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estaurant News R August 2013 Vol. 28 No. 7
N A T I O N A L
C O V E R A G E
Reviving The Western
From left: Tim Halley and Bob Dehu.
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By Kristen Smith, assistant editor, digital content GUELPH, ON—The history at the corner of MacDonnel and Wyndham streets is evident throughout the recently opened Western Hotel Burgers and Steaks restaurant. Moving past the new open-concept kitchen through the three rooms of the renovated restaurant, the brick walls and archways show evidence of expansions as the hotel changed hands, names and shape over more than a century. The building was first home to the Western Hotel, which opened in 1881. Since then the New Western Hotel, the Ambassador Hotel and
the Diplomat Hotel have called 72 MacDonell St. home. Now owned by Tony and Fred DiBattista, the new downtown burger and steakhouse proudly bears the original name. Western Hotel Burgers and Steaks opened in early July under the operation of Bob Dehu and Darryl Moore. Just inside the entrance made of reclaimed barn wood lies a bar table made from a piece of a 150-year-old fir tree. Garage doors open the 65seat front dining area to the passing pedestrians. Dehu told ORN that once work is completed on the back area of the building, the modern-day saloon will expand from the 1,600 square feet currently in use to 3,500.
He estimated a front patio will add somewhere between 12 and 20 seats. As the name implies, the Western offers burgers, steaks and smoked meats. The menu, created by local chef Tim Halley, uses local products: the burgers are made with beef from Paradise Farms in Caledon, the Ontario steaks are AAA and aged 28 days, and the chicken is from St Clements Poultry in Kitchener, ON. Halley spent two months working with Dave McRae of Guelph’s Grain Revolution to develop organic, poppy and sesame seed-glazed buns for the burgers, which he wanted to be lighter than typical artisan breads.
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Big Crow’s backyard barbecue By Elaine Anselmi
TORONTO—No camping trip is complete without the smell of a smoky bonfire penetrating every plaid shirt, wool sock or pair of denim pants—and Rose and Sons’ new backyard Canadian barbecue offers the full experience. The back area of owner Anthony Rose’s first restaurant, Rose and Sons, at 176 Dupont St. has been transformed into an Algonquin Park camping trip-inspired barbecue joint. “We always had this backyard area and always knew we wanted to use it,” Rose told ORN. “We didn’t know if it would be an extension of Rose and Sons.” In fact, the bar and
kitchen operates totally separately from the original restaurant and the two share just one dish, the Country Chop Salad. The restaurant’s namesake, Big Crow Lake – a northern stop along the provincial park’s network of canoe routes – is a significant place for Rose and his partners Robert Wilder and chef Chris Sanderson. “It had meaning to all of us,” he said. “It led to that backyard, rustic idea.” As Big Crow’s sous chef shuffled loads of wood through the restaurant to the outdoor barbecue, Rose said the grill is used to cook 70
The Western Hotel goes for “gastro roadhouse” Continued from cover
Pulled pork and wings are smoked in house and thick French fries are cut on premise. The kitchen braises beans and deskins, stuffs and rolls its own jalapeno poppers. “We use a lot of fine-dining techniques,” said Halley. “We’re not cutting any corners,” he said, suggesting the Western’s menu could be called “gastro roadhouse.” Halley, who trained at the Stratford Chefs School, was a pioneer of the gastro pub movement in Ontario. He worked at the Aberfoyle Mill, Enver’s Restaurant, opened McCabe’s Irish Pub and
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Grill and was a founder of The Fat Duck Gastro Pub. The Western Hotel is part of an independent buyers group, which allows members to negotiate lower costs from suppliers. Dehu said the purchasing power of the 60-member group allows them to sell burgers for $10 and steaks for $20, keeping the average check between $15 and $30. Halley said the focus of the restaurant is to be accessible to the average person. “This may be how we’re going to stand apart,” he said. 72 MacDonell St., Guelph. (519) 824-2560.
per cent of the menu. In developing that menu, he said basic cook-out ingredients and recipes were the main focus. “When we’d go out camping or on a canoe trip, the one thing we always had was versht, an all-beef salami,” said Rose. “It never goes bad. A week in, you’re eating that with cheddar cheese and peanut butter. You end up eating whatever you can find, with beef salami.” While cheddar cheese and peanut butter are not on the menu at Big Crow, versht served with an apricot glaze for $9 is a take on the canoe-tripping staple. Wilder pointed out another favourite dish, the JW Bird with green sauce ($16)—a nod to Rose’s mentor, New York chef Jonathan Waxman. The two also said that the food at Big Crow, like Rose and Sons, is heavily influenced by Rose’s mother, Linda. The 60-seat space at Big Crow is lined with seven picnic tables of varying length, arranged under two large umbrellas and a dark-grey canvas roof. Hudson Bay Company-striped pitchers sit on the communal tabletops and a halved shipping container at either end operate as a bar and prep area. A remodeled Weber grill in the bar acts as a draft tap, pouring Steam Whistle, Beau’s All Natural, Kensington Watermelon Wheat and Pommies Dry Cider. Rose describes the beverage list as “a throwback to what we like,” with cocktails such as the Mai Tai, Tequila Sunrise and root beer and bourbon, and a “softer drink” list that includes Thomas Lavers Ginger Beer. He said the nature of the restaurant is not fine dining: it’s a rustic and all-Canadian take on barbecue—with s’mores for dessert.
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A new look for AquaTerra by Clark KINGSTON—The Delta Kingston Waterfront Hotel reopened in mid-July after a $10 million makeover of the property and restaurant. AquaTerra Restaubistro by Clark was fully renovated to offer more flexibility for different group sizes and purposes. Still under the direction of Clark Day and chef de cuisine Brent McAllister, the restaurant now offers flexible space that can be configured as either private or open, as well as a main dining space. The lakeside restaurant has a large harvest table with plug-in stations for guests needing to work or recharge devices while dining. AquaTerra has been recommended in the Where to Eat in Canada guide and recognized by the VQA awards of excellence for its wine list.
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O N TA R I O R E S TAU R A N T N E W S
ecently, a proposal before the French parliament had the potential to change the name of the game, quite literally, for restaurateurs in France. France has a long history of fiercely defending its gastronomic honour through provisions such as appellation d’origine controlee (AOC) labelling, which sets standards for wine, cheese and other beloved items from the country’s regions. So, argued politician Daniel Fasquelle when introducing the bill, the logical conclusion would be to extend these same requirements to restaurants: to reserve the name “restaurant” for those places that make everything from scratch, and remove the moniker from all other establishments. It’s a radical notion, although not unheard of in Europe: French law requires bakeries designated as boulangeries to make everything from scratch, and restaurants in Italy are made to mark items that have previously been frozen on their menus with an asterisk and a “surgelato” label.
Fasquelle’s idea made it through the first reading in Parliament as an amended compromise, where restaurants would label only housemade items as such, leaving the rest for the customer to figure out the origin. Setting aside the debate as to whether or not this standard would be practical to apply to all North American restaurants, consider for a moment the criteria by which we judge our own menus. In recent years, the industry rush towards labelling means that menus are now more likely than ever to contain a mention of what isn’t there, such as allergen, gluten, fat and sodium reduction labels. While in many cases, this is an invaluable and often lifesaving tool that is a boon to the diner, it means that to some extent, we’re slowly defining food more by what we choose not to add, rather than what we do. Just as some chefs write menus as a list of single ingredient descriptors (pork | cherries | air | etc.), this shift is worlds away from the lavish narratives on the menus of old. Perhaps this idea of omission and pareddown menu prose is reflected in the biggest
thing that some chefs have removed from the restaurant experience: the dining room itself. Just as pop-ups blur the lines of restaurant ownership and timelines with their “here today, gone tomorrow” mode of operation, so too do the mobile notions created through outdoor dinners like Diner en Blanc and communal meals such as those put out by Canada’s Group of Seven chefs. As these roving chefs pack their bags and share their knowledge and time throughout other people’s kitchens, the concept of a restaurant starts to link more to the knowledge inside an operator’s mind, rather than the physical confines of a dining room. Ultimately, the one component that cannot be removed from the restaurant concept is the customer. Legislators or politicians, operators or chefs can try and define the true meaning of a restaurant, but by spending their disposable income in concepts that they enjoy – and leaving by the wayside those establishments that don’t meet their dining standards – customers are the ones that shape that definition of a restaurant every time they lift their knives and forks.
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Editorial advisory Council Mickey Cherevaty Executive Vice-president, Moyer Diebel Limited Marvin Greenberg Consultant Jack Battersby President, Summit Food Service Distributors Inc. Barney Strassburger Jr. President, TwinCorp Paul LeClerc Partner, Serve-Canada Food Equipment Ltd. Michael Stephens Director of Retail, Inventory and Wholesale, LCBO Ralph Claussen 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 Matt Johnston Vice-president, Marketing, Moosehead Breweries Martin Kouprie Chef/Owner, Pangaea Restaurant Joel Sisson Founder and president of Crush Strategy Inc. Leslie Wilson Vice president of Business Excellence Compass Group Canada Chris Jeens Partner W. D. Colledge Co. Ltd.
