Published on : Tuesday, May 3, 2016
As part of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre’s (the Centre) CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activities, the venue has established her own 112sqm rooftop garden to cultivate herbs and spices. Established in January 2016, these herbs and spices will contribute to a range of flavourful dishes prepared by the Centre’s 51-strong culinary team, ranging from Kari Ikan Berbendi, a traditional Malay fish curry, to Salade Niçoise, a French classic.
According to the Centre’s Executive Chef, Richmond Lim, the venue hosts hundreds of events each year, serving both local and international cuisine. As such, by growing herbs and spices on-site, the Centre will reduce the food waste associated with over-ordering and benefit the environment by limiting transportation of these ingredients.
“Our top priority is to provide our guests with a world-class dining experience, whatever the occasion,” explains Chef Richmond. “By creating our own rooftop garden that can produce herbs and spices naturally, we are not only establishing a self-sustainable and environmentally-friendly source, but we are also ensuring the freshness, flavour and quality of our food.”
Elaborating on the garden, Chef Richmond says, “Seven herbs, spices and vegetables are currently being grown in the rooftop garden, including Cymbopogon nardus (citronella grass), kaempferia galanga linn (ginger) and Murraya koenigii (curry leaves), to name a few. “While we have only just started using some of the planted herbs and spices in a few of our smaller events, we are looking to expand the garden, add a growth tent (garden canopy) and a dedicated rain harvesting watering system, so we can increase our production levels.”
“Some of our team members will also be going on a site visit to the Cameron Highlands (one of Malaysia’s most popular agricultural areas) to learn best practices and enhance our gardening knowledge and experience, as well as sourcing for additional herbs and spices that we can nurture in our rooftop garden, such as rosemary, basil, ginger flower, thyme and chilli padi,” shares Chef Richmond.
In addition to the rooftop garden, other on-going sustainability and food waste reduction efforts practiced by the Centre include a technique called ‘bookshelf cooking’, whereby non-perishable items are pre-cooked and stored to be finalised à la minute. This helps keep the food fresh and reduces the chance of over preparing for an event. Where possible, non-exposed food that is not consumed is served in the staff canteen, while certain perishable food (i.e. meat) is used for stock.
“We have also developed a formula that calculates the amount of food required for a particular event to ensure minimal wastage. This has been enhanced over the years based on our experience and the consumption rate from various events held here. From our calculations, about 95% of food prepared for an event at the Centre is consumed and we are constantly working to improve this number,” concludes Chef Richmond.