TORONTO — Hundreds of members of the foodservice and hospitality industry toasted industry-leading award winners on Friday, as part of Kostuch Media’s 27th-annual Pinnacle Awards held at Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York hotel.

The Toronto-based publisher of Foodservice and Hospitality and Hotelier magazines presented awards to companies and individuals who have made a lasting impact on the industry. For Chef of the Year Carl Heinrich, the true impact his vision of hospitality is realized in the nod of approval from diners after they’ve tasted his food at Richmond Station in Toronto. “I opened three years ago with the dream of serving great hospitality and great food,” said the chef, upon accepting his award. “That’s always been the driving force behind my cuisine.”

“Hospitality is really a wonderful industry to be a part of,” said Don Cleary, president of Marriott Hotels of Canada, which won Company of the Year, Hotelier. “We should never lose sight that together, we are creating jobs, livelihoods and careers for the people that work in this industry, and we are creating memories for our guests.” Marriott has only been operating in Canada for 30 years, but the brand is playing catch-up — most recently with the acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “After that closes, we will have over 200 hotels and 45,000 rooms across Canada, and a very large collective pipeline. As such, we are looking forward to being an even bigger part of the Canadian hospitality industry,” said Cleary.

Reinvention is part of the ethos that’s propelled A&W Restaurants of Canada to achieve the Company of the Year award (Foodservice and Hospitality), said Paul Hollands, CEO. “A&W is a business that’s reinvented itself time and time again, and reinvention is easy to say but it’s hard to do, because in the end it requires people and companies to reinvent themselves.” The Vancouver-based company made waves when it revamped its supply chain to source beef raised without antibiotics or steroids, chicken raised without antibiotics and fed a grain-based diet, and eggs from hens fed a fully vegetarian diet without animal by-products. “Many of our suppliers have worked with us for 30 years — they’ve had to reinvent what they do to allow us to reinvent the business,” he said.

Meanwhile, the lasting impact of George Cohon, founder of McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada, will be carried on not just through the chain of restaurants operating in Canada and Russia, but at more than a dozen Ronald McDonald Houses in Canada, which provide a haven for children seeking medical treatment and their families. The hospitality icon, who won the Rosanna Caira Lifetime Achievement Award, was not able to attend the ceremony, but sent Ronald McDonald to accept the award in his place.

Stay tuned for the January issues of Foodservice and Hospitality and Hotelier magazines for a Pinnacle Awards wrap-up.

The full list of winners:

Foodservice and Hospitality magazine:

  • A&W Food Services of Canada (Company of the Year)
  • Aquilini Group (Regional Company of the Year)
  • Pino Posteraro, chef/owner of Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill (Independent Restaurateur of the Year)
  • Carl Heinrich, executive chef/owner, Richmond Station (Chef of the Year)
  • Mother Parker’s Tea & Coffee (Supplier of the Year)
  • Cara Operations (Newsmaker of the Year)
  • George Cohon, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada (Rosanna Caira Lifetime Achievement Award)

Hotelier magazine:

  • Marriott Hotels of Canada (Company of the Year)
  • Easton’s Group of Hotels (Regional Company of the Year)
  • Robert Mercure, GM of the Fairmont Château Frontenac (Hotelier of the Year)
  • Houston Construction (Supplier of the Year)


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