In April 2019, KML announced it would take over stewardship of the Top-30-Under-30 program. Previously operated by the Ontario Hostelry Institute (OHI), the program is an annual initiative that recognizes and celebrates the top-30 young professionals across all sectors of the foodservice and hospitality industry. The high-profile program celebrates and recognizes future generations of hospitality leaders who are and will continue to make a difference. The brainchild of Bruce McAdams, assistant professor of the University of Guelph, and Charles Grieco, former president of the OHI, the program was launched 14 years ago and, during its history, hundreds of individuals have been recognized — many of whom have gone on to stellar hospitality careers.
With the passing of Grieco last year, the torch has been passed to KML to take hold and move it forward. “We’re thrilled and humbled to have the opportunity to do so and we’re proud to continue recognizing tomorrow’s leaders who undoubtedly will make the industry more vibrant, more successful and more socially and ethically relevant,” says Rosanna Caira, editor/publisher, KML. “We look forward to keeping our readers updated as to how the program will evolve in the future, but one factor will remain constant: by strengthening the Top 30 Under 30, we’ll continue to honour the memory of the man who made it all possible — J. Charles Grieco.”
KML is proud to present the winners of this year’s Top-30-Under-30 Awards. Not only are these individuals great at their jobs, but they’ve also shown leadership or leadership potential and have sought to better the industry through their professional and/or industry-related volunteer work.
Pastry Chef, Predator Ridge Gold Resort, Vernon, B.C.
Credited as an energetic, highly skilled and ambitious young chef, Tina Tang began her career within the foodservice industry during high school, working in kitchens part time and joining the North Vancouver Island Chefs Association as its youngest member. She went on to complete the Professional Cook program (Levels 1, 2 and 3) at North Island College on Vancouver Island before receiving Red Seal Certification. She’s worked in a number of kitchens throughout B.C., including The Breakwater Restaurant, Quails’ Gate Winery and The Grapevine Restaurant at Gary Monk Winery, before taking on her current role as pastry chef at Predator Ridge Golf Resort. Tang has received a number of accolades during her career, including Okanagan Chefs Association’s Junior Chef of the year (2014 and 2015) and Chef of the Year (2018); the Fred Rose Award (2012) from the North Vancouver Island Chefs Association; and Tang is the youngest chef to receive the Canadian Culinary Federation’s Western Chef of the Year award (2018). She has also competed in a number of competitions, including the most recent IKA Culinary Olympics, where she won a bronze medal in the Pastry Arts category in addition to competing as part of Culinary Team British Columbia.
Executive Chef, Hexagon Restaurant, Oakville, Ont.
Mexican-born chef based in Ontario, Rafael Covarrubias discovered his love of cooking at a young age in his family’s kitchen and earned his first ‘Cuisine Diploma’ at Le Cordon Bleu shortly after finishing high school. After honing his craft in a number of leading Calgary restaurants, he moved to Oakville, Ont. to lead the opening team at Hexacon Restaurant prior to assuming the role of executive chef of both Hexagon and 7 Enoteca. His leadership led to Hexagon being ranked among the top Best New Restaurants by Toronto Life magazine in 2018. Most recently, Covarrubias won the North America San Pellegrino Young Chef competition in New York City and will now represent North America in the Grand Finale in Milan next year.
Sous Chef, Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa, Cambridge, Ont.
Dan Angus began working in the restaurant industry in high school as a dishwasher at East Side Mario’s. At the age of 17, he was made a certified trainer in recognition of his drive and professionalism. While completing the Culinary Management Program at George Brown College, he completed the placement portion of the program with chef Marin Kouprie at Pangaea restaurant in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood. After five years studying and working in Toronto, Angus worked in Michelin-starred restaurants in New York before taking on the role of garde manger at Langdon Hall. Angus has since worked his way to senior sous chef and, in this role, has contributed to the development of the upcoming Langdon Hall cookbook. He also mentors and trains young cooks and is recognized as a driving force behind Langdon Hall’s sustainable- and ethical-sourcing initiatives.
