TORONTO — The 2014 OHI Gold Awards Dinner heralded excellence in hospitality once again last night as hundreds of industry insiders gathered at Toronto’s Four Seasons hotel to celebrate and honour industry leaders at the 24th annual awards.
The night began with a salute to Alison Fryer for her 31-year commitment to building a culinary community through her work presenting books and authors through Toronto’s iconic Cookbook Store, which recently closed. “Not enough can be said about the Cookbook Store and Alison,” said Charles Grieco, chair and president of the Ontario Hostelry Institute (OHI), upon presenting the advocate with the Chairman’s Lifetime Achievement Award. “She has understood the need for you and I to meet our heroes.”
As the night progressed, 12 Live Auction prizes, ranging from $900 to more than $6,000, were won; 12 OHI Scholarship Award winners were announced; 14 individuals became fellows of the institute; and Top 30 Under 30 winners were recognized. “I’m lucky enough to say I have found my calling,” said Andrea Fujarczuk, a lecturer at the Royal Agricultural University in the U.K., who represented the Top 30 winners on stage. “We are so proud to have received this great honour.”
And, after a meal of smoked arctic char, Alberta bison and four mini desserts, eight Gold Awards were presented to inspiring minds and hospitality companies. The winners were: Starbucks Coffee Canada (Foodservice-chain Operator); Heather McCrory, FRHI Hotels & Resorts (Hotelier); Deborah Pratt, Great Estates of Niagara (Educator); Jennifer Bain, Toronto Star (Media/Publishing); Arpad Magyar, Couture Cuisine (Chef); Lynn Siegal, Hilite Fine Foods Inc. (Supplier); Jonathan Forbes, Forbes Wild Foods Inc. (Artisan); as well as Tony and Mario Amaro, Opus Restaurant (Independent Restaurateur).
In a business ruled by passion for people and hospitality, Tony Amaro capped the night with a fitting observation: “In this industry success is a journey not a destination.”