Like today’s meeting planners, Stone Age hunter-gatherers led their tribes from place to place. For team activities such as finding food, their versions of meeting apps were sharpened sticks, bows and fishing nets. Then humanity marched onward, yet what’s this? As an antidote, perhaps, to modern life, chefs are returning to platings that showcase Stone Age-like foraging, as well as sea life caught or gathered in sustainable ways. Here is a sampling of such restaurants.
The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Washington
Internationally acclaimed, James Beard Award-winning chef Blaine Wetzel reopens his 26-seat restaurant for the season this month, and those who’ve been there say it’s totally worth the two-hour drive from Seattle, followed by a ferry ride to his tiny island—and foraging ground. Ever-changing the offerings by time of year and nature’s vagaries, he brilliantly integrates wild ingredients such as sea cucumber, fermented chanterelle juice, black currant leaves, side-stripe shrimp and smoked smelt.
Ames Boston Hotel, Massachusetts
A century of history and the luxurious ambience at this much-lauded financial district hotel belies the dedication of its Cultivar restaurant to the wild things. An on-site hydroponic garden (in a shipping container) is supplemented by foraged ingredients and sustainable seafood to round out the hyper-seasonal cuisine. The hotel has exclusive event access to The Old State House across the street, where the Declaration of Independence was declared.
Sea Island Resort, Georgia
This iconic, Forbes Five Star property off the southeastern coast of Georgia encourages guests to enjoy an ocean fishing outing, bring back the catch for bragging rights—and then let the resort’s chefs prepare it for their dinner. Groups have 40,000 sq. ft. of indoor meeting space and an island’s worth of outdoor options. There are 390 guest rooms, divided between The Cloister at Sea Island and The Lodge at Sea Island.
The Listel Hotel, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Forage restaurant at this art-filled, boutique hotel is true to its name by actively working with local farmers, fishers and foragers to showcase the Pacific Northwest. Knotweed, nettles, mushrooms and fiddlehead ferns are among the tastes of the untamed that are incorporated into the kitchen’s offerings, which includes a weekly “bison board experience.” The entire hotel is zero waste. Forage caters to groups in 3,700 sq. ft. of meeting space.