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O N T A R I O April 2016 | Vol. 31 | No. 3





$ 5 . 9 5

A champion of breakfasts

the power oF soCiAl mediA There’s a recipe for success


ViCtor BArrY’s New tuNe


From BomBAY to BAY street


Barrie-based restaurateur Manish Mehra has a plan to conquer the Canadian breakfast market.

Mehra. However, his family sold the business about two years ago. “That location wasn’t bought based on a BARRIE, Ont. — The latest restaurant open- business move. It’s more sentimental value,” ing by Manish Mehra is a return to his culinary said Mehra, who began working in the family business at 14 years old. “I go in there and I feel roots. On Feb. 1, Mehra reopened his family’s first like it’s home.” Original Country Kettle is the fifth busirestaurant venture, The Original Country KetAPPROVAL REQUIRED ness the 25-year-old restaurateur has opened in tle in Barrie, Ont. The enclosed proof is sent for your approval. We will not proceed with the job until the proof is returned. the last twoCHECK years. He began with Flapjacks in The breakfast-centric restaurant first INSTRUCTIONS. DO NOTwas GIVE VERBAL CAREFULLY! Beyond this point we cannot accept responsibility for any errors. Alterations (other than typographical errors) will1987, be charged extra. Mark proof “OK” ora “OKsmall with corrections” as the case may Stroud, community in Innisfil, Ont. As purchased by his mother and uncle in be, signing your name so we may know that the proof reached the proper authority. and served as a hospitality training ground for the only breakfast business in the community, By Bill Tremblay, Assistant Editor

Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 40010152


the 50-seat restaurant quickly began reaching capacity. “It got to a point where people were waiting 45 minutes to an hour,” Mehra said. To accommodate demand, Mehra bought out the adjacent hair salon, knocked down the wall, and expanded his seating to accommodate 70 more guests. “Our sales instantly tripled,” Mehra said. “Now we’re able to attract larger groups too.”

FAst CAsuAl The segmenT conTinues To grow in canada


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Restaurants Canada names new CEO By Bill Tremblay TORONTO — Chef Victor Barry has paired the name of his new restaurant with a new mantra for his approach to the foodservice business. Piano Piano opened on Harbord Street in the former home of acclaimed Splendido in mid-March. The name is short for the Italian phrase “piano, piano va lontano,” which translates to “slowly, slowly we go further.” Barry closed Splendido after a quartercentury of service on Dec. 31, 2015. The chef started working at the fine-dining restaurant in 2005 as an assistant pastry chef and purchased the business in 2009. The transformation aims to create a space where he is able to bring his two young daughters and welcome other families to the restaurant. “I always wanted all the food on the pass to be simple,” Barry said. “That’s the kind of food I cook at home and I wanted everyone to feel like they were coming into my home.”

In an effort to find a work/life balance, Piano Piano will serve casual Italian food, instead of the high-end tasting menus that earned Splendido a reputation as one of Toronto’s best restaurants. “It’s just so much more fun. Italian food is a soulful food, where Splendido, and more molecular stuff, is really thinking food,” Barry said. “It was very stressful to do.” The goal of Piano Piano is to serve simple and delicious food. “People ask ‘what region of Italy are you cooking?’ I joke around and say ‘New Jersey.’ We’re not trying to be authentic,” Barry said. “I want it to be food people recognize, but I want it to be the best version they’ve had.” He added the pizzas are not authentic Italian pies. Rather than import ingredients from Italy, his dough is made with Ontario flour from K2 Milling and Arva Flour Mill. “It’s not a Neapolitan pizza. I don’t buy into the dogma of the proper flour from Italy,” Barry said. “I joke around, I call them grease wheels

when I drop them off at the table. We’re really trying to be casual and fun and not so serious. For a long time I really took myself seriously.” With a new floor plan, the former 48-seat restaurant now seats up to 105 guests. The walls are decorated with family photos and a multicanvas mural painted by Barry’s two-year-old daughter. As well, Splendido’s former wine cellar and private dining room will be transformed into Picollo Piano, a more casual restaurant featuring a preset $28 menu. “It was important for us to have fun with the space and for people to see it has changed,” Barry’s wife Nikki Leigh Mckean said. The lower price point — about $65 per person — on the new menu also opens the door to a larger customer demographic. “The demographic we were reaching for was the one per cent wealthy people who could afford to come to Splendido,” Barry said. “Then we were looking for the one per cent of the one per cent who were foodies.”

Donnelly Group prepares to open its first Toronto location TORONTO — Donnelly Group’s affinity for the city is bringing the Vancouver restaurant and pub operators to Toronto. “We fell in love with the city,” said operating partner Regan Truong, who has a background in the beverage sector and has held several roles with Donnelly Group. Slated to open in the latter half of April, Belfast Love is taking over the former Zoe’s Bakery space at 548 King St. West. Knocking down walls to transform the 6,000-square-foot space into one room, the pub will have capacity for 270 guests inside and 120 on the patio. Each of the three bars, including one on the patio, will feature a lineup of 40 taps including a handful of British Columbia brews. The majority will be sourced from Ontario including Mill Street, Muskoka Brewery, Steam Whistle Brewing, Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery, Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company, Henderson Brewing Co., Left Field Brewery, Amsterdam Brewery, Collingwood Brewery, Collective Arts Brewing, Nickel Brook Brewery and Silversmith Brewing. A whisky bar will offer a selection of between 50 and 75 options. Truong noted Toronto’s music, art, food and drink scenes contribute to a social culture in line with the company’s strengths.

In British Columbia, he explained, many of Donnelly Group’s establishments — there are 18 including one barbershop — compete in the casual dining space, which has resulted in an increased focus on good service. It’s the games — the Toronto locations will feature pool and shuffleboard tables — that separates them from those in the casual dining segment.

“At the end of the day, we’re not trying to be something else,” Truong said. “At the end of the day, we’re a pub; we’re trying to grow a public house brand.” Donnelly Group has tasked local designers Mason Studio with bringing the company’s vision for Belfast Love to life. “Jeff [Donnelly] is really into design and he knows what he’s talking about,” said Truong. “We want it to be design-forward, but not intimidating.” Chef Istvan Galambos, formerly of Mercatto, will lead the kitchen team with a “really thought-out pub menu” designed by Vancouver chef David Gunawan, a partnership that was formed with Donnelly Group through the joint opening of Royal Dinette in Vancouver last year. Truong will head up operations with Jex Woods, who is moving to Belfast Love from a position with Local Public Eatery. Truong said Donnelly plans to open between five and eight distinct Toronto establishments, working on one or two each year. “We have one deal in the works,” Truong said. “Conceivably, if it goes through and all goes according to plan, we could by July, have two locations”

TORONTO — Shanna Munro will become the new president and chief executive officer of Restaurants Canada on June 1. “This is a tremendous opportunity to make a difference in an industry I love, and to serve our members across the country who work so hard every day to deliver culinary excellence, create jobs, and contribute to their communities,” Munro said in a midMarch press release. She will replace Donna Dooher, who took on the role on an interim basis in November 2014 and was appointed to the position last spring on a one-year contract. According to the national foodservice association, Dooher will reassume her position as Restaurants Canada director. “I want to thank Donna for her support during this transition period, and for sharing her perspective as an industry leader,” added Munro. “As someone who has devoted my career to this industry, it has been an honour to lead the Restaurants Canada team,” said Dooher. A senior executive with experience in the foodservice, retail, entertainment and financial services industries across North America, Munro joined the association as chief operating officer last September. “On behalf of the board of directors I want to extend a sincere thank you to Donna for her leadership over the past year and a half, and welcome Shanna to her new role,” Restaurants Canada board chair Bill Allen said in the announcement. Munro’s career in the foodservice industry spans more than 25 years starting with Priszm Brandz, previously Scott’s Restaurants, where the Ottawa native progressed from an hourly employee into a senior vicepresident role overseeing multiple YUM! Brands concepts across Canada including KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Long John Silver. “Shanna has a proven record as a transformational leader who builds strong and productive relationships,” said Allen. “She will be a great asset to our association and the foodservice industry at large.” Prior to joining Restaurants Canada, Munro served as president of Cash Converters and president and COO of Putting Edge Corp.

April 2016 | 3




e tip our hat to Ivan Gedz. The Ottawa restaurateur and the male wait staff at Union Local 613 donned short skirts and high heels in an effort to make a statement about the “hypersexualized female dress codes,” which Gedz said is a major issue in the restaurant world. In opinion piece for the Globe and Mail in mid-March, Getz explained the idea was to highlight the absurdity of the situation. A CBC Marketplace report investigating dress codes at some of Canada’s top chains thrust the topic into the spotlight in early March. Then, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) put out a policy position on gender-specific dress codes on March 8, International Women’s Day. The position called out the restaurant industry as a common culprit when it comes to sexualized and gender-specific dress codes. “Employers must make sure their dress codes don’t reinforce sexist stereotypes,” said OHRC chief commissioner Renu Mandhane.

“They send the message that an employee’s worth is tied to how they look. That’s not right, and it could violate the Ontario Human Rights Code.” The OHRC linked dress codes that require female wait staff to wear dresses, lowcut tops and short skirts to unequal treatment that leaves those employees vulnerable to harassment, contributes to discriminatory workplaces and excludes people based on sex, gender identity and expression or creed. While many stayed mum on the subject, Earls Kitchen + Bar piped up saying while its women servers were offered the opportunity to request pants, the Vancouver-based chain would rework its guidelines. “Although our female service staff have a choice in what they wear, we understand that even our suggested dress code could be considered discriminatory,” a company statement said. “We were unaware we were in contravention of the Ontario Human Rights Code until recently, and consequently, female servers will now be offered the choice of pants or a skirt rather than having to request it.” Another operator defended the requirement to for wait staff to wear skimpy clothing, as did the women wearing what was referred to as a “costume.”