Assistant Winemaker, Rosewood Estates Winery, Beamsville, Ont.
Wine is in her blood and Erin Rolanty has become a sponge for knowledge in the wine industry over her six-year career. Rolanty has worked as a cellar hand at wineries around the world, including stints in Germany and Australia, and spent years refining her skills before becoming the assistant winemaker at Rosewood Estates Winery. She’s a become a Swiss-army knife in the viticulture world, obtaining a certif-icate of merit from the Wine Appellations of Ontario for an introductory wine knowledge course, as well as an Ontario Certificate Diploma Certificate Winery and Viticulture Technician. Her experience with every facet of viticulture, coupled with her determination to grow and learn, makes her a force to be reckoned with in the workplace.
MEGAN VAN DER BAARS
Social Media & Project Manager, Fairmont Royal York, Toronto, Ont.
Megan van der Baars’ credits her career in hospitalty to a passion for travel, hospitality and culture. She majored in Hospitality Management/Business at Florida State University before moving to Toronto to take part in the leadership-development program at the Fairmont Royal York. The program led her to the Sales & Marketing department, where she excelled in the role of public-relations coordinator before being promoted to Social Media & Project manager. Van der Baars pursued additional education while working at the hotel, completing a post-graduate PR Certification from Ryerson University. She’s credited with increasing engagement across Fairmont Royal York’s eight social-media accounts by 45 per cent since taking on her current role in 2018. She also played an integral role in projects such as the hotel’s recent multi-million-dollar renovation and the creation of the hotel’s Vision Labs — an interactive colleague townhall aimed at creating internal engagement. She’s also involved in committees such as Accor’s Planet 21 and RiiSE initiatives, holding the role of co-chair for the latter.
Undergraduate Research Assistant, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont.
Robinson’s career path has been fuelled by a lifelong passion for food and the environment, leading her to leverage industry connections and experiences to become a change-maker within both fields. She completed a Bachelor of Commerce, Hotel and Food Administration (Co-op) at the Gordon S. Lang School of Business, where for her co-op placement, she worked at Four Seasons Resorts and Residences, Whistler, B.C., in its food-and-beverage department. In her current job, Robinson’s work has focused on single-use plastics, including working with Dr. Simon Somogyi on a paper on single-use plastics in restaurants. Robinson founded and organized the Forward Food, Sustainable Food Systems Student Conference in Guelph.
Events Manager, Andrew Peller Ltd., Grimsby, Ont.
Madison Vine has always been passionate about the hospitality industry. As the events manager at Andrew Peller Ltd., Vine has planned and executed more than 250 events annually across four properties, including strategizing, managing budgets, assisting with marketing and promotion and working with business and tourism partners. In 2019, she began teaching at the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Sport at Niagara College in addition to her duties at Andrew Peller. She’s also active on a number of committees.
Assistant Director of Human Resources, Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Toronto, Ont.
Amanda Lemos began her career in hospitality as a summer hostess at JW Marriott The Rousseau Muskoka Resort & Spa’s restaurant. She went on to complete a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management at Ryerson University, with a minor in Human Resources. She furthered her education while working in the industry, achieving a Certified Human Resources Leader Designation (CHRL). Her career path led Lemos to work in several Toronto hotels, moving up the ranks in human-resources departments, before joining Sheraton Centre Toronto as supervisor, Human Resources. In her current role as Sheraton Centre’s assistant director of Human Resources, Lemos leads recruitment initiatives, while managing hiring and onboarding processes. She also supports the hotel’s senior management team in driving employee engagement.
Co-Owner and GM, Meuwly’s Ltd., Edmonton, Alta.
Dedication, volunteerism and a profound focus on community are just some of the qualities seen in Peter Keith. After graduating with a Journeyman certificate/Red Seal/Blue Seal from Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in 2012, Keith joined the culinary team at NAIT as a volunteer coach, where he stayed for five years. Since 2017, he’s been the presiding officer on the Edmonton Cook Apprenticeship, the director of the Canadian Culinary Fund and the secretary of the board on Edmonton’s Chef’s Association. In 2019 he added Board Chair of the Culinary Program Advisory Committee at NAIT to his résumé. Keith is currently the co-owner and general manager of Meuwly’s Ltd., where he designed, implemented and managed all aspects of Meuwly’s Artisan Food Market, growing the start-up to $750, 000 in annual revenue by its second year.