Volume 28 No. 7 Ontario Restaurant News is published 12 times year by Ishcom Publications Ltd., which also publishes: Pacific/Prairie Restaurant News, Atlantic Restaurant News, Canadian Lodging News, Ontario Chains and the ORN Buyers’ Directory. 2065 Dundas Street East, Suite 201 Mississauga, Ontario L4X 2W1 Tel: (905) 206-0150 Fax: (905) 206-9972 In Canada 1 800 201-8596 Subscriptions: Canada: $52.33/year or $78.57/2 years, $102.67/ 3 years; U.S.A.: $58.85/year or $84.85/2 years, $108.70/ 3 years. Single copy: $5.95 (Plus taxes where applicable) Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to circulation department, 2065 Dundas Street East, Suite 201, Mississauga, Ontario L4X 2W1 Publication Mail Agreement No. 40010152 ISSN 0834-0404 GST number R102533890
A German spot in Greektown TORONTO—The abundance of Greek restaurants in Toronto’s east end have a new European neighbour, Das Gasthaus. The German bistro opened in late May at 107 Danforth Ave. Owner Ruthie Cummings hired on chef Andrew Taylor, formerly of Langdon Hall and Canoe, to head up the kitchen, according to Post City. The menu offers traditional German cuisine such as schnitzel and spaetzle, as well as a board of pumpernickel bread with cured meats and pickled vegetables that is ordered as a quarter, half or full metre for $10 to $34. The 35-seat restaurant pours a mix of German and local beers, said Post City, and it is introducing a Bavarian cocktail program. Das Gasthaus, 107 Danforth Ave., www. dasgasthaus.ca.
Technomic studies post-secondary foodservice habits CHICAGO—A recent report by Technomic, Inc. has put university and college foodservice under the microscope and revealed some disheartening trends for those in the industry. According to the Canadian College and University Consumer Trend Report, the number of university and college students purchasing meals off-campus has increased since 2011 from 51 per cent to 58 per cent in 2013. “To fuel growth of campus foodservice, college and university dining operators will want to consistently focus on improvements to overall value, menu variety and atmosphere at on-campus dining locations,” said Technomic executive vice-president Darren Tristano in a release. “Menu variety in particular is key to boosting student patronage. Our year-overyear data indicates that there’s an increased demand for unique items, ethnic offerings
and customization opportunities on college and university foodservice menus.” A key finding in Technomic’s study was that only 28 per cent of post-secondary students said they were satisfied with their institution’s foodservice program. As well, menu variety and uniqueness ranked as important with the majority of students surveyed, and approximately 40 per cent of students wanted the option of substituting ingredients in their meals. See the June issue of ORN for a feature on post-secondary institutions that are catering to their students and creating successful foodservice programs.
CHF celebrates the future of hospitality and foodservice TORONTO—The Canadian Hospitality Foundation (CHF) is both celebrating and supporting the future of hospitality, lodging and foodservice in Canada with the 2013 Canadian Hospitality Foundation Ball. The annual event, held this year at the Toronto Sheraton Centre Hotel on Oct. 26, benefits hospitality and culinary students across the country. Proceeds from the ball go toward approximately $200,000 in scholarships that the foundation awards to students in hospitality, lodging and foodservice programs. Various levels of sponsorship are available for the event that brings together members of the industry to support its future workforce. The CHF was established in 1962 by the Canadian Restaurant Association (now the Canadian Restaurant & Foodservices Association) and has been administered and managed by the Ontario Hostelry Institute since November 1993.
Restaurateurs and CCFA seek ban on sow gestation crates More than 100 members of Canada’s restaurant industry are sending a strong message
BIt es to the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC): that gestation crates need to go. The petition, started by the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals (CCFA) is asking the NFACC to ban the holding of pregnant sows in metal crates, barely larger than their bodies, according to the CCFA. The NFACC banned the practice of confining sows in cages for their entire lifespan this spring. This ban allowed for the confinement of pregnant sows within the first 35 days of gestation, as the crates keep sows from becoming aggressive during that period, according to the Vancouver Sun. Restaurants across the country signed the CCFA’s petition, including Beast Restaurant in Toronto, Ancaster Mill in Ancaster, ON and Juniper Kitchen and Wine Bar in Ottawa.
Tim Hortons’ gluten-free choice OAKVILLE, ON—Canada’s QSR coffee giant has introduced an alternative option to its menu of baked goods, soups and sandwiches. Tim Hortons’ gluten-free coconut macaroon is now available in stores across Canada in pre-packaged portions of two to prevent cross-contamination. “We’ve made a commitment to our guests to provide balanced menu choices, and the new gluten-free coconut macaroon is an example of that,” Donna Finelli, vicepresident marketing, food and merchandise, Tim Hortons, said in a release. “Given the growing number of people who have celiac disease and gluten intolerance, we’re making it just a little bit easier for friends and families to enjoy eating together at our restaurants.” The macaroons are certified gluten-free through the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) Gluten-Free Certification Program. According to the release, the meringue-style cookie is the first QSR menu item in Canada to be certified gluten-free through the CCA’s program.
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Resort snapshot: Three alternative foodservice models
Anchor Inn’s radio reels in the boaters LITTLE CURRENT, ON—The Anchor Inn Hotel has fired up its radio to call out to boaters and perhaps entice them in for a drink or a bite of some local provisions. The Anchor, sitting just above the harbour in Little Current, ON, on the northeastern tip of Manitoulin Island, caters to its boat-heavy clientele through an informational radio program and acts as a meeting point for the marine community. “What it’s allowed us to do is position ourselves as the epicenter for boating on the North Channel,” Anchor Inn owner Bruce O’Hare told ORN. O’Hare provides the space and the VHF radio that local boating veteran, Roy Eaton, uses to broadcast Cruisers’ Net from July through August at 9 a.m. O’Hare said people want to meet Eaton after hearing his daily broadcast. This interest led to a weekly meet and greet, happy hour bringing in boaters from all over Lake Huron for drinks and complimentary appetizers. “It’s a wonderful way to not only attract traffic to our hotel,
but also the port,” said O’Hare. “They spend money at The Beer Store, the laundromat and more.” He said throughout the season, boating traffic is probably 50 per cent of the business at the Anchor restaurant. Another option O’Hare provides to the boating community is a place to wait out bad weather, and a stiff drink to go along with it. Inspired by Pat O’Brien’s, a bar in New Orleans, O’Hare makes a rum-based Hurricane cocktail that he sells with two shots for the price of one on days when Environment Canada releases high-wind warnings—something Eaton mentions on Cruiser’s Net while he advises of the weather warning. “What [Cruisers’ Net has] allowed us to do is talk to boaters every morning, where they live: in the cockpit of their boat,” said O’Hare. “The hotel bought all of the equipment, but it makes the port more friendly and draws attention to the hotel.” That equipment has seen heavy upgrades since Cruiser’s Net first aired in 2004.
Revamping Frederick’s at Beachwood
“Now we have a military grade radio they make for the Canadian coast guard, which means it’s four times or five times more powerful,” said O’Hare. “It covers many hundreds of square miles.” Having a large international clientele, O’Hare adopted another marketing strategy that he attributes to “the restaurant doctor” Bill Marvin. When the Anchor’s restaurant gets busy and wait times increase, O’Hare and his servers “postcard” tables. He has a stack of Anchor Inn postcards and postage ready to go, and as the server brings water or takes drink orders they offer a postcard. “They say, ‘while you’re waiting, I’m going to give you this postcard, write a letter to your
PHOTOS: Left: Anchor Inn staff. Above: Anchor Inn street view.
family back home and tell them you’re having a great time’,” explained O’Hare. They’ll even offer to mail it. “For us, it buys time, increases the gratuity for the server – you’ve done something nice for them they didn’t expect – but also, when it arrives back at home, it’s a little piece of marketing.” 1 Water St. West, Little Current, ON. (705) 3682023, www.anchorgrill.com.
A taste of nature
Laurie Adams, at her E’terra property on the shore of Georgian Bay.
Chef Michael Henson
By Elaine Anselmi TOBERMORY, ON—After closing more than a decade ago, the Harmony Acres restaurant in Tobermory, ON is bringing back foodservice and taking it to new heights. A treetop café concept is planned for execution in 2014, along with several private bedroom suites in suspended treehouses. Krista Morgan and her mother, Karen.
