For the second consecutive year, under the guidance of Executive Chef Edward Hancock, students from Girard College High School will be planting domestic and international herbs and vegetables in the hotel’s rooftop garden. They will also help wake the hotel’s 480,000 honey bees. From fresh honey to radishes, jalapenos, tomatoes, basil, thyme, edible flowers and more, the array of organic produce planted will supply fresh ingredients to both Sofitel Philadelphia restaurants, Chez Colette and Liberté Lounge.
“At Sofitel we are passionate about our role as the hotel of the community,” explained Sofitel Philadelphia General Manager, Angela Bauer. “The garden is an example of how we use sustainable resources to provide food for our restaurants. It was a wonderful opportunity to invite this historic school to participate in our gardening initiative.”
Girard College High School was identified as a natural fit due to the school’s own impressive gardening program. The Girard College Community Garden is an in-ground garden, with 25 plots, 4 fruit trees and a 3-tier compost bin. The garden grows about 1,500 lbs. of produce during the growing season, which is then used in meal-preparation on campus and sold to the community at the weekly farm stand.
After the students garden and learn more about nutrition, hospitality and tips to help their own garden thrive; they will move to Chez Collette for a cooking demonstration and tasting. Students will act as Sous Chefs for Chef Hancock and help prepare seared scallops with a tomato, mint and basil salad accompanied by a lemon thyme vinaigrette. They will also help the chef prepare braised short ribs with charred red peppers and jalapenos. Afterward, everyone will enjoy a tasting of the new spring menu.