Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle is one of the biggest challenges when travelling, as with new cuisines and unusual schedules comes the temptation to let good habits slip. Rocco Forte Hotels has joined forces with Madeleine Shaw, world-renowned trained nutritionist and author of Get The Glow, to tackle this issue and provide guests with guilt-free dining options. Using her years of experience and training, Madeleine has created Rocco Forte Hotels Nourish, a health-focused menu which is available at our restaurants and bars or in guests’ suites. As the new concept launches, we sit down with Madeleine to talk cuisine, philosophies and how travel healthy every time.
You’re a world-renowned nutritionist, author and now menu designer. What sparked your interested in nutrition and wellness?
“When I moved to Australia at 18 I had a terrible diet. I used to eat what I thought was healthy, so my lunch would be some rice cakes and a diet coke. I started working in an organic cafe in Bondi and began educating myself about food. I learnt what to eat, how to cook it, and how to prepare it before I decided to go one step further and study to be a Nutritional Health Coach with IIN. I moved back to the UK and I haven’t stopped!”
What is your philosophy when it comes to food?
“My food philosophy summed up is seasonal, nourishing and tasty. I personally believe that eating well all the time, and finding a sustainable healthy way of eating, will help people be healthy and live well for life! Fad diets make people so unhappy - I know, I've been there!”
Why is it so important for people to stay healthy and be conscious of what they are eating, even while travelling?
“Food is fuel. What we fuel our body with will either make or break our energy levels - which is especially important when travelling. Travelling can leave you feeling lethargic, dehydrated and reaching for the nearest donut. The problem being, when you reach for something sugary it will only provide a quick fix for your energy and half an hour later you’ll feel even more tired. When travelling, try and pack your plates with veggies and drink lots of water.”
You’ve recently launched a new healthy menu with Rocco Forte Hotels. Why did you choose to work with us?
“I live in London and I always used to walk past Brown’s Hotel on my way to nutrition school. It’s one of many iconic hotels in the Rocco Forte Hotels family, and I couldn’t be happier for travellers and diners to be eating my food in such beautiful environments. I’m particularly excited about the in room dining, where people can order healthy snacks, smoothies and meals to their room.”
Please tell us about the new menu.
“My healthy menu that I created for Rocco Forte Hotels was inspired by travellers. Naturally people want to spoil themselves when they visit luxurious hotels but they don’t realise that treating yourself doesn’t have to mean eating lots of unhealthy food. Hopefully my dishes will feel both spoiling and good for you, so you can indulge without the guilt!”
Are there any dishes that you’re particularly proud of?
“I’m proud of my 50 Shades of Green bowl, which has a yummy mix of different salads, including a Quinoa burger, avocado, tahini dressing and pumpkin seed pesto with courgetti and miso kale salad. It really is a plate for everyone, even meat eaters! I’m also proud of my Raw Raspberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake – it uses nuts to get that cheesecake texture and tastes decadent without being naughty – and the Acai Bowl. This picture-perfect breakfast bowl is inspired by breakfasts that I had in Australia. It always transports me back there when I taste it.”
What inspires you when you’re creating menus?
“I look everywhere for inspiration. What I really enjoy doing is taking something unhealthy and putting a healthy spin on it. For example, you can enjoy some healthier cocktails, and my desserts including raw chocolate cherry fudge and raw cheesecake.”
Why is it so important to you to help people with their nutrition?
“For me, I saw how much good nutrition improved my quality of life. My skin was clearer, I felt happier, more confident, less bloated and I lost a few inches. I suffered from severe digestive problems which have now cleared up, and I want to help others do the same! I want to help people feel confident and happy in their own skin.”
Whether you’re dining at the bar or in the comfort of your suite, sample Madeleine Shaw’s Nourish menus for yourself at Brown's Hotel, Hotel de Rome and Villa Kennedy. Share your favourites dishes with us by using the hashtag #BeForte.