JUSTIN DANIEL TSE
Sous Chef, Atelier and THRU Ottawa, Ont.
Justin Daniel Tse grew up working in his father’s Chinese restaurant. He graduated from the Culinary Management program at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ont., before moving to Ottawa to work in a number of restaurants, including Social Restaurant. He then spent two years as a consulting chef, working with Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality on restaurant openings. Prior to joining the team at Atelier and THRU in 2018, Tse spent five years at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge on Somerset Island in Nunavut, as its executive chef. In his current role as sous chef of Ottawa fine-dining restaurants Atelier and THRU, Tse is credited with bringing the level of professionalism in its kitchen to an all-time high.
NICK YULI LIN
Sous Chef, Constantine; F&B director QJD Peking Duck Restaurant, Toronto, Ont.
Nick Yuli Lin has worked in kitchens his entire life, spending more than 11 years in some of the finest restaurants in Guangzhou, China and in Toronto. His love of cooking led him to George Brown College, and during this time, Lin worked at Toronto’s fine-dining restaurant Alo. Since graduating in 2016, Lin has represented Canada three times on the world stage as part of Bocuse d’Or Team Canada, finishing as high as second place at the Continental Selection in 2018. Lin’s passion, work ethic and knack for learning on the fly have guided him to new heights, working as a sous chef at Constantine in Toronto, cooking specialty dishes and helping run a kitchen comprised of 20 peers.
General Manager, Canoe Restaurant & Bar, Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality, Toronto, Ont.
Many mentors have helped shape Jane Suh’s career and the greatest lesson she learned from them is to always act in a guest-first manner. Described by her peers as intelligent, warm, well organized and well respected, Suh began her restaurant career with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) as a Food & Beverage supervisor following graduation from Toronto’s Liaison College of Culinary Arts. After working her way up through the ranks at MLSE, followed by a stint at the Chelsea Hotel, Suh joined the team at Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality, first as the bar manager at Jump Restaurant in 2016 and then manager at Canoe. In 2019, Suh was named general manager of Canoe, where she helped lead the well-known restaurant through a full renovation and re-opening.
“When you work in hospitality, you’re lucky to be able to name a handful of people who have affected you personally and professionally,” says Tracy Tucker, director of restaurants for Oliver & Bonacini. “For me, Jane Suh is in that handful. When Jane is in charge, I don’t worry. I know things will get done and they’ll get done the right way — with conviction and a sense of doing the right thing by her managers, staff and guests.”
LUKAS VALLEE VALLETTA
Director of Front Office, Royal Service & Reservation, Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu, Malbaie, Que.
Lukas Vallee Valletta began his hospitality journey at the tender age of 15 as a dishwasher at Quebec’s Château Vaudreuil Hotel & Suites. Inspired by the strong work ethic of his parents, Valletta put in 12-hour shifts at the hotel. At the age of 17, he moved to the 152-room W Montreal as a bellman and later as night auditor. Two years later, he moved to the Hôtel Le Crystal where he took on the role of receptionist and concierge. That’s when he realized he’d found his true passion for the hotel industry and enrolled at l’Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ) for advanced studies in International Hotel Management. Following graduation, Valletta joined Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, first at the prestigious Queen Elizabeth in Montreal as Housekeeping supervisor, followed by the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto as assistant front-office manager. During a 14-month stint as department head night manager at the Royal York, his front-office team achieved a 50-per-cent increase in upsell, almost doubling the total from 2016. At the age of 26, Valletta moved on to new adventures, taking on the role of director of Front Office, Royal Services & Reservation at the 405-room Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu in Malbaie, Que. In his role, Valletta ensures service standards are met and exceeded while actively seeking feedback and following up on guest comments.
