In the day of the health-conscious consumer, it is important for any food provider to stay updated with what is necessary to meet the consumer needs. Veganism continues to gain popularity as consumers begin to understand some of its amazing benefits, such as nutrient-rich eating, reduced waste, weight loss, lower risk of diseases, and so many more!
We spoke to Guest Services executive chefs, Jeff Trefry, and Roland Markart, to see how they are pushing to meet the standard in our GSI units, and offering inclusive options for all of our vegan friends!
“All units and chefs are very flexible because these types of diets are becoming more popular, and we are very open-minded in providing food that tastes great and includes those with restrictive diets.” Roland Markart expressed his willingness and eagerness to jump right on board with the trend in saying,
Take a look at our list of units that proudly offer vegan selections!
Air and Space Museum– National Mall Kiosks
The Air and Space Museum kiosk is full of vegan-friendly items to enjoy today! Some options at the kiosk include Morning Star Farms Black bean burger, house salads, and a veggie sandwich with fries.
Big Sur Lodge
At Big Sur Lodge, you can look forward to vegan options that will satisfy cravings! “The Local” is a vegan dish with miso-glazed grilled tofu, grilled peppers, avocado, grilled eggplants, Portobello mushroom, grilled radicchio, Vidalia onions, and balsamic vinaigrette. The lodge has a vegan Mediterranean masa, and many vegetarian options to choose from, easily adjusted to fit any need you may have.
Bear Mountain Inn
As a beautiful wedding destination, the Inn strives to cater to all tastes and preferences by offering several vegan-friendly options for their wedding menu. It also includes an ENTIRELY vegan menu by wedding request.
The vegan menu created by Bear Mountain Inn’s own catering chef, Armondo Aviles, includes hors d’oeuvres, a cold station, and an interactive station including vegan sliders and a fa-waffle station. Yum!
Staples for creating a vegan-friendly alternative at the Bear Mountain Inn consist of fruits, vegetables, and nut substitutes – like their delicious cashew “cheese” quesadillas! Some of the delectable dishes include: vegan ceviche, empanadas, pulled “pork,” dips and salsas, sliders, and so much more.
Vegan options at the Paradise Inn Restaurant and the National Park Inn Restaurant do not come in short supply! The options include a Cauliflower Pie Fold, Volcanic Vegan Mac n’ Cheese, Falafel Sandwich, Field of Wildflowers Salad, Tacoma Tofu Scramble, and more! Mount Rainier also has a variety of vegetarian options. Substitutions can be made to accommodate a vegan or vegetarian diet.
The Lodge at Breckenridge
The Lodge offers a beautifully colored Vegetable Terrine, full of in-season produce such as tomatoes, basil, squash, and more! This summer staple will have you coming back for more every time.
The National Emergency Training Center
Some menu items at the National Emergency Training Center (NETC) that can regularly be seen include falafel, grilled tofu with rice noodles and Chili Garlic Sauce; cauliflower options, potato-based options, and Pea Curry. The NETC also offers Three Grain Sliders and Marinated Grilled Portobello Mushrooms as burger/sandwich meat substitutes.
Russ Fetting, the Executive Chef at NETC in Emmetsburg, Maryland, describes the unique way that they provide inclusive options to their students.
“We offer a vegan choice on our menu daily. We also work with special diets on a case-by-case basis. When the students arrive on campus, part of the “Welcome” packet is a form asking about any special diet or allergen concerns they may have. We then meet with them one on one and come up with a plan that will accommodate their needs while they are here, ” Chef Fetting said.
The Sculpture Garden – Pavilion Café
The Pavilion Café at the Sculpture Garden proudly offers a wide variety of options for vegan and vegetarian tourists and locals alike. Some vegetarian options include Mediterranean Salad, Mexican Corn Flatbread, and Eggplant Caprese. Executive Chef Edward Verber states, “We also accommodate to our vegan guests with the other vegetarian options and can easily omit the cheese in the Eggplant Caprese and the Mediterranean to further give options to our guests.”
A Vegan Veggie Wrap consists of Balsamic-roasted eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash. Another chef’s favorite is bruschetta tomatoes, fresh basil, baby arugula, and a garlic white bean puree wrapped in a locally produced spinach tortilla. Another vegan option is the delicious Citrus Quinoa salad with pineapple, oranges, grapes, watermelon, and sweet and spicy glazed almonds.
We encourage you to try out any of these menu items! Even if you’re new to veganism, give it a go! You won’t be disappointed with all the variety.
“It is not just our responsibility to provide a variety of accommodating foods, but it is also the guests’ responsibility to tell us how we can improve their experience with us. Don’t be afraid to mention your food restrictions to our staff,” says Roland Markart, Corporate Chef of the Hospitality Division.
When vegan options cannot be found, there are vegetarian options at every Guest Services’ unit, both on the menu and upon request. Ask your chef what they can do to make your meals more accommodating and satisfying to your needs.
For allergens or other intolerances, Guest Services is here to help. “With those with very strict dietary restrictions, such as a peanut allergy, we accommodate by having certain foods prepared in a different environment to avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen,” says Roland Markart