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Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Bee Story/A Sting Operation/To Bee or Not to Bee

Have you heard the buzz about the Marriott Magnificent Mile in Chicago? Well, honey, let me tell you all about it.

You see, recently, Myk Banas, who acts as the hotel’s executive chef and director of food and beverage operations (he’s a busy bee) was pondering ways of expanding his property’s F & B philosophy. Said philosophy is to make food from scratch whenever possible.

His brain swarming with ideas, he decided he needed a little fresh air (or thus the story goes, as warped though my mind). So, he wandered up to the roof of The Richard J. Daley Center (the skyscraper with the abstruse Picasso sculpture in front of it). For reasons unbeknownst to him, the roof was filled with bees and their cribs. Suddenly, his mind was pollinated with the nectar of a new idea. “What if,” he thought (and again, I take the liberty of creative license in paraphrasing his thoughts--sorry, Myk), “I bought some bees and put them to work making honey? Wouldn‘t that be a sweet idea?”

Banas searched far and wide for the licenses that would allow him to place a bunch of bees on his hotel’s roof. Interestingly, however, there was no red tape to be found. So, Banas found an abbondanza of Italian five-striped honeybees and moved them to his rooftop in 2009.

These Italian stallions worked hard, producing more than 200 pounds of the golden stuff last year. (In this city of big shoulders and big unions, I wonder if these industrious worker bees have labor representation). After a winter in hibernation, Banas expects even more honey for his money in 2010. That money--a $2500 total investment in Italian bees, hives, honey extracting equipment and protective bee suits (made by Armani?).

So, you may wonder, what does the hotel do with a tenth of a ton of honey? Banas brews Rooftop Honey Wheat Beer, he bakes up honey-kissed pastries, and he sticks his honey on the breakfast buffet.

For now, dear reader, I won't drone on further, as I simply can no longer wax poetic on this subject. For more on this story, check out my article in the May issue of Hotel F & B (http://www.hotelfandb.com/).

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