The Tilted Kilt uniforms reveal cleavage, midriff and quite a bit of leg, and are considered a theme at the group of pubs. Toronto manager Todd Kehoe told the Toronto Sun the women who apply for a job at the Tilted Kilt are made fully aware of what they will be wearing at work. “We have them try on the themed costumes because we want to make sure that they are right for us and we are right for them,” he said. “If they don’t feel comfortable wearing an outfit like this, then we realize they are not right for our company and vice versa.” Frankly, if someone who is not comfortable showing their body is not comfortable wearing a particular outfit, it shouldn’t be a requirement in the restaurant industry. There is no need for a sexualized costumes — whether it be requiring women to wear tops resembling bikinis or even just to wear their hair down or put on makeup — if an establishment has good food, good service and a welcoming atmosphere. Isn’t that what we are trying to achieve?

OTTAWA – There’s a new chef in the kitchen at Rideau Cottage. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has hired chef Neil Dhawan to cook at his official residence. Dhawan was previously chef for Earnscliffe, the home of the British High Commissioner to Canada. More recently he worked for the Farm Boy chain of grocery stores. He replaces chef Tim Wasylko who was relieved of the position in November. Wasylko is now chef to interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose. Cooking for the Prime Minister pays an annual salary of $67,168 to $76,151.

cle named DRU (Domino’s Robotic Unit). DRU is a four-wheeled vehicle with built-in compartments to keep the customer’s order hot and drinks cold while travelling from the store to the customer’s door. Domino’s is working with the Australian Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, along with other global partners, to ensure the delivery droid concept meets legislative requirements. DRU, designed to travel on sidewalks, is currently able to navigate from a starting point to his destination, selecting the best path of travel. His on-board sensors enable him to perceive obstacles along the way and avoid them if necessary.

Students vie for Iron Chef title

Bakers create scholarship

TORONTO — Three student finalists faced off in an Iron Chef Competition during the Restaurants Canada Show in late February. Through a partnership between Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers and Humber College, three representatives prepared entrees using local products. Humber College student Jonathan Rocha prepared the winning dish, determined by a panel of judges: Modern Culinary Academy’s John Placko, Joan Monfaredi from Park Hyatt, Matt Basile of Fidel Gastro Food Truck and Pangaea’s Martin Kouprie.

TORONTO — The Baking Association of Canada - Ontario Chapter has established a $100,000 endowment in the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts at Centennial College. The endowment will fund scholarships for students that will help them overcome financial barriers and promote academic and career success in the field of commercial baking. In September 2016, Centennial will be opening a spectacular new facility for the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts that will feature several state-ofthe-art experiential learning environments. The new commercial baking lab will be named in honour of the Baking Association of Canada – Ontario Chapter. The lab will be used exclusively by stu-

Delivery robot in development QUEENSLAND, Aus. — Domino’s Pizza has created an autonomous delivery vehi-

4 | Ontario Restaurant News


Colleen Isherwood ext. 231 · MANAGING EDITOR

Kristen Smith ext. 238 · ASSISTANT EDITOR

Bill Tremblay ext. 226 · ASSISTANT EDITOR

Don Douloff ext. 232 · SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER

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Kim Kerr ext. 229 · pRODUCTION


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CONTACT US: 905-206-0150

EDITORIAL ADVISORY COUNCIL Kristen Smith Managing Editor

NEWS BRIEFS Trudeau hires new chef


Steven Isherwood ext. 236 ·

dents enrolled in the Baking and Pastry Arts Management and Baking Pre-Employment programs.

The Rec Room heads east TORONTO — Cineplex Entertainment’s new business venture that combines casual dining with gaming and live entertainment will open in Toronto. “The Rec Room is a social destination that brings together incredible dining, amusement gaming and live entertainment experiences all under one roof,” said Pat Marshall, vice-president, communications and investor relations at Cineplex Entertainment. The new social destination is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2017 at the historic John Street Roundhouse across from the CN Tower. The Rec Room will feature a large attraction area with amusement games and recreational activities like pool, shuffleboard and ping-pong. An onsite auditorium also provides a venue for live entertainment. Dining options including an upscale casual restaurant featuring an open kitchen and a contemporary menu as well as ‘eatertainment-style’ dining concepts in the games area. The first Rec Room will open in Edmonton this spring and a second location is scheduled to open in Calgary by the end of the year. Cineplex plans to open 10 to 15 Rec Room locations throughout Canada in the next few years.

MICKEY CHEREVATY Consultant, Moyer Diebel Limited JACK BATTERSBY President, Summit Food Service Distributors Inc. pAUL LECLERC Partner, Serve-Canada Food Equipment Ltd. JORGE SOARES Director Food and Beverage Operations, Woodbine Entertainment Group ADAM COLQUHOUN President, Oyster Boy JOHN CRAWFORD Director of Sales-Canada, Lamb Weston TINA CHIU Chief Operating Officer, Mandarin Restaurant Franchise Corporation MARTIN KOUpRIE Chef/Owner, Pangaea Restaurant JOEL SISSON Founder and President of Crush Strategy Inc. CHRIS JEENS Partner, W. D. Colledge Co. Ltd. JOE BAKER Dean, School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts, Centennial College GRAHAM HAYES Directory of Culinary/Corporate Chef, McCormack Bourrie Sales & Marketing & French’s Food Company Canada JODY pALUBISKI CEO, The Charcoal Group

ONTARIO RESTAURANT NEWS VOLUME 31 · NO. 3 · ApRIL 2016 Ontario Restaurant News ( is published 12 times a year by Ishcom publications Ltd., 2065 Dundas Street East, Suite 201, Mississauga, Ont. L4X 2W1 T: (905) 206-0150 · F: (905) 206-9972 · Toll Free: 1(800)201-8596 Other publications include the Canadian Chains Directory and Buyers’ Directory as well as: P A C I F I C / P R A I R I E



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Bombay Street Food plants roots on Bay Street By Kristen Smith, Managing Editor TORONTO —Amreen and Seema Omar are creating a permanent home for Bombay Street Food at the corner of Bay and College streets. Slated to open at the end of April, the brand was built over two years operating at farmers’ markets and food festivals. “We had really good feedback and people were interested in the kind of food we were doing so we thought now is the time,” said Seema, who grew up in Bombay. “People seemed to really respond to the food; there is a lot of good Indian food in Toronto, but it’s also very homogenous up until now. The selection has been limited to certain north Indian items,” said Amreen. “So when we started doing different types of food, people seemed really interested in it.”

All of the items on the menu have been tested through the pop-up version. “The food mainly focused on the street foods you get in Bombay, a little bit of homestyle comfort food and a little bit of food comes from the old cafes that were in Bombay,” said Seema. The menu will include: vada pav, a popular vegetarian dish native to Maharashtra; kheema pav, spiced ground beef with a bun; and a selection of chaat, which Seema describes as “snacks or appetizers that you can have anytime and they’re readily available in the streets of Bombay any time of the day.” On the beverage side, the eatery will offer chai tea and spiced coffee. The sisters-in-law have retained The Fifteen Group as consultants and Jump Branding to take on the design of the restaurant. In August, the team took a trip to Mumbai to gather inspiration and items for decor, which will draw influence from street scenes and old Iranian cafes in India.

Caplansky’s plans to conquer Canada First delicatessen franchise will open in Yorkville in May TORONTO — Zane Caplansky wants to build Canada’s national deli. The restaurateur is embarking on a national plan to franchise Caplansky’s Delicatessen, located on College Street. “So many different concepts have been beaten to death, but there isn’t a national deli chain in Canada,” Caplansky said. “I think there’s an opportunity.” The first franchised unit — a fast casual restaurant — will open on Cumberland Street in Yorkville this May in the former home of Toni Bulloni. “It’s a long, narrow location, so it lends itself well to a fast casual rollout,” Caplansky said. “It’s a great way to provide our product quickly.” The new 1,800-square-foot, 48-seat restaurant will differ slightly from the original College Street location including an updated look and new branding. “Unlike the College Street store, we will machine slice the meat instead of hand slicing the meat,” Caplansky said. “People like the super-slim slices only a machine can do.” To maintain a unique prep station, the new location will be equipped with a vintage 1969 Italian meat slicer. “It’s like the Ferrari of meat slicers,” Caplansky explained. As well, the Yorkville menu will feature a 25-item menu, instead of the original 100 offerings on College Street. “If you show people the best of the best, they’ll embrace it,” Caplansky said. “You don’t have to give them the minutiae of your childhood deli favourites, which is essentially what I’ve done on College Street.”

6 | Ontario Restaurant News

Caplansky isn’t divulging all of the new elements featured at the first franchise. “There are a few other features that I think are unique to the Canadian landscape that I don’t want to talk about until the store is unveiled,” he said. To grow his brand, Caplansky partnered with Jackman Reinvents, a consulting firm responsible for the rebranding of large-scale retailers like Hertz and Walgreens. Caplansky explained he was concerned franchising would lead to a lower-quality product hitting the market. “I never want to sacrifice my brand for growth. I don’t need to be the biggest, but I do need to be the best,” Caplansky said. “I think we all know too many examples of places that lost their way when they tried to grow too fast.” Caplansky had his first taste of franchising when he partnered with HMS Host in 2014 to open two delis at Toronto Pearson International Airport. While the scaled down versions of his brand are successful, he noted the Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 locations are not traditional restaurant locations. “As much as I might want to think otherwise, nobody goes there for my food, they go there to fly and to work,” Caplansky said. “We have to prove the franchise concept would work in a traditional location.” The license fee for a Caplansky’s franchise is a onetime payment of $35,000 plus a six per cent royalty and three per cent marketing contribution. The cost of constructing the restaurant varies. “Making one restaurant work over a number of years is a major accomplishment,” Caplansky said. “Being able to replicate that in scale is really challenging. For us the challenge really lies in finding great franchisees.”

