TORONTO —The Four Seasons Hotel Toronto was abuzz with the energy of young artisans, restaurateurs and hotel operators who heard tales of success from industry veterans last night during the Ontario Hostelry Institute Gold Awards Dinner.
“I’ve been in the business for 35 years and I look at how far Ontario has come as far as the quality of food that we have the pleasure of eating in this province,” said Ruth Klahsen, owner and lead cheesemaker at Monforte Dairy in Stratford, Ont., who accepted an award for Artisan of the Year. “We are so lucky to have lived this journey and we have so far to go.” But, it’s impossible to achieve without supporting each other, she added. “It’s always easy to buy stuff out of France or in Europe but we really need to buy Canadian and be proud of the food we produce here.”
Three Chairman’s Lifetime Achievement awards were presented to long-standing members of the industry, including Mitch Kostuch, Kostuch Media’s late founder, whose son Jim Kostuch accepted the award on his behalf; Grey Sisson, Chairman of SIR Corp.; and John Rothschild, director of Cara Operations Limited, who toasted the up-and-comers of the industry including Top 30 Under 30 winners, who will “go on to achieve bigger, better things than any of us have yet accomplished,” said the executive. “To you, who are in this restaurant industry, I toast you, I congratulate you and tell you to have a wonderful ride. This has been a great ride for me.”
Seven more awards were handed out during the evening to honour those who have made outstanding contributions to Ontario’s foodservice and hospitality industry, including Robert Housez, GM of the Hilton Mississauga/Meadowvale (Hotelier); Claudia Bianchi, owner of All Things Food and Actinolite Restaurant (Media and Publishing); John Higgins, director and corporate chef at The Chef School, The Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts at George Brown College (Educator); Pearle Hospitality (Foodservice Chain Operator); Gordon Food Service (Supplier); Rob Gentile and The King Street Food Company (Independent Restaurateur); and Keith Froggett, executive chef, Scaramouche (Chef).
Stay tuned for the May issue of Foodservice and Hospitality, which features profiles of eight of the Top 30 Under 30 winners.