Business Manager, Nicholas Pearce Wines Inc., Toronto, Ont.
Passionate about wine, sales, business, travel, wine-making trends and food, Ryan Zanette is the perfect fit for his current role of business manager for Nicholas Pearce Wines. After graduating with a Bachelor of Finance from Gulf Cost University, he pursued his winemaker and viticulture technician training at Niagara College. He also achieved his Level 3 WSET (tasting only) in 2017. Zanette joined Nicholas Pearce Wines Inc. a year ago as the youngest and newest member. His job requires a significant amount of multi-tasking, working with the LCBO monopoly, more than 400 restaurants, more than 1,000 private consumers, 100-plus winery partners and local couriers.
“We know Ryan will be an integral member of our team for years to come and help define
the next generation of hospitality leaders,” says Nicholas Pearce, managing director, Nicholas Pearce Wines Inc.
Director of Asset Management, InnVest Hotels, Toronto, Ont.
Adam Haick is a director of Asset Management at InnVest Hotels. As a key member of the asset management team, he directly oversees a large portfolio of Canadian hotels, working closely with operations, capital, legal and finance teams to maximize asset values. Prior to InnVest, Adam held progressive roles at Carpedia Hospitality, where he worked with hotel senior leaders to optimize labour management and improve processes. Haick holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Ryerson University and a Business Administration Degree from Fleming College.
Restaurant Manager, Imago Restaurant Inc., Toronto, Ont.
Pallavi Misra has worked in a number of dynamic food-and-beverage environments. She began her career as a management trainee with Taj Hotels & Resorts in Mumbai, India before coming to Canada. A graduate of University of Huddersfield (U.K.) with a B.A. (Honours) in Hotel Management, in 2017 she took on the role of restaurant manager for Imago Restaurants Inc. in Toronto.
Event Manager, Culinary Tourism Alliance, Toronto, Ont.
Landon Logie’s path to becoming event manager at the Culinary Tourism Alliance is sprinkled with success. Since graduating from George Brown College in 2017 with a Bachelor of Business in Hospitality Operations Management, she’s been at the helm of some of the Culinary Tourism Alliance’s biggest events. Logie’s hard work, dedication, exceptional creativity and planning skills have been put on display at events such as the Terroir Symposium — including periphery events such as the Welcome Reception, After-Party and Rural Retreat. She’s also responsible for the planning of Feast On events across Ontario. More recently Logie was elected as a member of the board of directors for Festivals & Events Ontario (FEO), where she undertakes the handling of special events and acts as an ambassador for the organization.
Food and Services Manager, Chelsea Hotel Toronto, Toronto, Ont.
In her current role as Food and Services manager at Chelsea Hotel Toronto, Karla Gomez is credited with driving improvements and departmental efficiencies, as well as
service consistency within her department. She joined the hotel (then the Delta Chelsea) as a customer-resolution agent in 2013 and went on to hold a number of roles within the F&B department. As Food and Services manager, Gomez is responsible for inventory,
hiring and training, scheduling, payroll, monthly reports, forecasting and budgeting for the department. She also monitors all aspects of F&B outlets — including menu development, food prep and presentation — to ensure guest experience and service and prepares assistant managers for the next step in their careers. Prior to joining the Chelsea, she completed a degree in Culinary Arts at Universidad Regiomontana (Monterrey, Mexico). She continued her education, completing a diploma in Hotel and Restaurant Operations at New Brunswick Community College, as well as an MBA Global Management from Universidad Regiomontan.
PAUL VAN DER MERWE
Commercial Winemaker, Arterra Wines Canada, Mississauga, Ont.