By Colleen Isherwood, senior contributing editor LAKEFIELD, ON—Guest dining habits have changed at places like Beachwood Resort, located north of Peterborough in Ontario’s cottage country. And Beachwood has changed its restaurant to accommodate those trends. The resort’s kitchen has been renovated to the tune of $18,000, including stainless steel counters, two stainless steel fridges, one for salad bars and one under-counter unit. There’s also a heat lamp and a custom serving station. Their new restaurant is called Frederick’s, in honour of second-generation owner Frederick Morgan, who died in 1993. The dining room can now seat 120 guests with the addition of a porch on the south end of the building that used to be a reading room. The resort, which has lakeside cottages, lodge rooms and condos, offers dining packages. In the past, most guests preferred to purchase the dining option, even though many units have cooking facilities. “A few years ago, 90 or 100 guests might dine each night, and we had very few off-road guests,” said Krista Morgan, Frederick’s daughter, and granddaughter of Harry Morgan, who bought the resort in 1944. But resort meal plan guests are becoming fewer and fewer, partly due to recession-driven cutbacks. “They come and rent the cottage, but don’t take the meal plan,” Morgan said. “We’re competing hugely with private cottage rentals. Taxes have gone up so much that cottagers decide to rent them out.” For example, one cottage rental company, Northerncomfort.com, has 150
cottage properties that can be rented 10 to 12 weeks a year, taking up to 1,800 weeks of rental income out of the local market. Even then, the taxes cottagers pay are not equal to the high rates paid by resorts. “We have to get some regulations to deal with that,” Morgan said. The goal now is to attract local “off-road” diners. This meant they had to change the menu from offering three choices per night on a sevennight rotation. “The non-resort person would say, ‘Is this all you have’?” said Morgan. The menu now offers seven different entrees and a daily special. There are two menus—one with prices for the off-roaders and one without prices for the resort guests. Resort guests still pay $30 for each dinner. Beachwood distributed 20,000 flyers to targeted areas. They promoted events such as a Winemaker’s dinner, a pickerel fish fry and Sunday cooking school. New chef Michael Henson is eager to host such events. A graduate of Sir Sandford Fleming’s culinary arts management program, he has worked at the Old Bridge Inn in Young’s Point and Rare in Peterborough, as well as a retirement home in Cobourg, ON. The wine list has been revamped with the help of Chris Wilton, a sommelier from Peterborough. “We have wines you won’t see at a liquor store, including wines from Huff Estates and Reif Estates,” Morgan said. Beers include Cracked Canoe and Barking Squirrel. Their efforts seem to be paying off. One Friday in June, Frederick’s served 38 off-road diners guests.
ORN toured the Harmony Acres and associated E’terra properties where owner Laurie Adams has designated portions of her land overlooking Lake Huron and a hardwood forest for bedroom pods. An old oak tree will host the treetop café, starting on the ground and wrapping around the massive trunk with dining pods interwoven with branches. “Each pod will be different because it has to fit into the tree. The café will be completely secured to the ground,” said Adams. For the café, the layers will wrap all the way around. “As you come up, you’re almost in a spiral around the trees,” she said. “You’ll have sections that are sitting where the tree branches are.” The Harmony Acres site, currently functioning as a 30-site campground, hosts the existing 60-seat restaurant facility that closed in 1999. Adams said it would operate as the production kitchen serving the treetop café, which will be open to the public as well as those staying on the grounds. In her E’terra villa, Adams had professional chefs operate the kitchen beginning in 2007 and experimented with having the public in for dinner service in the 18-seat dining room. She has been in talks with notable Toronto chef Brad Long, of Café Belong at the Evergreen Brickworks, on developing the treetop café concept and she said he will mentor the incoming chef. The existing restaurant has been gutted for the project and Adams said she is aiming for a construction period beginning in 2014,
with staggered opens over two years. Since the restaurant is fixed to the ground and presents less design obstacles than the bedrooms, it will most likely be the first to open. Offering appropriate accommodation for the chef brought in to operate the café will be another, albeit necessary, challenge, she said. “I don’t really want to run the treetop café. It’s very strategically for Tobermory tourism,” she said. “I would prefer to do the creative aspect of it.” Adams’ daily menus at E’terra are a testament to her creative side, with a blend of ingredients foraged across her properties and sourced locally. “When [chefs] are running a restaurant, they’re very cautious of the bottom line and the rules of running a restaurant,” she said. “For me, I get to play around.” As well as the two properties both approximately 100 acres in size, Adams owns a third 300-acre farm property that will, over time, become one of the large producers of ingredients for the café and E’terra’s kitchen. Adams is optimistic about the success of the café; since her Harmony restaurant closed, she said she still gets calls from people asking if it has reopened. The treetop concept will also be a unique, high-end offering to the tourismheavy community. “There are half a million people in three months, going through Tobermory,” said Adams. “Tobermory’s got lots of motels and the world’s got lots of hotels, but I thought ‘how do we go to the next level of luxury?’”
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Chefs cover hot topics at NPD panel MISSISSAUGA—Foodservice industry representatives gathered in late June at &Company Resto Bar in Mississauga for a lively discussion at the second annual NPD Group chefs panel Hot Chefs, Hot Topics: Innovation in Foodservice. The panel included: Jason Rosso, national executive chef for Milestones; Dana McCauley, vice-president of marketing for Plats du Chef; Michael Gray, director of culinary and executive chef at Boston Pizza; and Matt Basile, owner of the Fidel Gastro food truck and restaurant Lisa Marie. NPD executive director Robert Carter moderated the discussion and spoke of trends affecting the overall market. The average household, Carter said, spends $7,679 on food every year. “How do we steal more of that market share if the pie isn’t growing?” According to the global information company’s research, quick-service restaurants (QSRs) get the largest share of visits across Canada (64 per cent of traffic) while full-service restaurants (FSRs) see 24 per cent, and prepared food from grocery and other retail outlets account for 12 per cent of traffic. The dollars spent on foodservice has increased slightly over the last decade, but that growth isn’t coming from generation X, said Carter, it’s coming from the millennial group. Boomers (45 to 64 years old) and mature traditionalists (65 and older) are also playing an increasingly significant role, according to NPD’s research. Carter said 67 per cent of FSR customers want a greater menu variety and see chicken, fish and salads as core opportunities for that variety. In terms of traffic, customers said they were 45 per cent more likely to visit a restaurant if it was promoting exciting new dishes. Panelists spoke about customer experience, social media, higher guest expectations and innovations. McCauley noted millennials are well educated, with sophisticated palates, but don’t have much expendable income. “FSR has to work way harder than it has had to,” she said. Rosso said, with the success of food culture and television, there is more transparency in cooking. Milestones, he said, focuses on delivering a great experience for people. “People have high expectations and know what to expect,” said Rosso. Basile spoke of collaboration versus competition. He recently opened Lisa Marie on Queen West, in Toronto, and sees more restaurants moving into the area regularly. “That excites me; it doesn’t scare me,” said Basile. “You don’t want to be successful in a silo.” A food truck amidst 10 others will do more business in a day than one standing alone, he said.
Inspiration and Influence McCauley said she often draws inspiration from other ethnicities and advised against putting a typical item, such as spinach and asiago dip, on the menu. “Have a hot dip, but make it your own,” she said. Gray said innovative ideas come from everywhere; he carries a notebook for when inspiration hits. The pizza burger came from posing the question “has anyone ever wrapped a pizza around a burger before?” It has sold over a million units since its April 1 launch and will be added to the regular menu. “You have to have food that’s different, indulgent, but you also have to have that health
From left: Jason Rosso, national executive chef for Milestones; Dana McCauley, vice-president of marketing for Plats du Chef; Michael Gray, director of culinary and executive chef at Boston Pizza; Matt Basile, owner of the Fidel Gastro food truck and restaurant Lisa Marie.
aspect—I’m not saying the pizza burger is healthy,” he said. McCauley pointed out that many people go to an FSR with their heart already set on a particular entrée and one way to test out a new or more adventurous item is to offer it in small portions. “By putting it in a smaller portion on the appetizer menu, you get a lot more trials,” she said. Milestones is drawing influence from South America for new menu creations, which Rosso noted is “very hot right now.” He said the company doesn’t look at what other brands are doing and focuses on working within Milestones’ own identity. “I think people will tire of rapid trendchanging,” said Rosso, adding people will be looking for a good experience in dining. Basile doesn’t purport to aim for the health-conscious consumer and only one of ten items is vegetarian. “As soon as you start trying to sell to everyone, you’re selling to noone,” said Basile. People will sometimes read the menu and leave, but Basile said he’s OK with that. Millennials are used to having things customized and have totally different expectations than older customers, noted McCauley.
Social media and the message “I actually was that new customer, “ said Basile. A former advertising copywriter, Basile launched Fidel Gastro on Twitter coupled with a blog. He started with a pop-up and branded himself a “rebel without a kitchen.” He has been called the Polkaroo of sandwiches, but said it wasn’t merely his strategy. “Really, I was trying to figure out how to make a living,” he said. Basile is very involved in social media and takes customers through the creation of dishes from farmers’ market to finished product by tweeting pictures and ideas. “People really get to see the experience of food,” said Basile.
