Hydroponic Container Farm Inspires New Restaurant at Seven Stars Resort & Spa, Turks & Caicos

Seven Stars Resort & Spa Executive Chef Edwin R. Gallardo inside his hydroponic farm.
Seven Stars Resort & Spa Executive Chef Edwin R. Gallardo inside his hydroponic farm.

Resort is First Grower and End-User of Crops Grown in On-Site Hydroponic Container Farm Inspiring New Restaurant Concept; Menu to Feature Dishes Created in Collaboration with Celebrity Chef Amanda Freitag

With a passion for delivering the freshest and most flavorful culinary experiences, Executive Chef Edwin Gallardo, Seven Stars Resort & Spa is realizing his vision for an exceptional dining experience with a true garden to fork concept, The Farm Restaurant on Grace Bay scheduled to open in Spring 2023.

The new restaurant concept will showcase a collection of chef-curated herbs, leafy greens, and micro-greens grown and harvested by the culinary team-turned-farmers in Seven Stars Resort’s on-site hydroponic container farm and rooftop garden as part of a menu that features dishes created in collaboration with Celebrity Chef Amanda Freitag.

“We are excited to not only add our fourth dining outlet The Farm Restaurant on Grace Bay to our culinary offerings, but also bring a fresher, more flavorful and healthier dining experience to our guests,” said two-time Caribbean Chef of the Year and Executive Chef Edwin Gallardo, Seven Stars Resort & Spa. “Supply on the island for even basic needs such as romaine lettuce has been a growing challenge made more difficult since the 2020 pandemic. The solution for us was clear, we needed a more sustainable option that we could self-manage.”

Celebrity Chef Amanda Freitag joins Chef Edwin Gallardo in the kitchen at Seven restaurant to collaborate on farm-to-fork inspired dishes.
Celebrity Chef Amanda Freitag joins Chef Edwin Gallardo in the kitchen at Seven restaurant to collaborate on farm-to-fork inspired dishes.

“As a fan of Chef Edwin and his innovative approach, it was a joy to collaborate with him on dishes planned for the new restaurant using the greens and herbs he and his team are growing in their hydroponic container farm,” said Chef Amanda Freitag. “I know the difference fresh ingredients can make in the taste, texture, and presentation of a dish. I also understand the challenges of procuring fresh ingredients in the region. From both a sustainability and culinary perspective, managing and growing your own ingredients to meet the culinary needs of a resort like Seven Stars and its various food and beverage outlets is a true game-changer.”

The Journey from Chef to Farmer – Within a destination already reliant on imports for 95%+ of what it consumes, Chef Edwin began seeking a more viable, sustainable, and economical solution during the Summer of 2020.

With much of the hospitality industry shut down during the pandemic, Chef Edwin turned his attention to curating his own organic garden of herbs and micro-greens on an unused rooftop space above the resort’s fine dining restaurant, Seven.

The effort yielded fresher-, better-tasting dishes, however space restrictions and weather challenges limited what he was able to grow.

An Industry First – With much of Turks and Caicos sitting on limestone making traditional, soil-based farming difficult to achieve, Chef Edwin sought out Freight Farms, the world’s leading manufacturer of container farms, whose mission to ship farms not food is based on empowering anyone to grow food anywhere through its line of versatile, modular, and easy-to-use container farms and farm automation software.

In May 2022, Seven Stars Resort & Spa received their Freight Farms Greenery™ S hydroponic container, becoming the first hotel/resort to act as both grower and end-user. Within eight weeks the resort celebrated their first harvest.

The result: a culinary experience that now includes hand-grown and harvested ingredients such as Chicarita Romaine, Starfighter Lettuce, Oakleaf Green Lettuce, arugula, iceberg lettuce, kale, basil, and mint – each rich with unmatched flavor, texture, and color when compared with similar produce that takes weeks to arrive via shipping container and is treated with preservatives and pesticides.

The Farm Restaurant on Grace Bay – Featuring garden-style seating and a lively bar, The Farm Restaurant on Grace Bay (rendering pictured above) will be located on the corner of Grace Bay Road, just west of Seven Stars Resort’s main entrance.

The restaurant will feature ingredients harvested daily from the hydroponic container farm, offering its own island version of garden-to-fork dining with pan-Asian influences. With a focus on fresh and healthy options, the restaurant will offer breakfast, lunch (including grab-and-go selections), and a more elaborate dinner service.

Working in collaboration with Chef Amanda Freitag, Chef Edwin’s planned menu for The Farm on Grace Bay will include such stunningly presented and flavorful dishes as Lobster Shumai with Yuzu Ginger; Grilled Chicarita Romaine with Spiced Maple Bacon, Crispy Tofu and Herb & Parmesan Dressing; and Heritage Beef with Brandade, Oakleaf and Chimichurri. Harvested herbs are also being incorporated into the restaurant’s cocktail offerings, including the new, signature Basil Berry Cooler.

In the meantime, crops grown in the hydroponic container farm have already been incorporated into Chef Edwin’s menus throughout the resort’s fine dining, Seven restaurant, the private dining Tasting Room at Seven, the casual, al fresco restaurant The Deck overlooking Grace Bay, and the off-site upscale sports bar The Terrace on Grace Bay.

Founded in 2012, Freight Farms debuted the first vertical hydroponic farm built inside an intermodal shipping container with the mission of democratizing and decentralizing the local production of fresh, healthy food. Since its inception, Freight Farms has refined its product offering to arrive at the Greenery™ S container farm. With global customers ranging from small business farmers to the corporate, hospitality, retail, education, and nonprofit sectors, Freight Farmers make up the largest network of connected farms in the world. AgTech Breakthrough named Freight Farms the 2022 “IoT Monitoring Solution of the Year” for its farmhand® IoT automation software. To learn more, please visit freightfarms.com.

Named for the storied Pleiades constellation which is said to shine brightest over Turks and Caicos, Seven Stars Resort & Spa’s attentive and highly personalized guest service, innovative offerings, and exceptional accommodations and amenities have made it one of the Caribbean’s most iconic, top-ranked luxury resorts. Following a $12 million capital improvements program in 2019, the resort’s offerings now include two oceanfront heated salt-water pools, a third children’s pool, and a full redesign of its lobby and 167 spacious and luxuriously appointed junior, one-, two- and three-bedroom suites with private balconies, stylish furnishings, and gourmet kitchens. The resort is also known for its island-inspired gourmet dining served at its signature fine dining Seven restaurant and The Deck, a popular beachside open-air restaurant and bar; the full-service Spa at Seven Stars Resort; a state-of-the-art fitness center, and Spa Boutique. Seven Stars Resort & Spa is located on Grace Bay Beach and is just 20 minutes from Providenciales International Airport with nonstop flights available from major North American cities and direct flights from London. For more information or to book a stay, visit www.sevenstarsgracebay.com or call (844) 332-5315, and follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

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