Paul van der Merwe’s knowledge of and passion for viticulture has fuelled his early success in his field. During his time at Brock University he excelled, winning the Academic Achievement Award and Cuvée Golden Ticket Award in 2016, both of which are handed out for academic excellence, leading him to UC Davis to pursue a Master of Science, Viticulture and Enology. His research project on winery tank cleaning and sanitization earned him $33,000 in research grants from UC Davis, a research project which he would soon bring with him into the workplace. Hired in 2017 as an assistant winemaker by Arterra Wines Canada, van der Merwe has ascended the ranks of the company. As a cellar supervisor, he obtained more than $100,000 of investment for different capital projects, one of which will save an estimated five-million litres of water annually. Now, as commercial winemaker, he’s designed a top-sampling and tank-verification protocol to maintain a wine’s integrity, resulting in the saving of 80,000 litres of wine, He’s also responsible for the blending of up to one-million litres of wine per week in his current position.
Chef de Cuisine, Bar Buca Eglinton, Toronto, Ont.
Raffael Ventrone is recognized as a respectful and innovative leader with a natural ability to mentor others. As chef de cuisine for Bar Buca Eglinton, he created opening menus and protocols for the restaurant and is responsible for inventory, costing, hiring and training. He completed the Culinary Management Program at George Brown College and the school’s Italian Postgraduate Diploma — during which he worked at Relais La Fontanina in Italy for several months.
Chief Investment Officer, Easton’s Group of Hotels, Markham, Ont
Suraj Gupta spent several years as an advisor to his family’s business, The Easton’s Group, before joining the company officially in 2017. With a strong background in finance and strategy, Gupta overhauled Easton’s Group’s capital-allocation structure and investment strategy to allow the company to experience its most-successful period to date. With Gupta’s help, Easton’s Group has grown to become Canada’s largest private hotel developer and one of Toronto’s most prominent real-estate developers. He also launched Rouge Insight Capital to diversify his family company outside of real estate, to add value to his community and help build out further technology and innovation within the hospitality industry. Gupta is also passionate about giving back to the community and volunteers a significant amount of his time to tackle global issues regarding education, youth empowerment and inequality.
Revenue Manager, Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, Montreal, Que.
Isabelle Herington had spent years refining her hospitality skills around the world before coming to Canada. A graduate of Northwood University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Hospitality Management, she moved to Quebec City in 2014 and spent a year in the leadership-development program at Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. During this time, she stood out from her peers, showcasing her already polished management skills. Upon completion of the program, Herington stayed on at Le Château Frontenac as an assistant front-office director for two years, leading a team of 18 employees and supervising daily front-office operations. Her success there led to a transfer to Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth in Montreal where she serves as the hotel’s revenue manager, collaborating with in-house and distribution teams — earning her the respect and admiration of her peers.
Sales + Event Specialist, Drake Hotel Properties, Toronto, Ont.
As a Film and Media Studies student, Jessica Colvin didn’t get to really flex her entrepreneurial muscle until she was accepted into a condensed business and entrepreneurship program, after which her start-up secured $30,000 in venture capital from investors at a pitch competition and $16,000 from a Kickstarter campaign. In 2017, she joined the Drake Hotel Properties team as a special-events coordinator. In her first year with the company, she was promoted to the Drake’s first-ever on-site sales representative and was able to increase fall business from $208,565 to $468,367 — surpassing the overall property sales target by 73 per cent. Colvin’s relentless work ethic, eye for detail and interpersonal skills have garnered her the respect of her peers.
Assistant General Manager, Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality Toronto, Ont.
Hospitality runs in Steven Gambee’s blood. His great-grandparents were a part of Toronto’s hospitality scene in the 1930s and it was their accomplishments — and sheer passion they had for their craft — that led him to want to be in the industry. In 2013, Gambee enrolled at George Brown College for the Food and Beverage Management Program. Coming from a family of chefs, Gambee always assumed he’d become a chef, but he soon realized his path led in a different direction. After working at Fabbrica Restaurant, he moved to the Shangri-La Hotel, where he took on a bartender role. His next job at Red’s Wine Tavern was Gambee’s first taste of management. Starting as an extern student and ending with a full-time position, the road was not easy but the skills he acquired prepared him for his next role as part of the opening team for Antler. As bar manager, he conquered many challenges and picked up a number of new skills. Currently, Gambee is the assistant general manager at Oliver & Bonacini, Café Grill. His task is to re-invent the wheel. With a restaurant that has been open for 10 years, a lot of staff are set in their ways and he’s been tasked with taking charge of the bar program — making it inviting without being pretentious. His current general manager is guiding Gambee into the GM role in the next few months.