“We took a lot of pictures on our trip and those pictures are going to feature prominently in the decor,” said Amreen. Bombay Street Foods will occupy 2,500 square feet on the ground level of a condominium building at 828 Bay Street. With a fast casual service model in mind, there will be 40 seats. Amreen and Seema each have three children, so it was important to find a location with plenty of daytime foot traffic. “When we saw this place, Seema and I spent some time here and it has a lot of daytime traffic as opposed to nighttime and that really fit our lifestyle. We were hunting for a year,” said Amreen, noting they will be open for dinner until 9 p.m. “We’re hoping there will be a thriving takeout business,” she said. Even with a full-time location, the pair plans to continue with Bombay Street Food’s market business. “It’s really important for us to stay close to our roots — that’s where we evolved,” said Amreen.

Champagne and grocery shopping TORONTO — Saks Fifth Avenue has partnered with two Toronto foodservice providers for its foray onto Canadian soil. Oliver & Bonacini is introducing two new restaurants. At CF Sherway Gardens, Beaumont Kitchen, spearheaded by chef Michael Hay, is an all-day dining lounge serving eclectic West Coast cuisine. At CF Toronto Eaton Centre, Leña, a restaurant and bar by chef Anthony Walsh, will showcase South American cooking and dining with unique Spanish influences. Leña is slated to open in May. Both locations will feature Saks Food Hall by Pusateri’s. The Sherway location opened March 7. The 18,500-square-foot space features a selection of local and imported grocery items, prepared foods, home meal replacements from a hot counter and catering. “The partnership with Saks Fifth Avenue has allowed us to curate a series of unique food experiences that reflect our team’s world travels and inherent love of food,” said Pusateri’s president Frank Luchetta. Designed by Montreal-based GH+A, the food hall is adjacent to the men’s department on the lower level of Saks. The wide centre aisle allows patrons to see the length of the food hall from either entrance, mimicking the look of a department store. Vice-president of merchandising John Mastroianni said the idea is to curate the best products available, whether local or imported. In many

cases, Pusateri’s also looks to source items from popular artisans before creating a branded item of its own. Culinary stations include a Nutella café with an array of crepes and pastries; Pusateri’s Sushi Bar, which has more than 100 recipes; a coffee bar; Pingue Prosciutto Bar, which features salumi from Niagara Food Specialties; Greenhouse Juice Co., a Toronto-based cold-pressed juice company; and Champagne and Raw Bar, which also offers red and white wines and craft beer alongside cheese and charcuterie platters, seafood towers and a rotating tapas menus by Pusateri’s corporate chef Tony Cammalleri. There are 35 seats with additional seating near the coffee and sushi bars. “Some people will stand and snack while shopping,” said Mastroianni. Pusateri’s employs more than 140 chefs and cooks, with about 75 working out of the commissary kitchen near Dufferin Street and Lawrence Avenue. Mastroianni said this kitchen is responsible for many of the packaged to-go items, such as soup, which require consistency. There are more than 220 recipes on rotation at the hot counter, which are prepared on site. Some staples include grilled octopus, lobster tails and branzino. HMR items represent a large portion of the business, with 27 per cent of shoppers buying at least one prepared item. Pusateri’s sent chefs on stages and trips to find and learn authentic reci-

Cara acquires St-Hubert VAUGHAN, Ont. — St-Hubert is the latest restaurant chain to join the Cara brand. On March 31, Cara announced it entered into an agreement to acquire 100 per cent of St-Hubert, a Quebecbased full service restaurant operator, as well as its food manufacturer segment for $537 million. The acquisition of St-Hubert provides Cara with 117 restaurants generating sales of about $403 million. Only nine of the restaurants operate outside of Quebec. “This is a historic day for Cara, coming together with such an iconic and prominent Quebec-based business. The acquisition of St-Hubert is an excellent strategic fit for both companies,” Bill Gregson, chair of the board and chief executive officer of Cara, said in a news release. St-Hubert locations operate in three formats including traditional full-service rotisseries, resto-bars and express-style eateries. The acquisition also includes two food manufacturing

plants and two distribution centres, which generate $225 million. About 66 per cent of food manufacturing sales are to external customers, including national grocery chains. “The acquisition provides Cara with a restaurant chain that resonates with guests in Quebec as well as with a food retail solution for the Cara brands — these are two areas of Cara’s existing business where we have tremendous opportunities,” Gregson said. “It also provides Cara with a head office in Quebec, manufacturing facilities, and a skilled management team.” Jean-Pierre Léger, chairman and chief executive officer of St-Hubert, said the acquisition would create jobs in Quebec. “It will enable us to carry out major expansions of our food manufacturing programs and sales throughout Canada,” Léger said in a news release. “Our customers will have access to the broad range of products offered by a national leader.”

Pusateri’s vice-president of merchandising John Mastroianni. pes. For example, chef Andrew Eade learned the art of hummus in Israel. Mastroianni said items are in development for at lest six months before they are introduced, but perfecting offerings doesn’t stop there — recipes are constantly tweaked. “Having chefs and cooks in retail stores is becoming more and more common, but doing it right is truly an art,” he said.

“The food hall itself was something that we always thought was missing and lacking in Toronto — how we felt a food hall should be, which is more European-inspired,” said Mastroianni. “It was key for us to bring all these different visuals and concepts together in one place and make it an enjoyable experience.” Since the announcement that Pu-

sateri’s would be opening in Etobicoke, Mastroianni said catering business from the area increased more than 30 per cent. “Nowadays, people want to be guests at their own parties,” he added. At the Eaton Centre, Pusateri’s 25,000-square-foot food hall opens in May, with more stations and seating, but Mastroianni would not reveal more details.

An Era of Change and Accountability

Ontario Pork has released its inaugural Social Responsibility Report, making it the first livestock commodity group in the province to commit to setting benchmarks in areas that measure economic, environmental, social and governance performance, based on global measurement standards. To learn more about the industry’s commitments, visit

Ontario Pork_Third-Page Ad_Mar21.indd 1

2016-03-21 4:34 PM

April 2016 | 7

Sean Beckingham


Rules for Engagement Sean Beckingham March 22 • Toronto, ON, Canada •

“This local awareness campaign is definitely the one restaurants have been waiting for.”

Social media has the power to make ketchup famous. Here’s how it may help your business. By Bill Tremblay


n item on an Orillia, Ont., man’s grocery list is credited with sparking a national buy local food movement. While grocery shopping in February, Brian Fernandez noticed French’s — a company he knew for its mustard — had started selling ketchup. Rather than purchasing the unknown product, he went home to research French’s new condiment. That’s when he learned Heinz had closed its plant in Lemington, Ont., and French’s moved into its competitor’s former facility with a promise to only use tomatoes grown in the vicinity. Fernandez decided to buy the ketchup and share the story with his 400 Facebook friends. “Two days later, my phone was going crazy with notification from all over Canada,” Fernandez said. His post was shared more than 133,000 times on Facebook and translated into dozens of media interviews with national publications from Buzzfeed to the Toronto Star. “I never dreamed that this would happen,” Fernandez said. “I’m just a construction worker from Orillia that put this out to my friends. Now it’s mind boggling.” While the viral post earned Fernandez notoriety, it also pushed the relatively unknown French’s product into the Canadian spotlight. The ketchup sold out shortly after his post went viral. Essex MPP Taras Natyshak presented the Ontario legislature with a petition to remove Heinz from the Queen’s Park cafeteria. Premier Kathleen Wynne tweeted a photo of herself with the French’s product. “Proud to buy Ontario-grown. We’ve invested in Leamington’s Highbury Canco plant where French’s ketchup is made!” Wynne said in the tweet. Weeks after Fernandez’s viral post, French’s continued to generate headlines and social media posts.

Don’t be direct The topic of how foodservice companies may leverage social media was addressed during Restaurants Canada’s recent Breakfast With Champions. Manjit Minhas, co-founder and chief executive officer of Minhas Breweries and Distillery, explained social media content requires soft branding paired with a proper plan. “It has to be a little more intuitive than right in your face. A 30-second TV commercial is expected to be in your face,” Minhas said. David F. Clanachan, president and chief operating officer for Tim Hortons, explained the company used footage from a television commercial to create soft-branded social media content. Tim Horton’s filmed NHL stars Sydney Crosby and Nathan Mackinnon returning to their hometown of Cole Harbour, N.S., to work at one of the restaurant chain’s drive-thrus. “The idea was for footage for a TV commercial, but someone was smart enough to put cameras everywhere in the restaurant,” Clanachan said.

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With about 20 hours of footage, Tim Horton’s posted the hockey players’ drive-thru antics on YouTube. Within five weeks, the video series was watched by millions of viewers, with four of the clips ranking in YouTube’s top 10. “It was an unbelievable success,” Clanachan said.