Boston Pizza has a dedicated marketing and social media team. The pizza burger was launched on April Fool’s Day with a You Tube video. It wasn’t a joke, but the timing got the item a lot of media attention. Gray said it is important to engage with customers through online platforms, but when dealing with a complaint, encourage the customer to reach out offline. “You don’t want to air your dirty laundry in public,” he said. McCauley said it’s key to have the chef or restaurateur involved in social media interactions; it makes customers feel in the know. “You need to get the senior people involved to really have the impact,” she said.
COMING EVENTS Aug. 18-20: Western Foodservice and Hospitality Expo, Los Angeles Convention Centre, Los Angeles. For information, go to: www.westernfoodexpo.com. Sept. 19: The Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals, Toronto Branch New Members Night, Cirillo’s Culinary Academy, Toronto. For information, go to: www.cafp.com. Sept. 19-22: PEI International Shellfish Festival, Charlottetown Festival Grounds, Charlottetown.
For information, go to: www.peishellfish. com. Oct. 4-6: Fraser Valley Food Show 2013, TRADEX – Fraser Valley Trade & Exhibition Centre, Abbotsford, BC. For information, go to: www.fraservalleyfoodshow. com. Oct. 5-9: 2013 Anuga food and beverage fair, Cologne, Germany. For information, go to: www.anuga.com. Oct. 20-22: Canadian Coffee and Tea
Show, Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver. For information, go to: www.coffeeteashow.ca. Oct. 26: 2013 Canadian Hospitality Foundation Ball, Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Toronto. For information, go to: www.thechf.ca. Nov. 25: The Food Industry Association of Canada Golden Pencil Award Ceremony. Concert Hall, Fairmont Royal York, Toronto. For information, go to: www.goldenpencilaward.com.
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O N TA R I O R E S TAU R A N T N E W S
Q & A: Gord Perks on the Parkdale bar cap TORONTO—Toronto City Council voted on July 19 to cap the development of restaurants and bars along Parkdale’s strip of Queen Street West running from Roncesvalles Ave. to Dufferin St. The vote of 22 to 10 indicates that while some see the rapid increase in food and beverage-centric entertainment as a welcome development in the Toronto neighbourhood, others see it as more of a growing concern. Led by Parkdale–High Park City Councilor Gord Perks, a moratorium on bar and restaurant development was placed on this strip of Queen West in the fall of 2012 in order to keep growth at bay. The director of community planning completed a report on the effect of these establishments on the neighbourhood. The Final Report was released in late May and, following the approval of the Toronto and East York Community Council, which led to the July City Council vote, several city councilors expressed interest in similar action in their own Ward, including Adam Vaughan of Kensington Market. ORN caught up with Councilor Perks in mid-June for a Q&A on the Final Report and his battle against the bars. The interview has been edited and condensed. ORN: When did the issues between bars/restaurants and neighbouring properties first garner your attention? GP: It’s been a problem that’s been slowly building over about six years. We first had problems when one particular operator came in claiming to be a restaurant and [was very much] a nightclub. And that was about six years ago. We’ve had over a dozen liquor license applications on Queen Street since then, so it’s been a constant issue. ORN: The Final Report reads, “Ultimately all avenues should perform a main street role and become meeting places for local neighbours and the wider community.” Do you see bars and restaurants as being a part of, and serving this purpose, in the neighbourhood? GP: Absolutely. I’ll be honest, I love eating out. And from time to time, when I have a spare evening, I don’t mind live music. The problem is when that begins to dominate the whole character of the main street, so that the other uses that people need get pushed out. ORN: One of the recommendations in the Final Report, which was also a part of the moratorium in 2012, includes limiting second floor use. What is the reasoning behind this? GP: With second floor venues, the noise projects further. Right behind the restaurants and bars, is peoples’ homes and noise upstairs carries further than noise downstairs. Also, a lot of what is currently above the commercial strip, is a lot of private-market, low-income housing. And we are struggling to have enough rental housing that isn’t high-end, high-price stuff anywhere in Toronto. ORN: Is limiting capacity within restaurants specifically dealt with in the Final Report? GP: Yes it is, the square footage and allowance. However, if you’re an existing place, you’re grandfathered in. We’re not going to come back after you. Also, if you’re an existing place and you move out and someone moves in, they’re still grandfathered in. ORN: The report separates this portion of Queen Street into four areas: Roncevalles Ave. to Sorauren Ave./Beaty Ave.; Sorauren Ave./Beaty Ave. to Lansdowne Ave./ Jameson Ave.; Lansdowne Ave./Jameson Avenue to Brock Avenue/ Connan Avenue; and Brock Ave./Connan Ave. to Dufferin St. Why was it not considered as a whole? GP: The problem isn’t the same up and down the street and, in looking at it, planning staff tried to get a sense of what the impact was. And they noticed the impact was very different in different parts of Queen Street. The stretch from Dufferin to Brock is very intensively used and that’s where we’re seeing all of the other uses get pushed out. That’s where we’re seeing all of the problematic night-time behaviours that are damaging the neighbourhood. So, we felt that was too much. For more of ORN’s interview with Gord Perks, go to www.ontariorestaurantnews.com
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Master of the house:
House of Commons executive chef Judson Simpson is Canada’s first Master Chef By Leslie Wu OTTAWA—Canada’s first Master Chef, Judson Simpson, always joins his staff in the kitchen of the House of Commons for lunch service; a habit that served him well in the rigorous examination process for the certification. “I’m pretty hands on as an executive chef,” Simpson told ORN. A former national president of the CCFCC, Judson advocated to bring the Master Chef certification to Canada; a goal that was achieved in 2011 with a five-year exclusive deal with Humber College. “I’m a life-long learner,” said Simpson. “I wanted to test the program, and also challenge myself. The best way to validate the program was to actually do it.” Although the program allows a four-year timeframe, Simpson finished it in two. The first year had both an online component and a pastry and garde manger exam, a topic dear to Simpson’s heart. It’s crucial to have a solid background in garde manger, said Simpson. “You can’t be a good, solid chef if you don’t have experience on the hot line in fine dining and cold prep in general.” For this year’s exam, Simpson
practiced with dry runs in the kitchen, especially for the challenging nutritional component, which required three courses: lacto-ovo, diabetic friendly and ovo-vegetarian. For Simpson’s nutritional exam dish, he cooked a 45-degree salmon in a thermo circulator for 30 min, served with Spartan bread crumbs, horseradish, lemon and parsley over stewed beluga lentils. “The judges thought the main course was a bit protein-heavy, but overall, ate very well,” said Simpson. When it came to the dessert round, Simpson made a chocolate mousse cake with avocado and a warm lemon pudding with a gel coating and coconut foam. The other component of this year’s exam was a five-course black box challenge. One of the highlights for Simpson was his bacon-wrapped stuffed rabbit loin with figs and pistachios, served with a rice cake and celery root, topped with foie gras, caramelized apples and squash puree. Simpson wrapped the loin in foil and cooked it in the oven. “It came out very juicy,” he said. “Sometimes the old ways are the best.” Although Simpson has 20 years of cooking competition under his belt, including the World Culinary
Judson Simpson, executive chef of food services at the House of Commons.
Olympics as manager of Culinary Team Canada, he found the exam had exacting standards. “The last time I’d competed was in 2004 at the IKA Culinary Olympics,” he said. During the June exams, Simpson found himself literally running around the kitchen to get some of the components on the plate and show off as many techniques as possible in the allotted time. A graduate of George Brown College, Simpson has worked in the kitchens at Fenton’s, Hazelton Lanes, the Inn on the Park and Napoleon’s as an apprentice, as well as a stint as executive sous-chef at the King Edward Hotel. He was also executive chef at the Chimo Hotel Markham before taking on his current role as executive chef of food services at the House of Commons. Simpson said he firmly believes certification at any level is a necessary step for chefs, who should never stop learning. “As a profession, we should always continue to challenge ourselves,” he said.
