Xanterra embraces healthy foods in national parks
For Immediate Release
XANTERRA SUPPORTS NATIONAL PARK SERVICE HEALTHY FOODS INITIATIVE BY SENDING CHEF TO ANNOUNCEMENT, COMMITTING TO ONGOING IN-PARK HEALTHY AND SUSTAINABLE FOOD OFFERINGS
DENVER, June 20, 2013 – When the announcement was recently made that national parks would promote more healthy foods in their various foodservice operations, the executive chef from the Yellowstone National Park operations of concessioner Xanterra Parks & Resorts was right there preparing dishes representative of healthy and sustainable park offerings.
At the recent event in Washington, D.C., Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell joined National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, Let’s Move! Executive Director and White House Senior Policy Advisor on Nutrition Sam Kass, and executives and chefs of major concessioners to announce that visitors will have additional choices for purchasing healthy, nutritious food at national parks across the country.
Called the “Healthy Parks, Healthy People” initiative, Director Jarvis issued healthy food standards and sustainable food guidelines that will increase the number of menu items available at more than 250 food and beverage operations in national parks.
“We are fully behind this initiative, and we have actually been heading in this direction for a long time,” said Jim McCaleb, vice president of parks north and general manager of Xanterra’s Yellowstone operations. “We are looking forward to providing even more healthy and sustainably produced menu items as part of our new contract to continue managing concessions in Yellowstone.”
McCaleb added that Xanterra Parks & Resorts, long known for its emphasis on sustainable operations, has been offering healthy and sustainable menu items for years in restaurants in Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Crater Lake, Death Valley, Zion, Rocky Mountain National and Petrified Forest National Parks and Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
At the event, Stefan Larsson, executive chef for Yellowstone National Park Lodges, prepared dishes that reflected this new emphasis. Items served at the announcement banquet included strawberry rhubarb gazpacho, juniper smoked bison strip loin, lean turkey sloppy Joes and phyllo baked Montana goat cheese.
The new Yellowstone concessions operations contract was awarded to long-time concessioner Xanterra and means the company will manage foodservice and lodging operations for another 20 years starting in December of this year.
The new Standards and Guidelines and other healthy and sustainable food resources are available on the NPS web site http://concessions.nps.gov.
“When you look at our menus, you see that we have taken them beyond traditional favorites like cheeseburgers and fries, which we will continue to serve as long as people want them,” added McCaleb. “We’ve also taken some of those favorites and added some healthier preparations. Our focus remains quality food that includes an appealing selection of traditional along with healthy and sustainable choices.”
According to Chef Larsson, items already being served in Yellowstone include blackened wild Alaska salmon, vegetable chow mein with tempeh, griddled lentil cakes, farm-raised trout and lean bison, to name just a few.
All of Xanterra’s national parks operations have expanded their healthy and sustainable offerings. At Grand Canyon National Park, for example, initiatives enacted over the years that make the menu options healthier include increasing vegetarian options, serving hormone- and antibiotic-free beef and chicken, reducing some portion sizes, featuring less butter and cream sauces, serving gluten-free bread, substituting baked chicken for fried chicken, adding turkey burgers and veggie burgers to menus and offering the options of egg whites or egg beaters at breakfast.
“Our guests have truly responded positively to the healthy items we have offered, and we expect that this trend will continue,” said McCaleb. “We are honored to support these initiatives and the mission of the National Park Service to make our parks a showcase for healthy living in every way.”
Known for its “Legendary Hospitality with a Softer Footprint,” Xanterra Parks & Resorts® entities include lodges, restaurants, tours and activities in national and state parks and resorts as well as a cruise line, railway and tour operator. Xanterra Parks & Resorts has operations in the Grand Canyon, including Grand Canyon Railway and The Grand Hotel in Tusayan, Ariz.; Yellowstone; Zion; Crater Lake; Rocky Mountain and Petrified Forest National Parks; Mount Rushmore National Memorial; Furnace Creek Resort in Death Valley National Park and five Ohio State Park Lodges as well as the Geneva Marina at Ohio’s Geneva State Park. Xanterra Parks & Resorts also operates Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va., Windstar Cruises and VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations.
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