If you can’t afford Sid the Kid While viral social media posts have the power to draw international attention, Facebook is working on methods to capture audiences from the immediate community surrounding a business. This year, Facebook launched local awareness campaigns allowing brick and mortar businesses to target their posts to specific demographics. “This local awareness campaign is definitely the one restaurants have been waiting for,” said Sean Beckingham, founder of Branding & Buzzing, a social marketing agency specializing in foodservice. Right now, the new tool may cost as low as 5 cents per click. Beckingham noted other sponsored content on Facebook costs as much as $1.50 per click. “They’re making this cheap right now because they’re essentially beta testing it on the market,” Beckingham said. “Because it’s new, Facebook is really rewarding restaurants with a low cost per click. I’ve seen some pretty good results with a few of our brands.” Beckingham explained one of their clients is using a local awareness campaign to attract parents in the 25 to 35 year old age group. The campaign content focuses on what is available for youth, while Facebook’s geo-targeting is used to reach parents in the predetermined age group living in the area of the restaurant. Drawing from its massive knowledge base, Beckingham noted Facebook’s geo-targeting ability is quite specific. “If you have your cellphone on, and you accept all the privacy terms and conditions for Facebook, it will know when I’ve walked past your store,” Beckingham said. “It’s become amazing.” When creating sponsored Facebook content, Beckingham recommends ensuring the ad has a clear call to action. As well, start with a budget of about $50. “It’s a nice small spend for a restaurant for their first time,” Beckingham said. While a paid Facebook campaign is custom-

izable, guidance is nearly non-existent. There’s no help waiting at the end of an 800 number. “One of the hardest things about Facebook is there is zero customer service. Navigating it can be kind of tricky,” Beckingham said.

A picture is worth 1,000 words Photography can make or break a social media campaign. Using quality photographs, a restaurant should also try to tell the story of their business through images of dishes as well as key staff. “It is so important. People eat with their eyes first,” Beckingham said. “One of the first things we do when we take over a restaurant’s social media is photography.”

To tweet, or not to tweet? At the end of 2015, Facebook had about 1.59 billion users. For Twitter, about 320 million people are actively tweeting and Instagram has grown to more than 400 million users. While Facebook’s usage eclipses other platforms, Beckingham doesn’t recommend ignoring other social media channels. “Instagram is the fastest growing social network for food and Twitter is still good for customer service and community engagement,” he said. Beckingham recommends posting to Instagram three to five times per day, Twitter daily

Vikram Vij at the Restaurants Canada Show.

and Facebook about once a week. “In the past, we used to pump out content every single day on Facebook,” Beckingham said. “They changed their algorithms in 2015 and only 10 per cent of posts are seen by fans organically.” Restaurateurs should also pay attention to review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. “Don’t ignore it. Stay in check with it,” Beckingham advised. “I’ve seen success and horror stories with people complaining about those sites. If they’re done right, they can be a powerful tool.” With social media platforms constantly changing algorithms that dictate content viewed by its audiences, Beckingham suggests following a podcast such as Social Media Examiner to stay on top of the changing formats. “If you want to spend the time, listen to a podcast,” he said.

Check your inbox Years ago, email was the primary form of online contact. However, with the advent of social media, the inbox began to fade away. Things have, once again, changed. “Now if anything is back in 2016, it’s getting inside somebody’s email box,” Beckingham said. Ron Cates, director of digital marketing at Constant Contact, explained email now has the highest return on investment of any form

of marketing. He added the majority of email marketing campaigns leave ample room for improvement. “I would suggest the average email isn’t that great. If you do email really well I would suggest your return is phenomenal,” Cates said. Consumers have “raised the bar” when it comes to what they will read in their inbox. “If it doesn’t look great, people assume the product served at the restaurant is second rate or amateur somehow,” Cates said. “They expect it to look professional.” Constant Contact, as well as services like MailChimp, offers html templates that will improve the design of an email newsletter. Cates explained an html template generates eight times the action compared to plain text. “You can just cut and paste your content and it looks great,” Cates said. Alongside a professional design, an email newsletter should be short and quickly get to the point. “I don’t want to read a long email ever. I’d rather have a root canal,” Cates said. The tone of the email should also be genuine to the brand and show off the persona of the restaurant. “If your restaurant were a person, what language would it use? What words would it use or not use? That’s how to communicate in email,” Cates said. So how does a business build its audience for a newsletter? Just ask your customers, Cates recommends. When simply asked, 57 per cent of consumers will provide their email address, he explained. “If that gets 57 per cent, what happens if the staff is trained well?” Cates said.

No substitute for quality Vancouver restaurateur Vikram Vij doesn’t rely on social networks to attract new customers to his restaurants. “What is social media? It is an experience someone has and they’re sharing it with their friends,” Vij said. “That’s word of mouth. We’ve given it a fancy name, but it’s really just word of mouth.” Rather than rely on social media marketing, Vij said he aims to ensure his customers are provided the best possible dining experience. “The reasons these establishments do well is because we take care of the people that walk in the door. It’s showing them love and respect,” Vij said. “Everything else is all bloody fake, it has to be back to basics.”

Graham Hayes, French’s Food Company Canada.

April 2016 | 9

CRIS + CROS addresses foodservice landscape TORONTO — The restaurant industry’s role within retail is comparable to that of live sports in the world of broadcasting, according to Ed Khediguian, senior vice-president of franchise finance for GE Capital Canada. “You deliver the experience and they’ll come,” Khediguian said during his opening address at the Canadian Restaurant Investment Summit and the Canadian Restaurant Operators Summit on March 2. The full-day event included breakout streams for both industry investors as well as operators in a new format held following the Restaurants Canada Show.

The foodservice landscape Robert Carter, executive director, Foodservice Canada, The NPD Group, opened the speaker sessions with Todd Jones, senior managing director, brand management of GE Capital, franchise finance. According to Carter, new channels and emerging technology are affecting the way consumers are using foodservice. “The more we know about the consumer, the better position we are in to achieve success both in Canada and in the U.S.,” Carter said. “There’s no doubt that their eating patterns are evolving.” In what’s a “steal-share game,” Carter said the way customers are interacting with restaurants is shifting from functional visit drivers to emotional ones, such as liking the establishment or having a specific craving. Last year, consumers spent cautiously amid economic uncertainty and rising prices. Grocery prices increased faster (at 3.7 per cent) than menu prices (2.8 per cent). Carter said snacking, or eating in between traditional meals, continues to grow. The average Canadian eats 3.8 meals every day. In 2015, Canadians spent $196 billion on food with $50 billion spent on commercial foodservice reflecting “soft gains,” Carter said, noting foodservice visits were “relatively flat” at about 6.5 billion, an increase of about one per cent. The average number of visits to a foodservice establishment was 181, which is four fewer than the previous year. When NPD asked why people chose not to eat at a restaurant, respondents’ No. 1 answer was they prefer home-cooked meals, followed by cost exceeding budget and that they only eat out on special occasions or weekends. Carter noted an increased emphasis on special occasion dining represents an interesting opportunity for operators. Casual dining’s share declined three per cent, while QSR is fairing well. Carter said both QSR and FSR chains are performing better than independents. “In the last couple years we’ve seen more independents close than ever before,” he said. Carter said there is an increased demand for “better” for you food, with 55 per cent of NPD respondents saying they want more food sourced from Canada on menus. He sees millennials as a key growth opportunity; the demographic makes up the largest share of the workforce and will continue to drive traffic in the Canadian marketplace.

Industry and economic outlook In the association’s 2016 outlook survey, 43 per cent of operators said they expect sales to

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From left: Paul Rivett, president of Fairfax Financial Holdings, Sean Morrison, Diversified Royalty Corp. president and CEO, Bill Gregson, Cara Operations Ltd. CEO, Michael Glen, senior vice-president, head of equities, Laurentian Bank Securities, and FranWorks CEO Derek Doke. Amanda Lang moderated the panel discussion. grow about the same as last year, while 30 per cent said their sales should grow at a greater rate and 27 per cent predict sales to grow at a lesser rate. “But if you really break those numbers down, a lot of people who are in the optimistic camp are from Ontario and British Columbia and those who are in the pessimistic camp are from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Restaurants Canada senior economist Chris Elliott, adding not one respondent from Alberta said they expect to see greater sales growth than last year. “It’s really Armageddon out there right now.” Since June 2014, there has been a 70 per cent decrease in crude oil prices. Elliott said the impact is twofold. “The consumer is a little bit happier because they have more money to go out and spend elsewhere,” he said. “But the downside is we’ve seen basically a 35 per cent reduction in investment spending in the energy [sector] and that has, of course, hit Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador really hard.” According to the February forecast, Canada is expected to have real GDP growth of 1.2 per cent in 2016, down one per cent from predictions made in March 2015. “Of course this has a ripple effect across our economy and certainly on our industry,” Elliott said, adding the reason Canada is expecting weaker growth is because of weaker growth globally. “It really depends on where you are in the country,” he said, adding he doesn’t feel the restaurant industry should be panicking. “The good news is this is a growing industry overall,” Elliott said.

