainable manner."
Even with the ongoing pandemic, it isn't throwing a wrench in Ovolo's plans to go green. Despite there being a potential loss of customers, Jhunjhnuwala stands firm in the idea of pushing vegetarian cuisine. "There is always that fear, I will not deny it," Jhunjhnuwala tells us. "There is always some pushback, but if you believe in it then it is easier to convince your customers. Ovolo is all about connecting with our guests and customers, we believe with the overwhelming positive response to our current plant-based and vegetarian restaurants, Alibi and Veda, and our vegetarian offering in other venues (alongside the global movement to more conscious eating) that this is the right move. We believe the response to this will be positive and accepted both from a cuisine and a concept level."
This is not the hotel group's first venture into vegetarianism. It began at Veda at Ovolo Central, Hong Kong's first vegetarian hotel restaurant. It quickly won the approval of diners and became paramount to the hotel group's shift to plant-based cuisines. "We experimented with two vegetarian restaurants — in Sydney, we have Alibi, which is a 100% plant-based concept, and in Hong Kong we have Veda which is Hong Kong's first hotel vegetarian restaurant. It is off the back of the success of both of these restaurants that we made the decision of going all out vegetarian. Our customers loved Veda and also loved Alibi, and we felt that this was going to be a trend to stay," Jhunjhnuwala tells us.
The hotel group is also determined to debunk the misconceptions of plant-based meals — that it isn't limited to salads and green juices. Jhunjhnuwala comments, "People normally associate vegetarian with healthy dining, which it is, however it can also be enjoyed in a unique environment with great wines and cocktails. Ovolo would like to showcase the wonderful variety of vegetarian dining to the world."
Besides a revamped menu at the group's restaurants and bars, hotel guests will also discover that the room service menus now offer a feast of vegetarian dishes that they can relish in from the comforts of their hotel room. Ovolo Hotels have also implemented other eco-friendly initiatives, such as eliminating single-use bathroom amenities made of plastic and replacing plastic straws with environmentally-friendly alternatives, in a bid to save the environment.
Whilst the 'Year of the Veg campaign' is only slated to run for 365 days, the hotel group is looking to effectuate it indefinitely. "If we have a positive response, which I believe we will, then we will definitely look to implement it permanently," says Jhunjhnuwala. "We will also be using this time to look at other initiatives to further this philosophy and have additional impact."