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O N TA R I O R E S TAU R A N T N E W S
By Elaine Anselmi
Taking the LEED in sustainable design In Vancouver’s west end, the Cactus Club Cafe at English Bay’s glass-encased dining room barely disrupts the view from Beach Avenue through to the waterfront. The company targeted LEED Gold on the project, a mandate of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, which owns the restaurant’s site. Cactus Club English Bay is estimated to save 18 per cent on operational cost when compared to a building that is built to the current code, says Jason Packer, senior project manager and associate at Recollective Consulting Inc., who worked with Cactus Club on the project. He notes that the actual energy savings is a higher number – 33 per cent – but because the building runs on gas rather than electricity, and gas comes at a significantly lower cost, the actual payback is less. “Energy cost savings for gas don’t amount to as much,” he says. “LEED rewards project points for savings on the cost of their energy, not on energy savings outright.” “One of the most impressive measures undertaken was really aggressive management of the construction waste,” says Parker. “We diverted somewhere in the neighbourhood of 95 per cent of construction waste from landfills.” The existing structure, previously a beach concession stand, was demolished and used for road base, with other materials sent to local facilities that separate and reuse waste in various ways, he says. Both Cactus Club and Tim Hortons committed to using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified wood in their new builds—a
he Tim Hortons location at 969 Upper Water Street in Hamilton, ON fits the mould of the iconic Canadian coffee chain from the outside. A drive-thru window operates on one side of the brown brick building and the majority of the dining area is faced with windows. Operationally speaking, the restaurant runs at a cost of about 20 per cent less than a nearly identical location just five minutes away. In April, Tim Hortons executives hung the company’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification on the wall of the Upper Water Street store that originally opened in 2010. The company has been working towards certification for that location from the beginning. “The idea was to make it look just like a regular Tim Hortons. While it is something special, the idea was not to have different ‘green restaurants’,” John Macey, Tim Hortons manager of sustainable design, tells ORN. “We’re not doing it just for the sake of saying how green we are. It’s not just how we build buildings: it’s delivery, sourcing and less packaging.” Before the restaurant was even built, Macey says the intention was to go for the certification and the site – an existing parking lot – was specifically chosen to contribute towards that goal. “The idea was to find a spot where we could take advantage of the site, feeding into the sustainable sites credits [a part of LEED],” he says. “We engaged the contractor in it from the start. One of their ideas was to crush down the parking lot and use that as fill for the build out.”
requirement of LEED certification. Macey says this policy has been rolled out at all Tim Hortons locations, a move that made both environmental and business sense. With FSC millwork coming at a cost of nearly 40 per cent more than other suppliers, Tim Hortons offered a challenge to their suppliers, says Macey. Tim Hortons standardized the use of FSCcertified wood in all of their restaurants and, “made it worth the mill’s while to get up to FSC standards and become the regular supplier,” says Macey. The move brought the price down from 40 per cent to a two per cent increase. “In a one-off scenario, this is not going to work, but in the volume that we do it, it makes sense,” says Macey. In new builds, the use of low volatile organic compound (VOC) content paint is another aspect of sustainable practice that affects the indoor environment of the restaurant. Packer says at Cactus Club, materials were specifically chosen for their low VOC content. “Some of those [VOCs] are nasty, and known to linger,” he says. “Not only are patrons of the restaurant benefitting from that but the staff and construction people are as well.” While new builds offer opportunities to make these choices, Marley says older buildings can also be retrofitted and updated to operate more sustainably. She notes that something as simple as weather stripping on windows can offer great improvements. “Even if you’re in an older building, there are rebates and incentives for projects,” she says. Macey says, having both new builds and
Macey says that having multiple locations of similar models – the Upper Water Street location is their 2400 Urban Design Model, as well as a second in Hamilton, a third was built in Cobourg, ON in 2008 – allows them to compare and study data on the return on investment for the upgrades. This data is crucial to the company’s plans, with ten more restaurants across Canada and the U.S. in the process of certification, and a goal of 30 by 2016 in the works. “It’s expensive to run a restaurant. We want to help with this as much as we can,” he says. “It’s no good if we can do it in one location and not anywhere else in the franchise.” Although independent restaurants certainly share the concern of added cost, Nancy Brace, executive director of the Restaurant Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (RANL), says they also have less corporate policy and fewer levels to go through to make changes. “In the small, independent restaurant that is freestanding by itself, everything ultimately comes down to the owner. If the owner is on board with it, and that’s their focus; there’s nobody to clear it with or hoops to jump through,” she says. After noticing what they saw as a lag in the restaurant industry around sustainable practice, RANL released a one-stop-shop website for restaurants seeking resources on environmentallyfriendly operations. Michelle Marley, principal at Paradise, NFLD-based Terra Sustainability Consulting worked with RANL to develop the Online Environmental Foodservice Resource, with funding from Sysco.
existing sites in their portfolio, Tim Hortons is also targeting LEED certification for the existing structures, under the Commercial Interior certification, which classifies tenant improvements to spaces. Tim Hortons has the opportunity to use locations, such as Upper Water Street, as testing sites for new practices that could result in retrofits in other locations, says Macey. One test project currently in place is a coating that adheres to window panes, still allowing daylight in, but reducing energy consumption through heating and cooling loss. “LED lights in accents, FSC-wood across all locations and low VOC paints are all standard across the board now because of test locations like this one,” says Macey. “There are little things you can do and see the benefit from in both the aesthetic and energy savings.” Photos and graphics: This page: 1. Tim Hortons at 969 Upper Water St., Hamilton, ON. (All photos on this page taken at this location). 2. Drive-thru. 3. Employee stands under air curtain. 4. LED lit display case. 5. Plaques around the store note various aspects of green building initiatives. 6. LEED certificate. Facing page: From top: Data from United States Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Star Guide for Restaurants. Cactus Club English Bay dining room. Photo courtesy of Cactus Club Cafe. Nicole Fewell, owner of Cheezy Biz Food Truck. Photo by Jason Dziver. Cactus Club English Bay exterior. Photo courtesy of Cactus Club Cafe.
“RANL recognized that while some restaurants in the province were, of their own volition, taking environmental action – mainly because the owners had a personal involvement or values in the environment – they wanted to do something to extend that message to the restaurant community,” says Marley. “We wanted to develop a resource that, yes, is good for the environment, but also had some really strong business value to the restaurant’s ownership.” With a company mandate that green can be good for business, Marley says the resource assists operators in developing better practices in an industry where margins are tight. As an accredited auditor for the Leaders in Environmentally Accountable Foodservice (LEAF), Marley has worked closely with operators on assessing and improving their practice, bringing their establishment up to LEAF certification standards—which have three progressive levels. LEAF founder, Janine Windsor, says auditors do a full-scale assessment of the restaurant, looking at energy use, water use, purchasing, chemicals used for cleaning and operational practices. “We come up with a score for them to give the restaurant a baseline, saying ‘this is where you are’, and then provide them with a specific list of recommendations to improve,” she says. “If you think about it, to reduce your environmental impact you’re doing things like reducing your energy, reducing your water, your hot water, your food waste. All of those things are associated with most of the operating costs in a restaurant.”
WATER SAVINGS Between staff hand-washing and rinsing coffee pots, Macey points out how often the taps behind the counter at Tim Hortons are used, not to mention those in the washrooms and kitchen. “Several hundred times per day, these [taps] are going on and off,” he says. A new installation at the Upper Water Street location is aerators built into faucets, reducing the amount of water used. He says these low-flow initiatives are easy retrofits for existing restaurants as well. Water conservation is an area that Marley says offers a great deal of opportunity. “Make sure you’re using low-flow toilets, tap aerators and low-flow fixtures in general,” she says. “Going to a low-flow pre-rinse spray valve can save 150 gallons of hot water per day.” Cost is dependant on the water rates for individual areas, but she says the device itself costs less than $50 and there is no compromise in efficiency. In addition to waterless urinals and low-flow fixtures indoors, Cactus Club brought water conservation outdoors as well. An underground cistern stores rainwater run off from the restaurant’s roof and recycles it back into the irrigation system, says Packer. Automatic sprinkler heads throughout the garden also run off the rainwater system. At Tim Hortons, Macey says the landscapers went with indigenous plants surrounding the Upper Water Street location that grow hearty enough to not require a sprinkler system.
AU G U S T 2 013
Saving up energy Seemingly small changes can have big returns over time, says Marley. She points out that replacing exit signs – which are constantly on – with an LED light can save $10 annually and the bulb lasts up to 10 years. Windsor says that when LEAF audits restaurants, it always offers the “low hanging fruit” options to ease restaurateurs into making more sustainable choices. Some of these include switching to LED or compact fluorescent lamp (CFL). The Energy Star Guide For Restaurants shows that lighting contributes to 13 per cent of energy consumption in a full-service restaurant. “Lights are on all of the time, anywhere from 16 to 20 hours, every single business day,” says Marley. “It’s not just lighting for the sake of lighting, it’s also a big part of the restaurant atmosphere.” She says she sees a lot of opportunity to use energy efficient lighting, whether LED or CFL. “Changing to LED or CFL light bulbs comes at a bit of a cost, but nothing like getting new equipment,” says Windsor. “We try to work with what the restaurant already has.” She suggests designing a menu around the most efficient equipment in the kitchen and using a start-up and shut-down schedule to avoid unnecessarily running appliances.
