Sustainable fish farming in ocean waters, environmental preservation, and a salmon served on eco-friendly French dinnerware unite in two new partnerships forged by BENCHMARK, a global hospitality company. Leaders in sustainable practices, Verlasso and Revol, join Benchmark in its ongoing efforts to provide sourced, healthful, and environmentally responsible food. Verlasso is a salmon brand, sustainably farmed in Chile’s Patagonian region. The company farms salmon by taking the process from hatchery to harvest. Revol, a 250-year-old French company, produces bakeware and dinnerware made from clay created in Sainte-Uze, a village in the Southeast of France.
“Benchmark has been committed to creating innovative, sustainable practices in every aspect of our operations, especially pertaining to our culinary offerings,” says Olivier Gaupin, the company’s director of culinary operations and Maitre cuisinier de France. AquaChile, one of Chile’s leading fish farming companies, will supply Verlasso salmon to Benchmark’s properties and Revol will provide its environmentally-friendly dinnerware. Verlasso salmon and Revol dinnerware are expected to debut at Benchmark properties throughout the United States in the coming months. Diners can look forward to this fish presented on Revol tableware. Gaupin says, “This exciting partnership is another way Benchmark is elevating its cuisine while also ensuring sustainability remains an important part of our business model.”
“Now that our industry is in recovery mode, it is essential that we continue to evolve these practices by aligning with partners who share our core values and commitment,” Gaupin says. “Consumers are increasingly concerned about the source of their food and the methods by which it is grown, harvested, prepared, and served. Every facet of the process is under review from the use of pesticides and the humane treatment of animals to the safety of dinnerware used.” Gaupin also points to concerns about seafood that have increased, even as the public becomes aware of its nutritional value. Fish may lower the risk for certain conditions, such as heart attack, stroke, and even depression. Loaded with nutrients, fish contains protein, Vitamin D, and other vitamins and minerals. It is also a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to growth and development. Fish are part of such popular eating plans as the Mediterranean, pescatarian, and Paleo diets.
“Unfortunately, fish isn’t always a healthy choice for ourselves or the planet,” says Gaupin. In researching fisheries and their methods, he came upon Verlasso, based in the Patagonian region of Chile. Verlasso’s parent company, AquaChile, is one of only a few companies authorized by the Chilean government to work in this sensitive area. This led to a meeting with the Verlasso brand’s Kelly Haden and the formation of a new partnership where Verlasso salmon will be supplied to Benchmark, assisting the company in its efforts to provide ongoing education to chefs, team members, and guests about the importance of eating sustainably raised fish.
According to Kelly Haden, Verlasso salmon is raised in the Humbolt current, a cold low-salinity ocean current that flows north from Southern Chile to Peru. The current supplies water and supports ocean nutrients to feed the salmon, resulting in fish that are healthier, firmer, rounder, and more active. In addition to these nutrients, the Verlasso salmon are fed a feed created by AquaChile that is made up of a mix of plants, algal oil, forage fish trim, and supplements. The Verlasso diet ensures a consistent flavor and color for which the fish are known. The salmon features a firm and flakey texture and can be enjoyed sashimi-style.
Because metals are always a concern in fish, AquaChile developed a steel alloy netting system free of anti-copper foulants. Pens are low density to avoid overcrowding, which results in an inferior fish product.
These responsible practices enable the Verlasso brand to supply salmon year-round and to offer consistent quality and pricing. One of the brand’s sustainable policies is that fish are only harvested when they are ordered. “We don’t sell on the spot market and we don’t harvest and store our fish,” Haden says. The company is committed to proper stewardship of its location in Patagonia, a protected area of glaciers, forests, and waters, governed by Chile.
Dinnerware at Benchmark properties will reflect sustainability. Revol porcelain creates dishes and cooking utensils from the ground up. For 250 years, the French company has made its own porcelain from clay, kaolin, feldspar, and silica. Enamels are made of toxin-free components. The family-owned firm has passed these processes down from generation to generation, creating a product line that meets health and safety standards set by numerous states and countries. Revol products are cadmium- and lead-free.
According to Revol’s Helene Fouchy, Revol porcelain is fired at high temperatures, making it non-porous. “Unlike other culinary porcelains, Revol porcelain does not absorb oils or odors. Consequently, it does not affect the taste of your food and guarantees perfect hygiene,” she says. Designed to last, the smooth and resistant enamel on the porcelain does not scratch and is easy to clean thanks to its non-stick attributes.
Revol has put in place an eco-friendly plan that impacts its operation. Industrial wastewater is recycled, liquid waste is treated at a purification station while mineral waste is taken to a cement factory. A new, low-consumption kiln has been installed that is also used to heat the factory workrooms. Fouchy also points out that 90 percent of Revol’s packaging is made from recycled cardboard.
Benchmark’s Gaupin has been aware of Revol’s products since his apprenticeship as a chef in his native France. “Revol’s cookware is highly regarded by culinarians and the versatile dishes with their varying shapes and colors give us limitless creative options,” Fouchy agrees. “Our tableware is ideal for hoteliers. One set and color can be coordinated for in-room dining, others for different restaurants on the property and to create a customized service of banquets and events.”