If you can’t have a kitchen garden outside, then create one indoors. That is what the chefs of Sofitel London Gatwick have done, and it is already a talking point among hotel guests.
They have turned the base of the hotel’s iconic fountain, situated in the central atrium, into an herb garden with natural light coming from the glass ceiling. Basil, thyme, coriander, parsley, marjoram and chives, brought in as starter plants from a local herb producer, are now growing healthy and picked regularly by the chefs for using as garnishes and for making herb crusts.
“The guests love it as it gives off a fantastic smell as they walk by, and the team really enjoy picking fresh herbs for garnishing dishes, making herb crusts or popping into cocktails,” said senior sous chef, Shaun van den Bergh, who created the herb garden. “Obviously, it doesn’t fulfil all our herb needs as we use a lot in dishes for both our fine dining restaurant, La Brasserie, and the Urban Café, particularly coriander and basil. But we are all enjoying picking them fresh….and I bet you couldn’t get less food miles than the short walk from our kitchen to the hotel’s atrium!”
Sofitel London Gatwick is a luxury hotel directly linked to the airport’s north terminal by a covered walkway. It has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment of all its restaurants and bars. The work took three months to complete, costing just under £1million, and includes the hotel’s two AA-rosette La Brasserie restaurant, the more informal Urban Café, the hotel’s two bars – La Terrasse and Le Ciel bar – plus the executive lounge.