Keeping it Sustainable on the British Virgin Islands

The Bitter End Yacht Club and Resort can serve as a model of sustainability
Priscilla Pilon

The resort's chefs show off some freshly-caught lobster.

Located on the northern end of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), The Bitter End Yacht Club and Resort knows that its best feature is its pristine coastline and protected harbor for sailors. Keeping the resort beautiful without compromising comfort has always been the goal for its long time owners, the Hoken family. And serving sustainable cuisine at the Bitter End is an integral part of the resort’s commitment towards keeping their part of the island clean.

So how to they make sure the cuisine is both sustainable and delicious? It begins with careful menu planning. Because everything needs to be brought to the island by boat, the chef makes sure to order precisely what he needs to feed the guests at this all-inclusive resort without undue waste. Local fish is served daily and pieces too small to serve are saved in the fish stews. When trimming tenderloin, the pieces not large enough to serve as an entrée are used in their spectacular pepper pot stew (a shot of Pusser’s Rum can be added by guests for an extra special version of this local favorite soup). [related]

According to executive sous chef Rodrick Beazer, fresh fruit served for breakfast goes into fruit salad for lunch and can be combined with other ingredients, including fresh herbs and lemongrass grown in their greenhouse, to make tropical salsas served at dinner. The greenhouse enables the resort to serve ripened tomatoes and okra, which makes the chef very happy. His dream, he told us, is to maintain a bee colony on the island big enough to produce large quantities of honey to use in his recipes. 

Baked goods are made on the premises by talented pastry chef Winston. Known to all in the BVI as a master baker, Winston’s fresh bread and baked goods rival most found in France. As an added bonus, by baking everything onsite, packaging materials are eliminated and Winston can bake only what he needs, when he needs it, to reduce even more waste.

Everything in the kitchen from egg cartons to plastic bottles are recycled whenever possible. Anything that can go back to where they were produced and refilled is sent back by boat to begin the cycle all over again. Vegetable oil is saved and returned back to Tortola, the main city in the BVI.

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In keeping with the Bitter End’s philosophy to keep the resort organic (both with the buildings and the cuisine), the commitment to sustainability is strong. The resort has always generated its own electricity and collects and distills its own water. Solar power boosts the island’s need for clean energy. The Bitter End even reuses grey wastewater from guest’s showers to irrigate the hillside plantings, so it is not surprising that their commitment to sustainable cuisine is just as strong. The food was delicious, innovative and fresh.  It felt good about eating all our meals there knowing the majority of the fresh food was sourced locally, and that care is taken to preserve the island for generations to come.