Fresh herbs are an important part of Bon Appétit’s daily menus, finding their way into marinara sauces, condiments, sandwiches, salads, and side dishes. They also have a short shelf life, adding to kitchen waste and expense. The Bon Appétit team at Oracle-Broomfield in Broomfield, CO, is testing a way to grow all the herbs they need year round, using a small amount of indoor space — and hydroponics.
A 10-by-10-foot room in the kitchen has become a thriving herb garden rooted in water. The process is easy once you set up your lights, pumps, timers, and water reservoir. After adding seeds and nutrients, the team harvested the first crop of herbs in just one month. Now the cooks can pluck exactly as much basil, cilantro, dill, oregano, rosemary, chives, and mint as they need and no more, right there in the kitchen. It’s doesn’t get any fresher or easier.
Customers love the idea that the herbs in their lunch were grown right in the kitchen by the chefs themselves, and Executive Chef Evan Symmes, the resident green thumb, is always happy to give “tours” of the herb garden.