The JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa has a new garden that not only serves as a tranquil spot for guests to relax but also provides ingredients for the resort’s chefs to use in its signature restaurant.
JW Garden sprang up in April, the creation of landscape designer Lily Kwong. It’s an elevated garden with a stone pathway and benches for seating, planted with herbs and citrus – oranges, kumquats, tangerines and Meyer lemons – as well as vegetables and edible flowers.
It’s very much a kitchen garden, and Melissa Sallman, executive chef at Sear + Sea, the hotel’s very good steak and seafood restaurant, and chef de cuisine Jose Escanio are incorporating the hyper-locally sourced ingredients into their dishes and cocktails. (More on that in a moment.)
To further the JW Garden mission, the resort has partnered with the Orlando City Foundation to donate gardens to two local schools – Rolling Hills Elementary School and Lockhart Elementary School – as part of the organization’s efforts to promote good nutrition and to bring fresh ingredients to the area’s food deserts. Which is a pretty nice thing to do. The produce from the gardens will be donated to the Orlando community and will educate kids about healthful eating habits and sustainability practices.
But back to how the garden’s bounty is being used at the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek. As you’re probably aware, the resort has a pretty dynamic craft cocktail program. Here are a couple of drinks that are making use of some of the ingredients outside the kitchen door.