Executive Chef, Bank of Montreal Conference Center
Executive Chef Murray Hall at BMO Institute for Learning
Growing up in the then-rural community of Salmon Arm B.C., executive chef Murray Hall learned at a very early age the joys of eating and preserving the bountiful produce of the Okanagan Valley. He was practicing the local food philosophy way before it became a buzz word.
Chef Hall a long-standing member of both the Dolce Hotel and Resorts Group and WHG Culinary Council, took a lead role to bring the highly successful Thoughtful Foods for Thought Minds market dining and Nourishment Hub concepts to “the table” for guests to enjoy and support their personal lifestyle choices.
As Executive Chef of the BMO Institute for Learning in Toronto, operated by Dolce Hotels and Resorts, his mandate to maintain a high level of culinary creativity and help keep the center’s clients focused and ready to learn is both an effort of art and science of inclusive dining.
Move Over Meat
According to Hall, we are at the forefront of a new wave trend moving toward plant-based meals and center of the plate plant-based proteins. Interest and expectations have moved well beyond the classic vegetarian and vegan customers. “There is an overwhelming increase of guests willing and wanting to give classic protein selections a break, even for just one meal”
Chef Hall fully understands that for Vegetarians and Vegans getting enough protein in their diets is essential – thus, it’s the first area of healthy cooking he looks to when creating a menu. While expected classic vegetarian proteins such as green peas, spinach, broccoli are found on his menus, he more often finds himself working with amaranth, quinoa, lentils and hemp hearts plus a variety of seeds and nuts to create dishes which provide alternatives to rice, beans, and salad.
“My spice and seasoning selection has also changed; nutritional yeast, liquid smoke, tamari, sriracha, mirin, rice vinegar, coconut oil, and different nut butter really bring out the flavor in these types of entrées. The biggest thing for me is the appearance, flavor and “mouth feel” of the dish. I want the dish to tick all the boxes and still give the meat-loving carnivores an exceptional experience as well as the customers that choose the vegetarian and vegan diets.”
As Hall continues to follow and explore this new trend he finds that he is exceeding the expectations of those with other dietary needs (i.e. gluten or lactose-free) with simple recipe changes that do not compromise