Merger on the menu A panel moderated by Bloomberg’s Amanda Lang delved into recent mergers and partnerships and included insights from FranWorks chief executive Derek Doke, Michael Glen, senior vice-president, head of equities, Laurentian Bank Securities, Bill Gregson, Cara Operations Ltd. CEO, Sean Morrison, Diversified Royalty Corp. president and CEO, and Paul Rivett, president of Fairfax Financial Holdings. Cara saw a strong 2015 with the completion of its acquisition of Landing Group of Restau-

rants and New York Fries as well as a spring IPO. Parent company Fairfax also purchased a 45 per cent stake in The McEwan Group in September. “We are always on the lookout for good businesses, at a good price, with good management,” Rivett told delegates. “We’re open to invest in this climate, but very cautiously.” He said there appears to be an exchange of dollars that would have been used on vacation or on cross-border shopping into restaurants. “Cara and The Keg are seeing same-store sales actually go up, so folks are trading those dollars to other things it seems,” said Rivett. Cara’s brands have been working on menu re-engineering and making the kitchen more efficient to find cost savings without sacrificing guest experience. During tougher times, Gregson said, a company can “discover things you never would in the good times.” After putting on the brakes and focusing on turnaround within, Gregson said Cara is poised for a “ramp-up year” with about 30 new builds across the system, compared to 16 in 2015. “There are some good rent deals out there, construction costs are coming down as well,” he said. With respect to trends in the industry, Gregson is keeping an eye on fast casual. Glen noted the segment has developed “much slower” in Canada than in the United States. “I would fully anticipate that you would see that accelerate in Canada,” said Glen, noting there is opportunity for home-grown Canadian concepts. Following the first year of Tim Hortons ownership by 3G Capital, Rivett said he doesn’t think there are any Canadian brands with the scale to be of interest to the large Brazilian private equity firm. “I don’t think 3G is coming, but you don’t need 3G, Fairfax is here,” said Rivett. “Prem [Watsa] created a company where we believe in decentralized operations … you can sell a piece, sell it all, whatever you want to do, but you’ll know you get to continue to run your business.” Rivett said Fairfax is fond of the restaurant industry and considers it one that makes good business sense long term. “We’re looking for talented individuals that

want to continue to run their businesses. What this current environment provides is an opportunity for people to see that maybe it would be better to be with a partner because you can take advantage of synergies and continue to run your business the way you want to run it,” he said.

Restaurant real estate is evolving The possibility of opening a restaurant with a drive-thru may soon be impractical. Grant Kosowan, co-founder of Orange National Retail Group, explained the vehiclefriendly real estate is becoming more difficult to acquire. “Drive-thrus in Canada are becoming rare golden geese and you want to keep mindful of that,” Kosowan advised. “You’re not going to see much more of them.” Municipal government is partly to blame for the demise of the drive-thru. “More and more communities in Canada these days love to get into social engineering and social responsibility,” Kosowan said. “They don’t want drive-thrus.” When a location suited for a drive-thru does arise, banks are easily able to outbid a restaurant for the real estate. “When they pay an extra $10 a square foot for that space it’s not even a rounding error when you declare $2.5 billion a quarter profit,” Kosowan said. While drive-thrus are becoming rare, new real estate options are emerging. “Mixed-use developments is a buzz word a lot of communities are using,” he said. “What you’re finding right now is a level of retail and restaurants, with office above it and multi-family above that. You’re seeing it on a more regular basis as developers try to squeeze more value.” When the time comes to scout a new location, many real estate companies will use artificial intelligence to generate the ideal spot to set up shop. Kosowan warned computer-generated pinpoints for a new location should be paired with local market knowledge. “I’ve seen pinpoints in the middle of rivers. I’ve seen pinpoints in neighbourhoods where you probably need Kevlar before taking a walk,” he said.

Seating with Style...

Executive chef Chris Perera.

InterCon Yorkville’s restaurant makeover By Don Douloff, Assistant Editor TORONTO — On March 1, the InterContinental Toronto Yorkville unveiled its new-look Signatures restaurant boasting a redesign blending the old and the new in a brighter, more contemporary space. Recasting the restaurant from the ground up, Torontobased Michael K. Design removed carpets, dividers, bar and booths, and installed a marble floor in the middle of the dining room and in the front entryway, site of the Signatures chalk wall, where guests are invited to sign their names. Catering to the business demographic, many of whom travel solo, a reconfigured section is outfitted with tables, featuring electrical outlets. As a result of this more spacious, business clientele-focused, lounge-style set-up, the restaurant now features 71 seats — 17 fewer than the pre-renovation total. Throughout the refreshed space, the French-inspired colour palette, highlighted by understated greys and off-whites, exudes a mix of the modern and historically inspired, which carries through to the entire décor. In addition to modernizing and brightening the décor, the renovation added two seats to the rear private dining room, which now hosts 8 people and, via a newly added sliding barnyard door, affords them total seclusion. At the back of the room, there’s a bar, facing out to the restaurant, where guests have been enjoying breakfast

and lunch, according to food and beverage manager Frank Guerreiro. “We want to be able to use the bar for multiple functions, continental buffets in the summer for breakfast, and chef can hold cooking classes in the summer,” he added. Executive chef Chris Perera noted that Signatures’ clientele is comprised equally of locals and out-of-town hotel guests. On the plate, Perera took an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach and stuck to the philosophy — fresh, seasonal and local (expanding beyond Ontario to include Canadiansourced ingredients such as meat, poultry and fish) — that, he said, has worked so well during the past several years. On the menu served after relaunch, that cooking style translated to new dishes such as an amuse bouche of sousvide octopus scented with smoked paprika; an appetizer of seared foie gras with cloudberry and vanilla-scented peaches; and a main course of medium-rare venison complemented by flaky-crusted root-vegetable pie. Perera, who was born in Sri Lanka and joined the InterContinental Yorkville in 1995 as chef de partie, becoming exec chef in 2007, expects to add such new creations as fish tacos, lobster grilled cheese, beef tenderloin and melon/ tomato salad to the spring menu that is slated to arrive in April. Adding grace notes to Perera’s menu is the bounty provided by InterCon Yorkville’s rooftop garden, consisting of six repurposed bathtubs growing herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, red chilies and edible flowers, to garnish salads.

Showroom & Stocked in Oakville

A new opening every four to five months Continued from cover With his success in Stroud, Mehra promised himself he would open a new restaurant every four to five months. “I set a goal. Knock on wood, I’ve been able to maintain that,” he said. Since opening his first restaurant, Mehra has also opened Flapjacks Barrie, The Breakfast House and Slice Pizzeria. He now plans to build his own restaurant chain by opening 10 to 15 new Flapjacks locations in the next two to three years. “Then I’m going to go from there. I’m going to see if it’s better to franchise out, or keep it in my own family’s name,” Mehra said. “Flapjacks is definitely a brand I want to grow.” To mimic his success in Stroud, Mehra plans to open new units in small, untapped markets. “The cities are concentrated with competition. People

sometimes don’t want to drive into the city and they’d rather support a local business,” Mehra said. “You have to see where there’s potential growth areas.” The untapped market approach has proven profitable for Mehra. While about 50,000 cars drive by the Barrie location on Bayfield Street daily, Stroud is recording higher profits with a traffic count of about 4,000 cars per day. “It’s because of (the Stroud) location I’ve been able to open my four other locations,” Mehra said. He added the average price of about $10 per person, mixed with a focus on service, has helped his business thrive. “At the end of the day, breakfast is breakfast. It’s bacon, eggs, home fries and toast,” Mehra said. “What sets you apart is the quality of the food and quality of service.”

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Fast Casual Sandwiched between quick serve and full service establishments the growing foodservice segment has a lot to offer, but fast casual operations are continuing to evolve.

By Kristen Smith


Burger’s Priest.

hile the average consumer might not use the industry term “fast casual,” Crave It Restaurant Group president and co-founder Alex Rechichi said they understand the value proposition. “I think people get it; they get it when they experience it, but they don’t get it to the point where they can define it with a term. They understand that there is something different here and there is something unique about this experience,” he said. Crave It operates the Burger’s Priest, Via Cibo and Stoney’s Bread Company brands, which have a presence in Ontario and Alberta. The restaurant group is also working with Khao San Road’s Monte Wan to develop a Thai concept, Bangkok Buri, which will open its first location in Toronto’s Union Station. Rechichi, who was also involved in developing Mucho Burrito and Extreme Pita, said he has taken many lessons from the United States, which had a decade head start in the segment. Mark Dempsey, director of client development for foodservice for NPD Group, said the majority of growth in Canada has been over the last five years. According to NPD Crest data, 2015 sales for fast casual were about $275 million, up $12 million from the year prior. “Fast casual in the Canadian marketplace continues to grow at double digit pace, which is a combination of not only increased store openings, which have been happening over the last several years, but also drawing additional traffic,” he said. “It’s stealing from the QSR marketplace because of improved experience and higher quality of food, and it’s been stealing from the QSR marketplace for some time, but now we are starting to see it steal share from the FSR marketplace,” said Dempsey, adding this is likely to have more of an affect on adult-oriented establishments. In Canada, fast casual accounts for about one per cent of total foodservice share, while that number is closer to 6 per cent in the United States. Although slower to gain traction and earn share in Canada, “chef-driven fast casual” was on both the National Restaurant Association and Restaurants Canada lists outlining 2016 trends.

New avenues Cory Vitiello, the restaurateur behind Harbord Room and THR & Co., recently made the move into the segment with a quick serve eatery, Flock, serving rotisserie chicken and chef-inspired salads. The first location opened in June 2015 at Adelaide and Peter streets in Toronto. He recently transformed THR & Co. into the second incarnation with an expanded menu and more seating.

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“This was the sister restaurant to the Harbord Room for three years and we just found the neighbourhood was craving more of a quintessential, neighbourhood, all-day spot, than it was another high-end restaurant,” he said. Vitiello is working on two more Flock locations at Richmond and Bay and Church and Bloor. “This formula only really makes sense at four because it’s such a low price point that it has to be scaled to actually make it work,” he said. He plans to use the Harbord Street location as a commissary for some of the labour and space-intensive prep, such as making dressings and dry-curing chickens. The move to fast casual reflected the way Vitiello saw his own — and the neighbourhood’s — eating habits shifting. “What they crave is something quick to go with their busy lifestyles; you can have a $25 dinner in 30 minutes or you can have a take-out salad every day that’s bursting with fresh vegetables and different flavours and textures,” he said. Vitiello sees fast casual as a less competitive space to launch a concept than full service, noting there are far more people who eat lunch in the downtown core every weekday than those who eat dinner at restaurants, and it requires a quarter of the real estate. “But it comes with its own challenges. I thought going from restaurant to QSR would be a pretty easy transition,” said Vitiello, who has been a chef for about 15 years. He said it’s more than simply converting to a focus on lunch. When 100 people walk through the door shortly after noon, the model has to be tight to put the food out fresh and ensure the last person in line doesn’t wait for more than 10 minutes. “At this point, it’s just about hospitality; I get the same satisfaction from sending a salad out in a box that I do from cooking a six-course tasting menu next door. If somebody walks out smiling, it’s the same feeling for me now.”