Human Resources Manager, Omni King Edward Hotel Toronto, Ont.
In her role as Human Resources manager at Toronto’s Omni King Edward Hotel, Meghan Pratt is known for her commitment to building relationships and developing people. She’s also credited with improving the hotel’s overall on-property results. The hotel recently recognized her efforts, naming her the ‘Leader of the Third Quarter’ in 2019. Pratt completed a Bachelor of Commerce in Hospitality and Tourism Management at Ryerson University and previously held a range of food-and-beverage positions at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, before joining the King Edward as a Human Resources generalist. She was promoted to her current role after only six months and, in this role, shoulders a wide range of responsibilities, including recruiting and onboarding management-level positions; counseling employees on their personal development; managing WSIB cases and the hotel’s WSPS Safety Group Program; and coordinating organization-wide projects, including town-hall meetings, associate-engagement surveys and its health-and-wellness fair, as well as employee events.
Events Manager, Westin Harbour Castle Toronto, Ont.
After enrolling in a tourism course in grade 11, Tina Chan knew she wanted to pursue a career in hospitality. She moved from Richmond, B.C. to Ontario to enroll in University of Guelph’s Hotel and Food Administration program, graduating in 2012 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. Since graduation, Chan has been part of Marriott International (legacy Starwood Hotels & Resorts), progressing through various roles at the company’s different properties. Her roles have included group reservations co-ordinator, co-ordinator of catering and events, project specialist and most, recently, events manager at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto. Since assuming the role in 2017, she’s progressed from looking after small meetings and room blocks to serving events and conferences of all sizes. In 2019, Chan handled 140 groups, bringing in $6.9 million in revenue for the hotel. And her hard work has been noticed — Chan made the Marriott Brilliant-Top Performers Leaderboard as part of the top-25-per-cent performers for Americas-Canada Event Manager for Q2 and Q3 2019.
Senior vice-president, Palm Holdings, Toronto, Ont.
As senior vice-president of Palm Holdings, Taneja has spent a little under a decade managing Palm Holdings’ CAPEX division, as well as founding a new wing of the company, Palm Construction. Taneja’s leadership skills and knowledge of the industry has led to Palm Construction receiving many awards for its services. Taneja is also quite active in the industry, holding positions on multiple boards through Palm Holdings. He most recently became a founding board member of the UHN Impact collective in support of Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation.
Vice-president, HVS Canada, Toronto, Ont.
Thomas Beckett’s career has burned brightly thus far and it’s only just begun. Beckett graduated from the University of Guelph’s Hotel and Food Administration program with honours in 2014, where he was awarded the Bachelor of Commerce Leadership prize for the School of Business and Economics and the HTM/HAFA Alumni Associations Recognitions of Achievement Award. Following graduation, he started his career at HVS Canada as an associate in April 2014. He was tasked with completing valuation studies for hotels and hospitality-related income-producing real estate across western Canada, as well as conducting market analyses. His prowess in the office shone through as he climbed the ranks at HVS, becoming a senior associate and ultimately being named vice-president of HVS in April of 2018. Beckett has progressed in his career with swiftness and efficiency, showcasing his true talents in the hospitality sector.
Director, Lodging Development – Western Canada, Marriott International Vancouver, B.C.
Duncan Chiu, who joined Marriott in March as director, Lodging Development – Western Canada, completed a Bachelor of Commerce, Hotel and Food Administration (Co-op) at the University of Guelph, as well as certificates in Commercial Real Estate and Hotel Real Estate Investments and Asset Management Certificates at Cornell University. In his previous role as director, Development, Coast Hotels, he contributed to company’s growth strategy, developing quality franchise-management and partnership agreements and identifying potential acquisition opportunities. During this time with the company, he contributed to the development of four Coast franchises, as
well as a third-party hotel-management agreement.