At Chanson Restaurant in the Royal Blues Hotel, their goal is to serve only 100 percent certified organic food.
Executive chef Sylvain Noel has been directed by the hotel’s owner to buy only produce certified organic by the USDA. He even tries to get organic wines for the Lounge, and the hotel’s wine list when available.
“Since day one we made a choice to use only fresh, organic produce and meat. Even the shrimp we get is Florida shrimp,” says Guilherme Goncalves, food and beverage manager for this new hotel just across from the sand in Deerfield Beach.
However, for the sake of full disclosure, he tells me that the shrimp are put on ice in the boats immediately after being caught but they are never frozen. “That makes a big difference,” he says.
Their beef comes from grass-fed cows in northern Florida. The “calotte” of beef is a popular menu item served with morels and artichokes.
“These are the choices we’ve made,” Goncalves says.
The owner is Edward Walson, a film and Broadway producer (Blue Jasmine, Magic in the Moonlight) who chose this sleepy oceanfront town because the beach reminded him of growing up surfing along California beaches in the 1950s. He’s personally chosen just about everything in the dining room as well as the 13 guest rooms and suites, including hand-done Italian linens and silver service.
According to Goncalves, both Woody Allen and Susan Lucci have enjoyed the décor as well as the food at the hotel and restaurant.
Florida organics a challenge
Chef Noel is quickly learning that finding local certified organic produce can be difficult because many of Florida’s small growers use organic methods but can’t afford or don’t have the time to become certified.
During Florida’s growing season, which begins in October, Noel plans to work with Localecopia, an organization that serves as a middleman facilitating ordering and delivering what local growers produce to restaurants that want their harvests.
But for now, he shops for produce almost daily at local stores such as Whole Foods and Fourth Generation Organic Market in Boca Raton where he says he buys high-quality organics, even paying retail.
Growing up in Paris and working in his father’s restaurants, he is used to shopping at local markets daily to get what is best for his menus. He plans to rotate the menus, based on what’s in season monthly.
Noel grows his own organic vegetable garden at his home in North Miami, using his harvest to experiment and cook for his wife and daughter, he says.
The Royal Blues Hotel is the first Relais & Chateaux property in Florida and, given its exclusivity, Chanson restaurant seats only about three dozen guests. Therefore Noel doesn’t require huge quantities of food so he can go for quality.
“We always aim high when it comes to the standards we set for ourselves,” Goncalves says.
If You Go
- Royal Blues Hotel and Chanson Restaurant
- 45 S. Ocean Way, Deerfield Beach
- 954-857-2929; royalblueshotel.com
- The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Call for hours and reservations.