Keeping HVAC inside At Union Gas, Chetley says Demand Control Kitchen Ventilation is one of the top energy saving programs for the foodservice industry, with customer rebates ranging from $1,200 to $4,000 per unit, depending on the size. Similar to lighting systems that operate on sensors, demand control ventilation reduces unnecessary energy output by synchronizing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems with room occupancy. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Guide for Restaurants, commercial kitchens use 2.5 times more energy than any other commercial space, with 25 per cent of all energy output going to HVAC. Heat recovery takes advantage of the heat coming from energy-demanding kitchen appliances and puts it back into HVAC systems. Cactus Club English Bay used an aggressive system of kitchen heat recovery, says Packer. “Kitchens produce a lot of heat. That heat is captured through the ventilation system as the kitchen is exhausted, and reused in the building for space heating in the dining area,” he says. “There’s a huge opportunity for heat recovery in restaurants, in particular, because of refrigeration. They tend to move a lot of air through kitchens to keep them properly ventilated, that’s a lot of heat that goes out the ventilation system.” Packer explains that the air moving out of Cactus Club’s kitchen is run through a confined
Windsor says something as simple as keeping appliances off until it is necessary to warm them up and then turning them off in between lunch and dinner service, can seem commonplace, but is likely to be forgotten without a set protocol. At Tim Hortons, Macey says they are working on creating efficiency schedules with franchise owners individually, to figure out what processes can be changed in each restaurant. For example, rather than having coffee makers brewing all day, every day, store owners know their particular high and low traffic times and can set schedules for resting equipment. Occupancy-sensored lights in bathrooms, fridges and freezers are other tools that can mitigate unnecessary energy usage, an area where Windsor says the largest financial savings can be found. “There are lots of little things that restaurants can do that cost little to nothing that can not only save some money, but also help the environment,” she says. Chris Chetley, commercial/industrial marketing at Union Gas says the kitchen is a necessary area of improvement where energy is concerned. The challenge, he says, is that large equipment investments come at an upfront cost that can be hard to swallow—perhaps one of the reasons larger chain operations are more willing, and able, to invest the capital. “The return on investment is definite, and the payback is huge,” says Chetley. “They are the two biggest drivers for us to stress.”
Energy Consumption IN A FULL-SERVICE RESTAURANT
space with a number of small tubes filled with a refrigerant, such as water. It acts as a conductor picking up the heat from the air to move into the dining space. “It’s not as if the hot air in the kitchen is actually being used in the dining room,” he says. “You don’t have the air actually mixing with the water. It’s a conductive material.” One challenge facing restaurants, due to doors and windows constantly opening and closing, is maintaining a comfortable internal temperature without losing heating and cooling to the outdoors. At the Upper Water Street Tim Hortons, air curtains are mounted on the kitchen door and drive-thru window. “It creates a barrier, keeping outdoor air out, so we’re not heating or cooling the outdoors, as well as keeping smoke – from customers smoking [outside] – from entering building,” says Macey.
CONSERVATION ON THE ROAD Calgary-based Cheezy Biz food truck is one of the few mobile foodservice operators with LEAF certification. Owner Nicole Fewell uses new Energy Star equipment and operates on an “ecofriendly generator, so it doesn’t have to run at full force,” she says. “It’s also a diesel truck, so it’s more efficient.”
In October, RANL will host From This Rock, a repeat of last year’s culinary tour that saw a team of chefs tour the province cooking up a sixcourse meal, in six different communities, using all local ingredients. “The chefs had to work with farmers to get the produce they needed,” says Brace. “We’re working with the Agrifood division of Natural Resources here to help facilitate meeting and matching chefs and farmers.” Earlier this year, Sustain Ontario formed the Sustainable Restaurants Working Group with a similar goal of connecting stakeholders within the province’s local food movement. The group’s chair, Vanessa Yu, says sourcing is an area with the potential for a lot of growth. In the long term, she says the group hopes to engage policy makers and align players to make local and sustainable food more widely available. “We’re getting past the myth that if it’s going to be local, its going to be more expensive,” she says. “I’m working with 100km Foods to show that it’s not always going to be more expensive.” Along with energy efficiency and zero-waste operations, a dedication to local sourcing earned Calgary’s Cheezy Biz food truck its LEAF certification. “For me, it was supporting local businesses and farmers, and products that are hormone and antibiotic free,” says Fewell. “It’s how I’ve always fed my family. I didn’t feel like I could change my philosophy in my business practice.” Fewell notes that her commitment to local sourcing has garnered a great deal of positive exposure in the last year. “I’ve been really lucky this year with the attention I’ve gotten from critics,” she says. “I think it all ties together with the food philosophy. We love food and feeding people; what goes along with that is doing our part for the environment.” Similar to implementing sustainable building initiatives, changes to sourcing policies can be challenging for large organizations with shareholders and various levels of authority, says Yu. Making local sourcing feasible for businesses of all sizes is a major goal for the group she says, as well as showing them the benefits and return on investment. “It’s the right time for local food,” says Yu. “It’s catching on and the pieces are coming together.”
O N TA R I O R E S TAU R A N T N E W S
Waste management: By Kristen Smith
what cutting down can mean for your bottom line
ob Desautels, chair and director of The Neighbourhood Group of restaurants in Guelph and Kitchener, thinks of sustainability as part of a responsible business model. He heats the Guelph Woolwich Arrow’s water with rooftop solar panels and pays a premium to Bullfrog Power, which invests in renewable energy projects. “Our goal is to see how close we can get to a zero carbon footprint by 2018,” Desautels tells ORN. In 2006, the Woolwich Arrow sold about $1.2 million at the 90-seat restaurant. After getting some good press for its green initiatives, the restaurant’s 2011 sales were $2.1 million. Desautels says this indicates the customers cared about the Wooly’s green initiatives. Small and medium-sized operators (including franchise owners) are worried about day-to-day operations, says Bruce McAdams, assistant professor, school of hospitality and tourism management at the University of Guelph. Often, restaurateurs are busy fixing the dishwashing unit, calling in another cook because of an unexpected rush or dealing with a pest problem and don’t have the time to come up with a waste reduction strategy. Under the guidance of the Sustainable Restaurant Project (UGSRP), Guelph’s on-campus restaurant, PJ’s, has the time and resources to research sustainable methods and waste reduction and share knowledge with the foodservice industry.
Bio-fuel and composting
Reducing prep waste
Composting is simpler in some municipalities than others, but some restaurateurs argue it is the easiest operational change to make across the board. Guelph’s municipal waste pickup includes the compost stream. Desautels says a local farmer also picks up kitchen scraps to feed his pigs and oil recycling is arranged by a local co-op. EverPure turns waste oil into biodiesel through its Fries to Fuel program. Biodiesel can be made from oils such as canola, sunflower or soybean and can be used in a vehicle’s fuel system without engine modification. In Vancouver, Steve Da Cruz works with recycling company Urban Impact which recycles soft plastics and compost from his restaurant, The Parker, which is zero waste and produces less than a pound of garbage per month. He says composting is an easy first step and is merely a matter of changing employee habits: such as putting food scraps in a separate bin. “Responsible menu design means there is not a lot of waste anyway,” says Da Cruz. In Richmond Hill, ON, the owners of Mavi Grill donate used grape seed oil to a farmer. Director and co-owner Parisa Sayad says there is also some interest from universities in obtaining spent oil for research. “It’s very easy to donate oil,” says Sayad. While the Turkish cuisine restaurant does compost, she says the municipality could make it easier by including it in its pickup program. “If it is easy, more businesses will be encouraged,” she says. St. John’s recycling program is only a few years old and doesn’t include a compost stream. Michelle LeBlanc, co-cowner of Chinched Bistro, has partnered with farmers who request food scraps for composting. She says this isn’t consistently viable because it requires storage space and many suppliers aren’t able to haul away the organic matter.
If you can’t compost food waste, LeBlanc says it can be controlled from within. The St. John’s restaurant saves vegetable trim for soup stock, as well as making its own charcuterie. “We’ll get large cuts of meat or half an animal and use it in its entirety, so nothing gets wasted,” says LeBlanc. “Ordering locally, the product is better when it arrives so you’re not losing nearly as much as you would if you were ordering it from further away, so there is less waste,” she adds. Mike von Massons, assistant professor and UGSRP advisor, points out waste is by definition wasted. Restaurants are having margins squeezed by food costs and it is becoming more expensive to haul garbage away. “We get so wound up in the way we’ve always done things, we don’t stop to ask ‘is there a way
Evaluating plate waste “In North America, we have started to associate portion size with value and that’s where we really messed things up,” says McAdams. It has been suggested that increasing portion sizes has contributed to more plate waste. McAdams and von Masson scraped plates with the UGSRP students at PJ’s in an effort to establish a framework for evaluating plate waste in foodservice. They found the average daily waste was 11.3 per cent, but also found the link to portion size wasn’t as strong as might be expected. “Fish and chips was the biggest thing on the menu and the highest in calories, but actually had relatively low waste,” says von Massons. Portion size wasn’t the biggest contributing factor to plate waste. “What looked like it was having a bigger impact on the waste was the composition of the plate,” he says. “What was contributing significantly to waste were sandwiches with fries – things with high carbohydrates. What we were seeing com-
we could do things better?’” says von Massons. “Take a look at the prep process, because that’s probably the easiest thing to change. Prep is often rushed.” He tells ORN of a restaurateur who weighed a bag of potatoes before and after it was peeled and learned that 30 per cent of the product was being thrown away as prep waste. The restaurateur decided to stop peeling potatoes based on this discovery. Other small changes can include putting less product out at buffets at one time, which translates into less waste and increased customer satisfaction, because the items are being turned over more often. “I don’t think there is any one thing a restaurant can do other than pay attention,” says von Masson, adding the accessible actions will become apparent to the operator. ing back was fries or bread or some combination of the two,” von Masson adds. He says this suggests people should be given a choice. When PJ’s began offering sandwiches with or without fries, plate waste was reduced to about eight per cent, with half the amount of fries sold. Von Masson says there are ways restaurants can reduce waste, but it must also be economically viable. He suggests offering two sizes, and the option for steamed vegetables instead of French fries. “It allows us to continue to sell a side, but sell a side that is less likely to be wasted,” says von Masson. “There’s huge opportunity. We’re just starting to scratch the surface.” He says waste can be a sign of an unhappy customer as “most of us don’t like to leave food on our plate.” With food costs anywhere between 20 and 40 per cent, there is opportunity to engineer plates and menus better. “If we can find a way to reduce plate waste, it should go to the bottom line if it’s done in a way that maintains margins,” says von Massons.