Slow food, fast food Tacofino uses the term “fast food slow” to describe the food being served at the British Columbia eateries. The surf-inspired concept was born in Tofino, B.C., as a food truck operated by husband and wife Kaeli Robinsong and Jason Sussman. “We like the idea of slow food but we also recognize that in a busy world, people want it quickly,” said Ryan Spong, who partnered with the couple to bring the two food trucks to Vancouver. The first brick and mortar location opened in 2012 out of operational necessity, to serve as a commissary kitchen. Since then,

Via Cibo. two more locations have opened with a fourth slated to open in the Yaletown area in June. “Our commitment is to use quality ingredients and prepare them with care. That means that the cost of the food itself is high and the labour that goes into it is high, but we choose to keep our prices low and make to food accessible to more people,” said Spong. “That’s an equation that’s tough. I think the thing about fast casual is, in order to make it work, you need a fair amount of volume. You can’t be fast casual and have a small place because the math just gets really hard.” Vitiello said sourcing in the fast casual segment differs greatly from fine dining, where operators can take the cost of food and then price a dish accordingly. “You have to be a little more creative in terms of what you use. People tend to overlook the true cost of what it takes to bring a vegetable into a restaurant,” said Vitiello, adding vegetables might be one of the biggest expenses at Flock and Harbord Room. “On top of that, it’s one of the more perishable ingredients so you really have to watch and respect the vegetable and make sure you’re not over-ordering, follow the seasons and stay on top of suppliers,” he said. “This is more challenging for me than the Harbord Room. We want to put this beautiful meal out, but it’s got to go out at $12,” Vitiello said. “It takes a lot more creativity, costing and know-how to make that happen if you still want to preserve the integrity of doing chef-inspired food.”

Pizza party Cypress Five Star brought Five Guys Burgers and Fries north of the border at a time when premium burger joints were ripe for expansion.

The Chopped Leaf.

Stoney’s Bread Company. Now, pizza concepts are flourishing in the fast casual segment in the United States. “The pizza segment … in the U.S., in fast casual, is the fastest growing segment,” said Guy Richardson, vice-president of operations for Eastern Canada for Cypress. The company opened the first Canadian outpost of Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza in Toronto last year and locations are slated to open in Edmonton and Calgary this spring. “Blaze is definitely the fastest growing in terms of unit numbers in the pizza race right now,” said Richardson. “I guess the thing that people really love about it, which is one of the things about fast casual, is it’s customizable.”

Healthy returns The Chopped Leaf founder and brand president Blair Stevens opened the first location in Kelowna, B.C., in 2009 after noticing an opportunity for healthy options in quick service. “I wanted to bring something I was passionate about — what I would eat in my own kitchen — to the public,” said Stevens, noting the menu focused on clean eating. After growing the brand to 18 locations, Innovative Food Brands (Teriyaki Experience) purchased the chain in late 2014. Since then, Chopped Leaf has grown to 30 units with plans to open in Manitoba and Ontario. Nick Veloce, Innovative Food Brands president and chief operating officer, said they plan to have 55 locations by year end. The menu’s offering of salads, wraps and soups have a natural health halo, which Veloce said is attractive to a large demographic, but particularly to the coveted millennial generation. The company recently introduced online ordering, which Veloce noted is certainly con-

Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza. venient for the customer, but has demonstrated impressive gains for the operator. Pre-ordering in a more relaxed atmosphere than at the front of a line, where the customer might feel rushed, allows for the opportunity to upsell. “We’re seeing an uptick on average ticket and we’re seeing incremental business because we’re line busting,” said Veloce.

Mix it up At fast casual restaurants, about two thirds of the traffic is on premise, according to NPD data, but only about two per cent of fast casual traffic includes alcohol. According to Dempsey, for those operators who can offer alcohol, it would be a profitable move. He said the experience fast casual offers is linked to those occasions where diners might want to have alcohol: people are more likely to go with friends and less likely to go with children. “It’s the kind of experience where alcohol might be expected to be had and really no one is capitalizing upon that yet,” he said. He expects the percentage of alcohol sales at fast casual to increase significantly year over year for the next four years. “I’d go so far as to say that if there is an alcohol manufacturer that can really jump on this and win in fast casual, it’s a multimilliondollar win for them in Canadian foodservice,” Dempsey said.

Blurred lines Rechichi said the line between fast casual and QSR were clearer about five years ago. “The initial interpretation of fast casual is really becoming what QSR is for tomorrow — the lines are really starting to get blurred,” he

Tacofino. Photo by Laura McGuire.

said. Quick service restaurants are reinventing themselves with better quality, service and environments. Rechichi expects to see this happen more often and for more QSR brands to get closer to the fast casual line. That said, he points to the upper tier of fast casual, where the food quality, plating and service models are becoming closer to casual dining than QSR. “The interesting thing about fast casual is what works in casual dining also can work in fast casual and what works in quick service can also work in fast casual depending on the daypart that you’re trying to focus on building,” said Rechichi. He outlined three factors that will determine the future of fast casual. “The quality of the food and what we do from a menu standpoint will only be determined by how creative we want to be, what kind of price point we want to charge and how quickly we want to put the food out,” said Rechichi. “We are still very much in the early stages of what fast casual can and will become in Canada.” Regardless of daypart or craving, there is a fast casual option. “Fast casual has very quickly become a 24hour phenomenon,” said Dempsey, adding this is appealing especially to millennials, because they can try something different every day. Also appealing to the coveted generation of consumers, is the segment’s underlying motto: tell us how you want it, and that’s how we’ll make it. “Fast casual is educating the rest of Canadian foodservice; the consumer wants things their way,” said Dempsey.

Via Cibo.

April 2016 | 1 3


Cresta opens on The Esplanade California-based Thomas George Estate rebrands its Toronto restaurant in an effort to stand out

TORONTO – Thomas George Estates has relaunched its Toronto eatery, with a shift towards a more memorable name. Cresta, the new concept at The Esplanade and Market Street, was officially unveiled March 15. The restaurant first opened under the name Pastizza about two years ago. “The name wasn’t memorable,” said Cresta’s general manager Dimitri Petropoulos. “It was difficult for people to tell their friends. Word of mouth became very difficult.” He added Googling “Italian restaurant The Esplanade” would yield directions to other eateries in the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood. “There were plenty of Italian restaurants,” Petropoulos said. “We had to differentiate ourselves and create a memorable name.” The new name pays tribute to the Californian vineyard Cresta Ridge, also owned by Thomas George Estates. The restaurant’s new menu was designed to pair with wines from the vineyard. “Our wine program is very unique. We only have wines from Thomas George Estates,” Petropoulos said, noting the wines are not available elsewhere in Ontario.

“We really want to showcase our world class pinot noir and world class chardonnay.” The restaurant’s concept has also evolved from its trattoria-style “fast Italian” cuisine. The menu still offers pizza, as well as a variety of dishes from lobster-infused spaghetti to ricotta and chestnut ravioli. “We’ve let the kitchen express their creativity a little bit more,” Petropoulos said. “We are Italian influenced, but it’s not your traditional Italian cuisine.” Along with a few minor changes to decor, the 140seat restaurant (270 seats including the patio) has retained the majority of its staff. “We’ve been a really close family now for almost two years,” Petropoulos said. Cresta’s adjacent grab-and-go location, tentatively named Beside Cresta, is still in development. As Pastizza, the next-door storefront sold gelato, sandwiches and pizzas. Petropoulos said a new concept is expected to launch in the summer. “This year we’re thinking of changing it up a little bit,” Petropoulos said. “We’re still coming up with a concept for the space.”

Canadian spirit companies earn global recognition SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – The Georgian Bay Spirit Co. has returned from the 16th annual San Francisco World Spirits Competition with several awards, including Best of Class. The event, held in late March, is considered one of the most respected competitions for spirits. More than 1,850 brands entered the contest. Georgian Bay Gin, released in 2014, earned its second silver medal at the competition. Its first silver was awarded at the World Wine & Spirits Competition held in New York. The craft distiller’s vodka was unanimously awarded top marks in a blind taste test earning a gold medal. A double gold medal was awarded based on the vodka’s top marks. “We couldn’t be more thrilled that Georgian Bay Vodka was named Best Vodka at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition,” Georgian Bay Spirit Co. co-founder Denzil Wadds said in a news release.

In a final round of judging, Georgian Bay Vodka was named Best of Class. “We believe we’ve captured the spirit of Georgian Bay in this vodka by using only the best ingredients nature has to offer,” co-founder Tim Keenleyside said. The small-batch vodka is made using a combination of single malt and a corn-based vodka, blended with spring water from a reservoir in Springwater, Ont.

