Wellness, women and other things making me thankful

For those U.S. readers, happy Thanksgiving! And no matter where you are in the world, I hope you will spend some time during this festive time of year to pause and give thanks for the many wonderful things in this industry and in your life as a whole.

Today, the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday has inspired me to ponder things I am grateful for as I have the privilege to cover the hotel F&B industry. In no particular order, here are my top five:

1. An emphasis on wellness in a growing array of forms

Increasingly, healthful eating and balanced living even as they translate in a hotel setting are encompassing a broader variety of elements — as they should to offer guests the best possible results. From Even Hotels and its evolving Cork & Kale F&B concept to brands such as Mövenpick and Westin expanding F&B initiatives focused on healthy food and drink, I applaud all the industry’s efforts in this area.

2. Women’s up-and-coming position in the kitchen

One of my favorite stories among everything I wrote this year was a piece showcasing 10 up-and-coming chefs in hospitality, and I’m happy to report four of these honorees were women. It can be tough — for many reasons — for women to take leading roles in F&B, but I am happy to say I believe this is a trend that will only continue to grow.

3. The ever-evolving local movement

The concept of “local” products has become so prominent it almost strikes me as cliché, but there is no question this is the new normal in F&B, and I’m excited to see all the ways chefs are adapting this idea to their own unique needs. Most recently I blogged about a distinctive program at Sofitel Chicago Water Tower, where Executive Chef Greg Biggers is making everything from charcuterie to cheese in house. Talk about delicious innovation.

4. Constant creativity

Even as hotels often copy the best F&B concepts, it’s refreshing to me to observe all the ideas on the cutting edge in this area, from Morgans’ new roaming communal dining experience to the ongoing success of Four Seasons’ food truck to a healthy vending machine from Marriott.

5. Beverages that are fun to drink — even minus the alcohol

Fresh-squeezed juices, house-made sodas and other non-alcoholic beverages are getting a growing amount of attention, and on a personal note, as much as I love a good cocktail or glass of wine, I am nearing the end of my second pregnancy, so whenever I encounter a menu with fun choices for those who cannot or do not wish to imbibe, I rejoice.

Building upon that last point, I will begin a few months of maternity leave soon, and this blog likely will go on a bit of a hiatus, but I look forward to posting here again in the spring.

On a final thankful note, thank you for reading, and please share your own thoughts about F&B movements that inspire your gratitude in the comments.