TORONTO — The Ontario Hostelry Institute (OHI) Gold Awards Dinner was held last night at the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto.
More than 400 industry professionals, educators and culinary/hospitality students gathered to celebrate their peers at the annual black-tie event, which included eight awards for outstanding contributions to the hospitality and foodservice industry in Ontario; the induction of 10 new Fellows of the Institute; and the presentation of this year’s Top 30 Under 30.
Bruce McAdams, assistant professor at the University of Guelph took home the Educator of the Year award to thunderous applause. “Our industry would not be possible if we didn’t have the dedicated men and women who operate our culinary institutes across the province and instill in their students a sense of excellence, hospitality and dedication,” said Charles Grieco, president, OHI.
“I challenge you all to make sure you’re taking time out of your busy days to help the young people in our industry to reach their potential,” said McAdams. “If we all do that, the industry will be a better place.”
Chef of the Year winner, Grant van Gameren took the opportunity to champion better compensation for back-of-house staff. “There are a lot of influential people in this room tonight and it’s important to talk about the state of pay for chefs, cooks and dishwashers. Remember, there’s a lot of people sweating, working long hours and not being able to enjoy life as much as other people and I think they deserve to be paid more for that.”
Other Gold Award winners included:
• Independent Restaurateur — Zoe Yanovsky, owner, Chez Piggy Restaurant and Bar
• Media and Publishing — Malcolm Jolley, founding editor, Good Food Revolution
• Foodservice Chain/Group Operator — Tracey Clark, president and CEO, Bridgehead
• Hotelier — Liloo Alim, chef concierge, Four Seasons Hotel Toronto
• Supplier — Andrea Damon Gibson and Steve Gibson, owners, Fred’s Bread
• Artisan — Bryan Gilvesy, owner, YU Ranch
The Top 30 Under 30 winners for 2016 were also honoured last night. “This year’s group is a fantastic one,” said Bruce McAdams, co-chair of the Top 30 Under 30 selection committee. “Ladies and gentlemen, we are in good hands.”
Alex Marconi, Social Media manager for Four Seasons Toronto and one of this year’s winners, spoke on behalf of the Top 30 cohort. “I’m humbled to speak on behalf of such a tremendously talented group of young people,” he said. “We are here today because of the people who paved the way, who believed in us, mentored us, inspired and encouraged us and gave us the opportunity to succeed. I encourage my fellow honourees to continue the important work of those before us, to continue to recognize new talent — those who are driven to succeed — and inspire them, encourage them to grow, listen to them and learn from them.”
The event was not just about handing out awards. Scholarships are an important part of the OHI’s mandate and last night, 10 scholarships — made possible by funds raised from the Gold Awards dinners — were awarded in recognition of the level of excellence achieved by foodservice and hospitality students in Ontario universities and colleges.
Watch for the May issue of Foodservice and Hospitality magazine to read a full list of Top 30 Under 30 winners.