• Features

Gluten-Free Moves in the Hotel Industry -Hotel Intercontinental Tokyo Bay-

  • delicious Japan
  • May 2016

Get Helhier With a "Healthful, Beautiful, and Fresh" Special Buffet

Last summer, the Chef’s Live Kitchen, which is the face of the hotel, staged a buffet fair with the cooperation of the US Grains Council that featured sorghum, a gluten-free ingredient.

Chef Isamu Tsukuda, the head chef of the Chef’s Live Kitchen, was working on developing new menu items using US-grown sorghum. A chef through and through, he has worked at the hotel for 20 years, since it opened. His abundant experience began with French cuisine and broadened as he extended into Asian and Californian styles. Using his rich knowledge and skill, he has developed lunch and dinner menu items that make the most of the characteristics of talkedabout gluten-free ingredients. The Fair was lively and busy with many diners looking for gluten-free food, particularly female guests with an eye for beauty.

Chef Tsukuda says “I have been working on gluten-free recipe development for 13 years, partly in response to a request from the US Grains Council, and I put some of the recipes on the restaurant menu, but there was not much reaction at the time. About five years ago, I started to notice that there seemed to be more customers with wheat allergy. In recent years, the numbers of people with all kinds of food allergies, not just to wheat, have been growing, and I addressed each allergy individually, a little at a time. I got a particularly strong sense of this after March 2012, when the Chef’s Live Kitchen opened. The chefs prepare food in front of diners, in a completely open kitchen that has no “backstage” areas, so maybe that made it easier for customers to make requests”.

For the Special Buffet last summer, Chef Tsukuda developed some menus from ingredients that completely eliminated gluten. The hotel is also thorough about matters such as isolating and separating cooking equipment. Their installation of a gluten-free-only oven for baking bread is one example of that. The hotel has also nearly completed its development of the equipment and ingredients needed to accommodate allergy problems and special requirements such as halal.

Chef Tsukuda says “Even if gluten free is a transient thing as part of a health and fitness boom, I think allergy-based requests will go on increasing in future. I want to add gluten-free items to each seasonal fair in future”.