TORONTO — Last Wednesday, KML fêted the 2021 winners of its Top-30-Under-30 Awards program. The virtual roundtable, moderated by Gracie Reesor, general manager, Quick-Service Restaurants at Eataly Toronto and Cyrus Cooper, professor and Program Coordinator, School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts, Centennial College, brought together last year’s winners to talk about their careers, their future plans and challenges faced by the foodservice and hospitality industries.

“It’s my great pleasure to host this presentation that celebrates today’s rising stars and tomorrow’s future leaders,” said Rosanna Caira, publisher/editor, KML in her introduction. “While we had hoped to host this event live this year, given the roller coaster ride we’ve all been on through COVID-19, we made the decision earlier this year to once again host this event virtually. So, today we’re going to celebrate this wonderful group virtually.”

The 2021 Top-30-under-30 winners represent a cross-section of the industry including restaurants, hotels, entrepreneurs, tourism-related businesses and suppliers.

“I had the privilege to go over the incredible portfolios that [these winners] submitted and know that they have some incredible skills and attributes,” said Cooper. “The industry’s in great hands as we move forward in the future.”

Following introductions of the 2021 winners, the program moved on to a roundtable format, drawing insight from the Top-30-Under-30 on topics ranging from what excites them the most about the future of hospitality in Canada and advice they’d offer their younger selves, to personal- and industry-related career challenges as well as innovation within the foodservice and hospitality landscape.

Three of the 2021 Top-30-Under-30 winners, selected as keynote speakers, then took to the virtual stage to share their thoughts on their personal journeys and what they hope to leave as their legacies.

“Winning Top-30-Under-30 has strengthened my resolve to continuing to pave my own way in this industry by becoming an entrepreneur, taking my career into my own hands, pursuing the vision I have for a new fine-dining field,” said Imrun Texeira, chef and owner of personal-chef service, Wanderlust by Imrun Texeira. “It’s young leaders like all of us that will be running the hospitality industry of tomorrow and we must have the right values in place, not just for ourselves but for the future generations. We can’t give up.”

For Marina Elsener, director, Sustainable Development, Diversity & Inclusion, North & Central America, Accor, being selected as one of the award recipients was really unexpected. “It prompted a time of reflection for me. A time to pause and think back on my journey as well as a time to think forward to the next 10 years. Where will I be? Who will I be? And what mark will I have made on the industry? And what legacy do I want to leave behind? We continue to live in a period of uncertainty and it’s going to take strong and resilient leaders like this incredible group of individuals and other aspiring leaders out there to ensure that our industry emerges from this period with a bright future ahead.”

Pouravi Mediratta, who was chef to partie at Boehmer at the time of her Top-30 win, used her time to address the challenges she has faced by a woman of colour in the industry. “It’s difficult to see that many [visible minorities] are not reaching the positions they want to in this industry. That is what needs to change and we are here to make those changes.”

Click here to meet our 2021 Top-30-Under-30 winners.

An annual awards program, the Top-30-Under-30 recognizes the hospitality industry’s top young performers, helping to create and inspire a future generation of hospitality leaders. It also promotes self-esteem and pride for young professionals and provides exemplary role models for those forging careers in the foodservice-and-hospitality industry. The idea for the program was developed by Bruce McAdams, professor at the University of Guelph, and the program was launched in 2006 by the Ontario Hostelry Institute, under the guidance of J. Charles Grieco to recognize the hospitality industry’s top young performers. Grieco sadly passed away in 2019, at which time, KML assumed control of the recognition program.

Nominations for the 2022 Top-30-Under-30 Awards is now open. Click here to nominate a worthy young star.


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