The first five-star hotel to debut in Chiang Mai, Thailand since the pandemic, Meliá Chiang Mai’s concept is all things sustainable.
With 260 keys, the urban Meliá Chiang Mai is all set to open their doors on April 8, 2022. For Suksant Chutinthratip aka Billy, the executive chef, it’s an opportunity to create a truly sustainable menu from end-to-end.
Meliá Chiang Mai is going to be the first five-star hotel to debut in Chiang Mai, Thailand’s mountainous north since COVID-19. With majestic views over the River Ping and Chiang Mai’s famous Night Bazaar, the hotel is an oasis of modern comfort and tranquility in a colourful city of historic charms and cultural attractions.
At the heart of Meliá Chiang Mai is the launch of a ‘360° Cuisine’ concept. The restaurant is going to produce, consume, and recycle through organic and ethical methods. The carefully crafted dishes feature produce from the hotel’s organic farm. The key is to utilise maximum amounts of each ingredient. The leftovers are returned to the farm as compost.
“Our ‘farm to plate’ efforts, sourcing organic produce that travels only a short distance to our hotel and using every part of each ingredient we can — roots, leaves, stems, stalks and more — come full circle with ‘plate to farm’, whereby we return food waste back to the farm as fertiliser in a truly 360° concept,” says Billy.
As part of the program, the hotel’s kitchen works closely with local farmers. They aid with improving sustainability and encourage ethical production, in a bid to make communities and the overall food system more resilient.
Meliá Chiang Mai also recently partnered with ORI9IN The Gourmet Farm, a 350-acre gourmet organic farm located in nearby San Sai District. Here, they grow an array of fruits, vegetables, and herbs on a two-acre plot on the broader ORI9IN property for its restaurants, bars, and spa.
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Through the partnership with ORI9IN, local farmers assist the hotel with import substitution. Which involves growing various kinds of tomatoes, salad leaves, etc. They can also grow specialised ingredients like padrón peppe, which would otherwise need to be imported from Spain. While Meliá Chiang Mai remains committed to its authentic Mediterranean cuisine, it’s not at the cost of their sustainable philosophy.
Billy and Meliá Chiang Mai’s focus on thoughtful cooking comes through in efforts to minimise food waste. This forms the core of the signature 360° Cuisine dishes. Khao Khaab Hor Goong, for instance, is a chilled prawn salad wrapped in sesame rice paper, with piquillo peppers, fried tofu, fermented rice noodles, and fresh Vietnamese mint. The Pla Muek Yang Som is a grilled marinated octopus salad, with caramelised Valencia orange, red radish, and orange dressing.
“For Khao Khaab Hor Goong, for example, we use the prawn shells, prawn heads and garden herb stems for our stock base to poach the prawns, and lemon zest as part of the sauce to give a disarming citrus fragrance and flavor, before the leftover cooking oil is sent to be recycled into biodiesel,” says Billy.
As part of Meliá Chiang Mai’s 360° Cuisine program, guests can have a complete immersive experience by visiting the ORI9IN farm. Diners can learn more about where their food comes from in conversations with local farmers, as well as sustainable farming.
Drawing on Meliá’s Spanish origins and celebrating Spain’s famed gastronomy, Meliá Chiang Mai’s dining landscape will additionally feature restaurants Mai Restaurant and Bar and Laan Na Kitchen, bars Mai The Sky Bar and Tien Pool Bar, and lounges Ruen Kaew and The Level Lounge.