World Whiskies Award Corby Spirit and Wine picked up six awards at the World Whiskies Awards. The awards, which took place in London on March 17, are the culmination of three rounds of blind judging conducted by an international panel of experts. “There’s no better feeling in the world than to have our work recognized on the world stage,” Cor-

by’s master blender Dr. Don Livermore said in a news release. Collectively, Corby’s whiskies took home the following honours: Gooderham & Worts, World’s Best Canadian Blended Whisky; Gooderham & Worts; Best Canadian Blended Whisky; Lot No. 40, Best Canadian Rye Whisky; J.P. Wiser’s Hopped, Best Canadian Flavoured Whisky; J.P. Wiser’s 18 Years Old, Best Canadian Blended Whisky Age Statement; and J.P. Wiser’s Legacy, gold medal for Canadian Whisky. “The recognition we received at the Canadian Whisky Awards in January was a proud moment for us, and the fact that we’ve now been able to replicate these results on the world stage is an outstanding accomplishment,” Patrick O’Driscoll, president and chief executive officer of Corby Spirit and Wine, said in a news release. “This is a true reflection of the passion we hold for creating quality whisky, and we’re honoured to share it with the world.”


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Canadian Restaurant News


Workplace harassment definitions now expanded By Jay Josefo


n late October 2015 Bill 132, the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act, was introduced. This bill emerged from the Ontario Government’s March 6, 2015 report, “It’s Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment,” and takes employer obligations to a new level. Based on the amendments recently passed (March 2016), when many of these amendments are effective by September 2016 employers will have to review and update their workplace harassment policies as well as make other pro-active changes to their approach to these issues.

Existing Ontario law: Under Bill 168, proclaimed five years ago and part of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers are obligated to prepare workplace violence and harassment policies/procedures, train employees on such policies/procedures, establish an employee complaint process, investigate complaints, perform a workplace violence risk assessment, as well as warn employees of specified individuals who had a history of violence, and generally to take all (reasonable) precautions to protect employees from workplace violence and harassment. Yet some asserted that Bill 168, with its emphasis on workplace violence, did not sufficiently address workplace harassment, and did not prevent and protect employees from such workplace harassment. Bill 132 was the result of that criticism, which leads to these various amendments now coming into law.

Enhanced definitions of harassment, enhanced employer obligations: “Workplace Harassment” Includes Sexual Harassment. These amendments revise the OHSA definition of “workplace harassment” to include “workplace sexual harassment,” as follows: • engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, where the course of comment or conduct is known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwelcome; • making a sexual solicitation or advance where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant, or deny a benefit or advancement to the worker and the person knows or ought reasonably to know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome. Thankfully, the amendments provide that “reasonable” performance management and direction relating to the management and direction of workers or the workplace, is not “workplace harassment.” Of course, what is “reasonable” could well become contentious. Yet these amendments seem to at least acknowledge that, on fairly rare occasions, employers may receive vexatious or frivolous harassment complaints from employees claiming that, for example, a less than satisfactory performance appraisal itself constitutes workplace harassment, or who respond to such a poor appraisal by asserting that the appraiser has in the past harassed them.

All such complaints must, even if they were not previously, be taken seriously and must be objectively and properly investigated. Indeed, a recent Human Rights Tribunal Decision, Fredricks v. The BTS Networks Inc., took an employer to task for it having given short shrift to a complaint. Even though the complaint itself was questionable, the termination of the employee soon after making the complaint, and the cursory review of the allegations, led the Tribunal to find that the termination was, at least in part, a reprisal for the making of the human rights complaint. So, these obligations exist now — even before these amendments come into force.

to conduct the investigation and to issue a written report. The inspector can order that the employer pay the costs involved of engaging this “impartial person.” This means that, if there is concern that an employer will not on its own investigate, or even if the inspector wishes, he or she can take control of the process and compel a third party investigation. Hopefully there will be guidelines added to a regulation describing under what circumstances an inspector may take what appear to be draconian steps at the expense of the employer. At present, the discretion of the MOL inspector in this regard seems open-ended.

Additional obligations for workplace harassment policies

What does this mean?

OHSA now requires that employers create a workplace harassment program which includes measures and procedures for reporting incidents as well as for investigating and dealing with incidents. These amendments oblige the employer to expand the workplace harassment program to: • Develop and maintain a written program to implement the workplace harassment policy; • The implementation plan is to include measures and procedures for workers to report incidents to a person other than his/her employer/supervisor if that person is the alleged harasser; • set out how information obtained about an incident or complaint (including any identifying information) will not be disclosed unless the disclosure is necessary for the purposes of investigating or taking corrective action or if required by law; • set out how the alleged victim and perpetrator (if a worker) will be informed of the results of the investigation and of applicable corrective steps to be or that have been taken as a result of the investigation.

Bill 132 recently passed the legislature, with many of these new sections coming into force effective September 8, 2016. Employers would be wise to review their existing policies, so to determine what will need updating and enhancement, along with preparing for necessary employee training to ensure all supervisors and staff are aware of their respective rights and obligations. One observation can be made based on these amendments: workplace sexual harassment will be both a human rights issue covered by the Human Rights Code, as is the case currently, and also a workplace safety issue covered by OHSA. Thus, in addition to human rights exposure, employers who fail to meet their obligations will be subject to liability and charges under OHSA.

The expanded obligations and definitions in these amendments should lead to, for some employers, a workplace cultural shift. For example, for some employers it may be that a top producer was tolerated, at least for a time, even if his workplace behaviour was marginal or worse. Yet if his or her behaviour exposes the company to significant liability and risk, as could well occur with these amendments, such tolerance, even for an otherwise top-gun employee, should likely be at an end. In my view, workplace harassment of any type should never be tolerated so I well understand and applaud the intent of these amendments. Yet I wonder if the goals sought to be achieved by them (and the proposed methods used to achieve them) are not already accomplished through existing legislation, better enforcement, or education? Too many laws saying, essentially, the same thing, and excessive enforcement discretion, may undermine employer confidence and may not accomplish the worthy objective of preventing workplace harassment.

Jay Josefo is counsel with Ricketts, Harris LLP Barristers & Solicitors in Toronto. His focus is on human resource issues.

Specific Duties Added to OHSA with Workplace Harassment OHSA did not previously impose duties on employers pertaining to harassment other than that of creating a policy/procedure and training staff. This is quite different than the more detailed obligations under OHSA for “workplace violence.” These amendments add the specific following obligations. To protect a worker from workplace harassment, an employer shall ensure that: • an investigation is conducted into incidents and complaints; • the alleged victim and harasser (if a worker) must be informed in writing of the results of the investigation and any corrective action taken as a result of the investigation; • the workplace harassment program is reviewed as often as required yet at least annually to ensure that it adequately implements the employer’s workplace harassment policy. Greater Ministry of Labour Duties of Oversight These amendments allocate more power to Ministry of Labour (MOL) inspectors, so they can specifically order an employer to investigate a workplace harassment incident as well as to hire an “impartial person” (presumably one whom the MOL inspector believes is qualified)

April 2016 | 1 5


Ontario farmers blaze trail for land-raised shrimp By Bill Tremblay CAMPBELLFORD, Ont. — A Campbellford, Ont., farm is pioneering an unlikely form of agriculture on Canadian soil. In what once served as a pig barn, Paul Cocchio and his son Brad have built Canada’s first successful inland shrimp farm. After years of raising livestock, the Cocchios began to look at different options for their three 8,000-square-foot barns. “Dad spent a lot of sleepless nights on the Internet looking for different possibilities,” Brad Cocchio said. Paul’s research led him to farms in the United States using chicken barns to raise shrimp. “He did a bit more research and went to see a few of them,” Brad said. “They’re actually growing them in those cheap PVC plastic pools.” Following the research phase, the Cocchios created First Ontario Shrimp, the first Pacific white shrimp farm in Ontario. Rather than using pools, the Cocchios built 16 concrete growth tanks and four starter tanks in one of their three barns. “For a month, they’re in the starter tank, then you move them into the grow tank for another three months,” Brad explained. With about three years of research and de-

velopment behind them, the farm is now producing about 100 pounds of shrimp per week. They hope to eventually quadruple production using the same amount of space. “There is an extreme learning curve to this,” Brad said. “Even people we’re talking to in the United States, who have been doing this for years, are trying different things to get survival [rates] up.” The difficulty lies in the water used to cultivate the shrimp. Crustacean survival requires a specific bacteria culture surviving in the tanks, as well as a proper ph balance, the right amount of food and a temperature of 29 C. “We know they can’t take much of a temper-

ature change at all,” Brad said. “When we were starting, it was very hard to control ph swings and feedings. If you overfeed them, the water goes crappy.” Although difficult, Brad explained the freshness of an Ontario-grown shrimp couldn’t be matched. “When we take them to Toronto to sell, they come out of the tank and are in Toronto in a few hours,” he said. Fresh is also paired with sustainability. “It’s a great local story. With First Ontario Shrimp, you’re not having to import shrimp from Southeast Asia, which obviously has a much bigger carbon footprint,” said Teddie

Gordon Food Service Show TORONTO — More than 2,100 foodservice professionals visited the Ontario leg of the Gordon Food Service Show on March 23 at the Toronto Congress Centre. About 230 exhibitors demonstrated new products and highlighted spring trends. There was also an array of educational seminars and cooking demonstrations. In addition to the healthcare pavilion, world of cheese, produce, local and protein pavilions, a customer solutions booth was added in the services and hospitality area. Clockwise from top left: Chef Darryl Fletcher (Chef D) created dishes with Markon’s new kale Colour Krunch and Urban Blend Salad Mixes. Corporate chef Marc Laroche was highlighting some of Olymel’s new products. The annual fruit and vegetable table display. Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar and Tania Sheep’s Milk Cheese, both by Lenberg Farms (Finica Food Specialties).