DOWN THE DRAIN The City of Guelph’s water efficiency specialists audited PJ’s restaurant – located in the MacDonald Stewart Hall at Guelph University – after the UGSRP started in 2011. McAdams says the results were comparable to any restaurant and they were able to address some of the low-cost suggestions. Recommendations: • Fix leaks: a steady drip of hot water at a rate of about one litre per minute, wastes 525 metres cubed annually, worth $1,424 in water costs alone. • Don’t thaw meat by running water over the items, which was done daily at MacDonald Hall. Assuming two taps are running for three hours a day, 5 days a week for 36 weeks, that amounts to more than $1,300 going down the drain. • Connectionless steamers use about 11.4L per hour of use, while the boiler type uses about 151L per hour. The two are similar in cost. • Efficient spray valves can save about $950 in annual water costs. • Water efficient aerators are under $10 and are easy to install.
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Technology and alternatives Some foodservice operators trying to minimize hauling costs are turning to onsite waste handling systems as disposal alternatives. Compacting reduces waste within a selfcontained bin by using pressure, while pulping presses out the water. Decomposition, or liquefying, and dehydration are two technologies being explored for waste management. While liquefying is a continuous feed method in which all food waste eventually goes down the drain, dehydrating is batch-driven and uses heat to remove the water and reduce waste by 90 per cent. Scott Cherevaty, vice-present of sales and marketing for glasswasher and warewasher manufacturer Champion Moyer Diebel, says with restaurants producing between a quarter and half tonne of food waste – the heaviest waste stream component – it gets expensive to manage. The Niagara-based distributor has represented EnviroPure for about four years. “With this system, what makes it pretty neat is that it turns your food waste into water and goes down the drain,” says Cherevaty. The system uses an organic product that extracts sulfite and multiplies bacteria to speed up the process
turning the waste into water in about 24 hours. Depending on size, it can handle between 200 and 2,000 pounds of food daily. “The smaller the system, the less the payback benefits,” says Cherevaty. “It’s a little bit slower in Canada to start; there’s been a far bigger take off in the U.S.,” says Cherevaty, who says there are units at Fallsview Casino, Scarborough Golf and Country Club and Providence Healthcare, which saw a savings of 44 per cent of its waste hauling costs. He says high volume foodservice operations, such as hotels and universities, have demonstrated the most interest. With prices ranging between $20,000 to $30,000, large capital investments are often the first thing to be cut from the budget and the company is looking into leasing options so operators will be able to see the results. The wastewater is depleted, similar to grey water, and the company is experimenting with putting in holding tanks to use it on the property, although Cherevaty says it’s not suitable for an edible garden. “Where we’re going with the technology, what we hope, at some point, is that we’re able to take the water that leaves the system and put it back in. That way, we’re not drawing on any water at all,” says Cherevaty.
Take out and service items McAdams says most operators are driven primarily by cost-effectiveness when it comes to selecting takeout containers. For the owners of Mavi Grill, the decision to go green was largely influenced by the Turkish restaurant’s health focus. Sayad says offering compostable and biodegradable takeout containers and sandwich wraps allows the customers to freeze and microwave leftovers without worrying about chemicals leaching into the food. When she tells customers the containers are made of sugar cane, Sayad says it often opens the doors for a conversation about health and sustainability. Compostable containers are often made from bagasse, sugar cane fibre waste left over after juice is extracted, which is completely biodegradable. Utensils made from 80 per cent starch and 20 per cent vegetable oil are also biodegradable and compostable. At Cascades, communications and sustainability advisor Melanie St-Pierre says sustainability has factored into the business since it started in 1964. “Right at the start, we chose to use recycled fibre in our product, which was pretty innovative. At the time, everybody was using virgin fibre,” says St-Pierre. “We’re see-
ing the customer more and more on the lookout for environmentally responsible products.” Cascade recently launched its Moka line of products. “We simply removed the bleaching step in the manufacturing of the products. As a result, the tissue paper is more sustainable, because bleaching is basically for aesthetic purposes,” says St-Pierre, noting a lifecycle analysis of the product indicates the environmental impact is 25 per cent less than whitened products. St-Pierre says all categories of foodservice operators are becoming more sensitive to environmental issues and aim to reduce consumption. “We see that the interfold napkin is a growing trend; the way it is folded allows a reduction of waste,” says St. Pierre. She says it reduces consumption by 25 per cent by allowing customers to take one paper napkin at a time. For those interested in purchasing environmentally preferable supplies, Leaders in Environmentally Accountable Foodservice (LEAF) recommends using those that are processed chlorine-free (PCF) and third-party certified by an independent party, such as EcoLogo or Green Seal.
Less is more
COMMON CENTS • Keep recycling, compost and garbage labelling consistent with municipal colours to ensure ease of use for staff. • “Twin your bins.” Every time there is a garbage bin, a recycling bin should be right beside it. • Insist suppliers provide recyclable materials. • Encourage customers to bring their own takeaway containers. • Turn down the A/C. Starbucks conserves energy by allowing air-conditioned stores to reach nearly 24°C instead of 22°C on warm days. • Reduce water use. Starbucks saves water by using high-blast nozzles to clean pitchers instead of running the tap, and installing low-flow valves. • “Insulating can have a big bang for your buck; the payback can be very quick,” says Desautels. • The Neighbourhood Group of restaurants gradually moved to LED lighting, which Desautels says looks nicer than fluorescent bulbs. “In a restaurant you want everyone to feel good about everything,” he says.
Page 12: Main image designed by Stephanie Giammarco. Photos by Davide Gulielmo (paper) and Peter Mrhar (plates). Page 13, clockwise from top left: Solar panels are used to heat water at the Woolwich Arrow in Guelph, ON. The Mavi Grill dining area in Richmond Hill, ON. Napkins hang dry at Chinched Bistro in St. John’s. The dining area at zero-waste Vancouver restaurant, The Parker.
ALL ABOARD: ENGAGING STAFF AND CUSTOMERS Starbucks has committed to reducing its cup waste. It aims to serve five per cent of beverages made in company-owned stores in personal tumblers by 2015. Starbucks offers a 10-cent discount to customers who bring in their own travel mug as an incentive. In an effort to further reduce cupwaste Starbucks introduced a $1 reusable Starbucks cup in January. “If a customer uses the reusable cup for one month, he or she will help avoid using more than a pound of paper or 3.5 pounds of wood,” senior
communications manager for Starbucks Coffee Canada Carly Suppa tells ORN. “The introduction of the $1 reusable cup was intended as a lowcost reusable option that, when coupled with the 10-cent discount customers receive when they bring their own cup, would help inspire many customers to start using a tumbler or reusable cup.” In 1995, the company started The Ground for Your Garden Program. During the summer months, the program offers high nutrient, spent coffee grounds for home gardens.
According to Da Cruz, it is easier to find and hire like-minded staff than teach staff and change habits. He says the key is creating a mindset, leading by example and effectively communicating ideas. His staff gets excited about The Parker’s zero-waste strategy. “It becomes a point of pride,” he says. “The most important first step would be creating a consciousness among the entire staff. It’s only with everyone on board that you can really make change.”
