Hospitality/Leisure, News

Claridge’s Michelin-starred restaurant grows its own little greens on-site under LED lights

Hold the kohlrabi, extra marigold please: Peek toward the kitchen at Fera, and you might spot some LED-induced photosynthesis on the marigold or nasturtium that could end up on your plate.

Foodies might recognise this entrée: Raw rose veal and kohlrabi, oysters, LED-grown marigold, apple with kohlrabi juice.

It’s practically word-for-word from the menu at Fera’s, the art deco, Michelin-starred restaurant in London’s posh Claridge’s hotel, where it is one of the signature dishes.

Word-for-word, except for the LED-grown bit. But chef Dan Cox might just as well include that phrase. In fact, he could even say LED-grown in that purplish looking glass case that you might spot on your way to the toilets if you look toward the kitchen.

The marigold is a ‘microgreen’ or as The Telegraph called it a ‘microherb’ that provides mouth-watering flavour and garnish to the meal. And in the case of Fera, the restaurant grows it on premises. Not up on the roof or out in some back garden, but under specially tuned LED lights mounted in what at first glance might look like refrigerated dessert case, except for the violet hue.

Fera also mounts LED grow lights on shelving in the kitchen, so that fresh, live herbs are within easy snipping distance.

‘When you can work with your own alive and fresh product, it’s going to be better,’ says Cox in The Telegraph story. ‘Left in the open, they will wilt in minutes which means buying these products from one of the larger growers is not an option. There, they’re cut and handled heavily before being shoved into punnets. There’s always a trade-off between quality and quantity but when you can work with your own alive and fresh product, it’s going to be better.’

The Telegraph plugged Evogro, the company that provided the grow cases.

‘The advancements in LED lighting technology mean we can build an energy efficient system to drive photosynthesis,’ says Evogro managing director Jason Hirst. ‘We create a perfect growing environment, which leads to a strong and healthy plant full of flavour.’

Perhaps it’s time to say goodbye to ‘choose your own lobster from the tank’ and say hello to ‘select your own flavourful leaves’. 

Photo is a screen grab from the Evogro website