1 6 | Ontario Restaurant News

Geach, a seafood specialist with Ocean Wise. “These land-based shrimp farms are a great sustainable alternative.” Using land-based aquaculture for shrimp farming also reduces the possibility of live shrimp finding its way into Canada’s lakes and rivers. “There’s no risk of these shrimp escaping and interacting with the wild population — that could have negative impacts,” Geach said. While First Ontario Shrimp has its product on the market, other inland shrimp farms are setting up shop. Planet Shrimp in Aylmer, Ont., plans to operate a 225,000-square-foot shrimp facility. As well, Ocean Wise is aware of two other inland shrimp farms in British Columbia: one is in the research phase while the other is under construction. “I think there’s going to be a lot more of these farms popping up pretty soon,” Geach said. “There’s been a lot of buzz and interest in this. There’s a huge market for shrimp.” For those looking to get into inland shrimp farming, Brad advises they start small. “It’s more like you’re farming the water than you are farming shrimp,” he said. “Until you figure out what to look for in the water, you’ll wonder why things aren’t working when they should be.”

Shoeless Joe’s grows Sports grill chain plans to build seven new locations this year, including its first venture outside of Ontario TORONTO — A recent rebranding is leading the charge for rapid expansion for Shoeless Joe’s Sports Grill. By the end of the year, Shoeless Joe’s will add Vaughan, Pickering, Hamilton, Belleville, Ont., Saskatoon and Edmonton to its roster of locations. As well, Shoeless Joe’s recently opened in The Stockyards retail complex in Toronto. “Our hope and expectation is we will open seven or eight restaurants a year,” said Frank Lopreiato, president of Shoeless Joe’s Sports Grill. The company also plans to open locations in Thunder Bay and Peterborough, Ont., in 2017 bringing its store count to 41. “We’re seeing 25 to 35 per cent growth this year and we expect to see the same next year,” Lopreiato said. “We’re expecting to see some really strong results over the next few years.” Shoeless Joe’s opened its first location in Toronto about 30 years ago. In 2012, it unveiled a rebranding for the restaurant with a focus on sports-centric casual dining. Lopreiato ex-

plained the new brand, mixed with a push for new franchises, has led to the chain’s recent growth. “We’re obviously pushing a lot harder than we have in the past, but some of it is coming organically,” he said. “I’m a firm believer that every company has a life cycle. As you garner excitement and get in the consumer’s face, you need to build on that. “We don’t want people to get excited about what’s happening, and do nothing.” The new brand included a revamped “sleek look” and a new menu. As well, upgraded audiovisual equipment was installed for sporting events and bars were moved from the wall to the centre of the restaurant. “One of the key strategic moves was to make it more sociable,” Lopreiato said. The Saskatoon and Edmonton locations will be the first Shoeless Joe’s locations to open outside of Ontario. “There’s not a lot like us in Western Canada. There’s a real void. They have a lot of the more

premium casual concepts,” Lopreiato said. He added there is no shortage of sports fans in Alberta and Saskatchewan. “Sports are big in these provinces. We can offer something that is new and exciting in the marketplace,” Lopreiato said. The concept will remain relatively the same for its western expansion. “There are small revisions like table colours, small little things. We didn’t feel like we needed to do a lot,” Lopreiato said.

While the company is projecting store numbers to grow by as much as 35 per cent annually, Lopreiato said sales, rather than location numbers, are his focus. In 2013, Shoeless Joe’s reached $52 million in sales. This year, Lopreiato expects to see $84 million in system-wide sales growing to $120 million in two years. “I’m not particularly concerned with how many restaurants we open,” he said. “More so, it’s how we grow in our top line sales.”

PRODUCTS Globe launches new spiral dough mixers

Broasters introduces grab-and-go kiosk The Broaster Company is introducing the newest addition to its lineup of grab-and-go foodservice equipment and its branded food program. The all-inclusive kiosk package comes with a warmer, a printed or optional digital menu board, and fully wrapped, eye-catching graphics. The kiosk line comes in four, six and eightfoot sizes and is available branded as Genuine Broaster Chicken or Broaster Express. The kiosk allows convenience store operators to drop the unit into their business and serve food the same day. Using a pressure fryer, Broasters allows operators to prepare fresh chicken, pork chops, chicken wings or ribs.

Globe Food Equipment has added two spiral dough mixers to their food preparation line. It’s designed for bakeries, pizzerias and others interested in developing the proper gluten structure of their dough without overworking it. The GSM130 model has a 130-pound dough capacity and the GSM175 is equipped with a 175-pound dough capacity. Globe spiral mixers are constructed of heavy-duty metal with front-mounted dual 20 minute electronic timer controls for automatic shift from first to second speed as well as reversible bowl drive for smaller batches providing mixer versatility.

Libbey unveils new stemware

Bunge introduces new margarines Bunge Canada has introduced two new margarines to the market. The company’s new Delicia NH Canola Margarine is made with canola grown and processed in Alberta, and the recipe now includes sunflower lecithin. The product is non hydrogenated, lactose free, gluten free, non dairy, Kosher parve, has a natural colour and flavour

and is spreadable right from the refrigerator. Bunge also introduced its new Delicia NH Soya Margarine, a low-cost product available in 13 kilogram pails. The soya product is made with soybeans grown and processed in Ontario and is also non hydrogenated, lactose free, gluten free, non dairy and Kosher parve.

Rivere is the newest pattern in the Master’s Reserve collection from Libbey Foodservice. The modern look of the Rivere glassware features a wide, gracefully designed bowl that cradles the wine and concentrates aromas while the large surface area allows wine to breathe. Other distinguishing features of glassware in the Master’s Reserve collection include sparkling clarity, thin, beadless edge and signature flat foot. Rivere is the third stemware pattern in the Master’s Reserve collection, joining Renaissance and Prism. New glassware will be added to the collection in 2016.

April 2016 | 1 7


CAFP recognizes student members TORONTO – The Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals (CAFP) recognized the achievements of its student members on March 21 at a gala held at the Chelsea Hotel. During the event, Andrea Cassidy (Humber College) Angelie Cathers Raynak (University of Guelph) and Jeroselle Bulandi (Ryerson University) received the Gold Medal Plate Award, which was created to recognize and honour members of the student CAFP branches who have shown outstanding qualification based on scholastic achievement, association involvement, industry experience and commitment to the industry. “We love recognizing all the fantastic students that are involved in our association for all the wonderful things they do and are capable of,” said Nancy Hewitt, president of the Toronto Branch of the CAFP. “We should all feel really good about the future in foodservice.” For scholastic achievement, the CAFP branch awards went to Sunny Ye-Seaul Choi (Guelph University), Yizhou Zhang (George Brown College) and Andrea Cassidy (Humber College). Choi also received the Brian Cooper Memorial Award for highest scholastic score. Numerous students also received bursaries from member

Rodney Shiga presented Angelie Cathers Raynak (University of Guelph), Andrea Cassidy (Humber College) and Jeroselle Bulandi (Ryerson University) with a Gold Medal Plate Award. companies during the event, including; Noura Jabbour (Guelph University); Erica Gibson (Guelph University); Lara Haines Cove (Guelph University); Karin Mohammadi (Ryerson University); Angelie Cathers Raynuk (Guelph University); Olivia Kordos (Ryerson University); Samantha Riddell (Guelph University); Tina Qutta (Ryerson University); Michelina Helen Martinez (Guelph University); Bonnie Nethery (Guelph University); Callie Gross (Guelph University); Sharmini Balakrishnan (Guelph University); Elise Garand (Ryerson University); Alana Galper (Ryerson

University); Jessic Owusu-Bonsu (Ryerson University); Debrowska Muszynski (Guelph University); Theresa Calver (Humber College); Sarah Gallins (Guelph University); Xingyu Chen (Ryerson University); Jacqueline Silver (Ryerson University); Melissa Tambeau (Guelph University); Inthuyu Wamathewan (Guelph University); Heather Ward (Humber College) and Andrea Yazek (Guelph University). The Kostuch Memorial Award was presented to Mallory McWhirter (Humber College).

Humber College students win innovation contest TORONTO — For the second year in a row, students from Humber College took top prize at the third annual Frankie Tomatto’s Restaurant Innovation Competition. Sara Herrche and Katheryne Gee were awarded $3,000 in the final round of the student competition held during the Restaurants Canada Show on Feb. 28. Their proposed business, Field to Fork Consulting, is a purchasing group and consulting firm for restaurants in the Greater Golden Horseshoe looking for partial or full conversions to locally-grown Ontario foods.

Nancy Hewitt and Michael Tuinstra.

Sara Herrche and Katheryne Gee

Dana Hospitality recognized by OGVG TORONTO — Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) recognized Dana Hospitality at the Restaurants Canada Show for the foodservice management company’s efforts in promoting local food. Dana was the winner of the second OGVG Celebrating Ontario Agriculture promotion and display competition in October. “They have always stepped up and been at the table to support and pro-

mote local agriculture,” said Nancy Hewitt, foodservice market specialist with OGVG, which represents about 220 growers on more than 2,500 acres. Foodservice unit manager Michael Tuinstra, who runs the café at the Blount Canada location in Guelph, Ont., created seven new recipes using greenhousegrown peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers. He credited much of the success to the staff members who decorated five colourful displays.

The team founder, Colonerus pledged to remain on board until 2018. “I love my profession and I don’t want to quit yet,” said Colonerus at a fundraiser dinner for the regional team and Friends of We Care in mid-February. Tickets, a silent auction and the raffling of some of the Ontario Culinary Team’s chefs went toward supporting the group of chefs in their quest for culinary excellence.

Ontario Culinary Team

TORONTO — When the Ontario Culinary Team travels to Erfurt, Germany, in October it will be chef Edouard Colonerus’ 10th Culinary Olympics.




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Ontario Restaurant News - April 2016  
Ontario Restaurant News - April 2016