Plantation Bay’s Food Selection and Preparation Practices
If you think a lot about FOOD — nutrition, history, and philosophy — you might be interested to know a bit about our Food & Beverage philosophy and practices.
Plantation Bay puts more care into food selection and preparation than almost any other hotel. We consider nutrition and health, ethics, comparative culinary history, and customer expectations.
We make our own breads, pastries, ice creams, hamburger patties, longganiza (Filipino breakfast sausage), savory breads, and many sauces. This avoids many additives and preservatives that you are almost sure to ingest in any other resort in the world. We also culture our own kimchi, and our own achara (a probiotic pickle made from papaya).
We are proudly Filipino but our owners have lived in some of the world’s great culinary destinations — France, Spain, Italy, both US coasts, Hong Kong, and London, and have traveled extensively almost everywhere else. Our Filipino chefs have trained in culinary schools in Paris, Barcelona, New York, and Napa Valley. Probably more than any other luxury hotel in the world, we cater knowledgably to both local and multicultural tastes.
Sometimes we follow traditional or expected recipes, and sometimes we don’t; either way, we tell you in advance what to expect. For example, our Roman-style Carbonara in Cafe-Bar Palermo is very similar to what you will get in Rome, while unlike what most people outside Italy think of as carbonara. Meanwhile, we grill our Kagoshima steaks in a totally different way from the Japanese — it’s (Gasp!) Well-Done — and we explain exactly why we choose to do that. (Come find out!)
Many hotels and restaurants claim to offer “only the finest ingredients”. Sometimes we do, and sometimes we don’t. We import a very specific brand of Belgian butter to make croissants that rank with the best on earth (having learned how to hand-make croissants in Strasbourg). We use only whole cream for our ice cream, not mostly milk like the Italians and not cellulose extenders like the Americans. Still, we want to serve budget-conscious guests, too, so many of our recipes call for affordable, “good-enough” ingredients.
There is an ongoing scientific-medical debate over cooking oils. We don’t claim to know the ultimate truth, but have decided to use olive oil for cold or low-temperature applications, and coconut oil for deep-frying. Coconut oil is classified as saturated but the “saturation” consists mainly of Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), which some studies seem to show are beneficial. See https://www.forbes.com/health/body/what-is-mct-oil and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9217113.
In contrast, most vegetable oils are produced by complex refining processes which may entail other risks, especially when they are reheated several times, as all deep-frying oils are. Canola, for example, is often described as “heart-healthy”, but it is actually a genetically-modified crop, developed in Canada after World War II to find an alternate use for rapeseed, which is inedible and was originally cultivated to make grease for heavy machinery.
MSG transparency. We have a clear stand on monosodium glutamate: we use it. The 1970s urban myth that MSG is harmful was racist in origin, singling out Chinese restaurants in the US yet ignoring hot dogs, hamburgers, and many other non-Asian foods with much more added MSG, not to mention nitrates. Read what the US FDA has to say: Questions and Answers on Monosodium glutamate (MSG) | FDA. Glutamate and MSG are chemically identical, and are metabolized in the same way. Glutamate provides umami and is found naturally in all meats, cheese, and some fruits and vegetables like tomatoes; most processed or packaged foods contain added MSG whether you know it or not.
Still, if you are adamant that you don’t want any added MSG in your food, based on the recipes we use we can recommend a number of choices, such as salads (but not all dressings), eggs, steaks, our home-made hamburger patties (but not ketchup), grilled vegetables, most seafood, most Indian food, and most noodle dishes.
Sustainability and ethics. We do not serve shark’s fin or marlin, nor will we allow guests to bring such food in. We used to offer foie gras but stopped a few years ago. Our salmon is from Norwegian fishpen-farms; we agree that this is not ideal in terms of nutrition, but fish-farming is more sustainable than catching wild. Wild salmon also costs 4-5 times more, though most consumers cannot tell the difference by taste or appearance.
Religious, cultural, or health restrictions on your diet? Please tell us in advance and we will make reasonable efforts to provide food that suits your needs. We already have a wide range of dishes for a varied international clientele. However, if you are mortally allergic to peanuts or gluten, the truth is that these are everywhere in our kitchens, so we will have to work together to find safe dining options for your stay.