Who doesn’t like a winner? Whether talking about sports, business or entertainment, we’re magnetically drawn to successful individuals and companies. Understandably so. Everyone wants to be associated with them because perhaps, selfishly, on some level, we hope their success rubs off on us.

Ironically, when it came time to write this month’s editorial, I planned to focus on excellence, as I typically do every December in our Pinnacle Awards issue. But, before my deadline, circumstances beyond our control changed what I wanted to say, and why I wanted to say it. Sadly, on Oct. 23, Mitch Kostuch, our president, passed away suddenly, leaving a void in the lives of his personal family and his professional one, both here at Kostuch Media and at TrainCan, our sister company. On a larger scale, Mitch’s passing has impacted everyone he ever met, both professionally and personally, in Canada and throughout the world. The outpouring of affection moments after we announced his passing is testament to the immense respect and admiration Mitch commanded in the industry.

In many ways, it’s fitting that we feature a special tribute to him (see story on p. 4) in the context of this special Pinnacle Awards issue — the one that focuses on excellence. Mitch was truly a special man who cared so passionately about the foodservice and hospitality industries, and he was always inspired by the excellence he saw at every turn, from the operators to the chefs to the suppliers, to the students who will be tomorrow’s leaders. He was always excited and re-energized after attending events and conferences, because he always walked away from them with new respect for the industry and a ton of new ideas.

Of course, Mitch was very proud of what the teams at Kostuch and TrainCan have accomplished. He was particularly proud of what we have achieved in the past 26 years with the Pinnacle Awards program; after each annual edition, he would be the first to congratulate me and the KML team on yet another great event. As such, we dedicate this issue to Mitch and to everything he represented. As a company, we are sad to have lost his guiding spirit, his inspiring personality and his commitment to excellence. As individuals we mourn the passing of a “gentle man,” a humanitarian and a truly special individual. His legacy will live on.

As we close the chapter on yet another year, let’s pause to celebrate the stars that shine so brightly in this industry — including Mitch — and thank them for showing us the way. On behalf of the entire KML team, thank you for your continued support over the past year. We wish you a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year, punctuated by good health, prosperity and always a touch of magic.


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