At The Parker, there are no hand towels and no straws. Da Cruz says the customers don’t even notice. “We’re a restaurant and zero waste can be normal,” says Da Cruz, adding customers don’t know the high-end restaurant is zero waste until the bill comes. “All these things that could be considered normal are suddenly forgotten when the service is good, the atmosphere is good and people feel taken care of,” says Da Cruz. PJ’s also has a strict no-straws policy. “You can’t even ask for one, let alone get one by default,” says von Masson. “At the very least, I think we should be asking people if they want a straw, not including them automatically.” He notes it’s only a matter of a few cents, but if value isn’t added, then margin is being wasted by something that simply gets thrown out. The Woolwich Arrow received a five-year sustainability plan from students at the University of Waterloo. The students devised a challenge for Desautels to put to his staff encouraging them to come up with green ideas for a prize. One winning idea was to switch to reusable coasters. Desautels says hundreds are thrown away at the Neighbourhood Group’s three restaurants every day. McAdams says the UGSRP plate waste study indicated garnishes and sauces were also wasted. All the fish and chips were sent out with tartar sauce and about half went back to the kitchen untouched. A couple years ago, the project’s bread waste study made the cover of the Globe and Mail. McAdams says they looked at the bread served automatically at a golf course, two restaurants and a banquet hall. On average, 35 per cent came back to the kitchen. The study suggested restaurants should charge for bread or stop bringing it automatically. “We’re starting to look at the automatic things we’re serving that are going out to tables,” he says. He says some restaurants have stopped the practice of “auto-ketchupping” and foodservice operators should be looking to cut down on the amount of single-use items, such as butter containers and single jams. McAdams says society’s acceptance of waste has increased. “We build waste into our costing model and pricing model,” he says. He says the size of a menu is critical. “I think 100-item menus don’t make sense for anyone,” says McAdams.
O N TA R I O R E S TAU R A N T N E W S
From the farm to four wheels
I wanted to bring some of that freshness of the product to the streets and make the farmers the focus.” Describing Localista’s food as country food, Potters plans to bring his background experience to the menu. “It’s always going to have a technical fine-dining aspect to it,” such as whole animal butchery, he said. “But will it be a 17-move plate or searing foie? We had to look at how far we could go with 500 people [to serve].” The truck’s first day on the road was the Live Green Festival at the end of July, with an estimated 30,000 people in attendance. Although Potters had ambitious plans for the menu, he ended up with what he knows best: comfort food. “We wrote a whole whack of menus when planning, and the first party we did, I ended up making fried chicken,” laughed Potters. The buttermilk fried chicken with corn bread, or ribs and baked beans, sold for $12, and Michael Potters and the Localista Food Truck hit the Toronto streets on July 27. Photo courtesy corn on the cob was $5, a price of Suresh Doss, Spotlight Toronto. range that Potters intends to stay within as the menu evolves. chef most recently at Hockley Valley Resort, By Leslie Wu The seasonality that marked his menus at and previously owned Milford Bistro and HarHarvest is a trademark he also plans to keep, ORANGEVILLE, ON—Chef Michael Potters vest Restaurant. Chaikin ran the Dirty Duck regardless of whether it requires more time is hitting the road in a food truck venture to Pub in Bali, Indonesia and a small ice cream sourcing, such as the three days it took to find a bring the farm to the streets of Toronto. shop in Montreal. farmer in the Hills of Headwaters with a suffi“We both love street food and the concept,” Potters teamed up with partner Tamara cient quantity of early corn for the Live Green Chaikin to roll out Localista. Neither have any said Potters to ORN. “For years, I’ve cooked event. food truck experience: Potters is a fine dining farm to table and worked with local farmers.
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Designing the truck – which took six weeks to complete by Joel Addeo of Guelph’s Joe Built – was another aspect Potters brought his restaurant experience to. Although certain issues, such as restrictions on the size of the water tank, which Potters compared to “working in the desert…you’re on a water ration the whole time”, he found the shift from brick and mortar cooking to food truck seamless. “I didn’t find any limitations in the truck when cooking,” he said. “It’s got enough firepower to do anything I want: a six burner, flat top, deep fryer, salad and service fridge and a nice area to plate. I’ve worked in restaurant kitchens smaller than this truck.” Although Potters plans to see how the truck works out before making future plans, he doesn’t rule out another restaurant. The initial attraction to the truck was the flexibility it provided to spend time with his daughter and commute between the Headwaters and Toronto when necessary. “For now, it’s something fun and different, and such a hot ticket item right now,” he said. “But there are cases of food trucks, such as Fidel Gastro’s, making the move to brick and mortar, so who knows what will happen in the future?” Note: Potters’ truck opened just as Toronto City Council approved a street food pilot project in late July for five city parks: Woodbine Park, Sherbourne Commons, Roundhouse Park, Canoe Landing and Allan Gardens. “This has been a long time coming and we are very hopeful that this will evolve into a permanent program,” said Councillor MaryMargaret McMahon, who supported the project with Councillor Josh Colle. localista.ca. @localistaeats.
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BeverageNews A MONTHLY REPORT ON THE BEVERAGE INDUSTRY
Macallan shows off its age TORONTO—A global plan to shift the focus of all Macallan single malt scotch 18 years and younger from age to colour has come to Canada. Brand ambassador Marc Laverdiere and one of the Edrington Group’s masters of wood Stuart MacPherson were on hand at the Shangri-La Toronto in late June to discuss the four new classifications – gold, amber, sienna and ruby – which will phase out the older products, including cask strength, sherry oak and fine oak, at the LCBO. “Initially, no doubt, education will be key.
From left: Stuart MacPherson and Marc Laverdiere.
Restaurants in the past would arrange their offerings in terms of age – 12, 15 or 18 years – from light to rich,” Laverdiere told ORN. “The new range is naturally linear.” The range, matured in a combination of American and Spanish sherry casks, is named 1824 after the year that Macallan was founded. A symbol of Macallan is Easter Elchies House (shown right, behind MacPherson and Laverdiere), built in 1700 and part of the 390-acre Macallan estate.
Talking organic with Stéphane Vedeau
TORONTO—Winemaker Stéphane Vedeau, owner of La Ferme Du Mont Vineyard, was in town in mid-July at Church Street’s Wine Bar to discuss the estate’s Côtes du Rhônes and Châteauneuf-du-Papes with local media and assorted industry members. In addition to owning the organic, 50-hectare estate, Vedeau also consults for other vineyards throughout Languedoc and Spain. “My philosophy is purity: keeping the soul of my region and bringing a balance of richness and elegance,” Vedeau told ORN. “From my understanding, Canadians still want to have a lot of fun with their wines; a
Bodegas Beronia turns 40 TORONTO—To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Bodegas Beronia, winemaker Matias Calleja Ugarte and area export director Christopher Canale-Parola stopped by Patria restaurant in Toronto in late July as part of a Canadian tour. Beronia began as a small winery founded in 1973 by a gastronomic society (a popular pastime among residents of northern Spain), said Canale-Parola. Originally producing just reserva and gran reserva wines, Beronia merged with Gonzales Byass in 1982 and expanded its portfolio. Ugarte led a vertical tasting through Beronia’s Gran Reservas from 1973, 1982,
1994 and 2006 to illustrate how the winemaking style has evolved throughout the decades. “In the 70s and 80s, our winemaking style was focused on acidity, which shifted in the 90s to focus more on structure,” he said. “The winemaking style evolved later to include more rounded wines that balanced the acidity.”
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TORONTO—Philip Olsson, chair of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) for the past seven years, will succeed Paul Godfrey as the chair of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). Edward Waitzer will replace Olsson at the LCBO. The former Ontario Securities Commission chair is the director of the Hennick Centre for Business and Law at Osgoode Hall and the Schulich School of Business at York University. Both appointments are subject to approval by the standing committee of government agencies, according to the Toronto Star.
Kirkwood to represent Jose Cuervo in Canada TORONTO—As of July 1, the Kirkwood Group is the Canadian representative for the Jose Cuervo brand. The appointment news by Proximo follows a March announcement that the privately owned spirits importer was taking control of the tequila brand in North America. The Kirkwood Group is a familyowned national sales and marketing company representing wines, spirits, beers and ready-to-drink beverages. According to a release, the Canadian Proximo portfolio has increased by almost 600 per cent in the last three years.
ST. CATHARINES, ON— Belinda Kemp is the new senior scientist in oenology at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI). Kemp’s past experience includes Plumpton College in East Sussex, UK, and a PhD in viticulture and oenology from New Zealand’s Lincoln University. Kemp will work with the institute’s current senior scientist in viticulture, Jim Willwerth.
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sensual approach,” he said. “With my wines, you must use all of your senses: think of your childhood, how the light touches us...it must all appear in the glass.” Among the wines poured were a 2011 Côtes du Rhônes Le Ponnant, of which 2,700 cases were produced. “I prefer for wines to be more intellectual,” said Vedeau about the Pommant, which he compared to a “baby Amarone.” Vedeau also poured a Châteauneuf-duPape 2010 Côtes Capelan made from 150-yearold vines, which he described as “super rich and concentrated” and advised that it would be at its best in 20 to 30 years.
Br i e f s
BE V E R A G E
N E W S
From left: Steve Beauchesne and Anders Kissmeyer.
A taste of P.E.I. in Toronto By Alexandra Sienkiewicz
Beau’s launches beer label TORONTO—Vankleek Hill brewery Beau’s All Natural announced the launch of B-Side Brewing Label during June’s Ontario Craft Beer Week. The new venture will bring international ales to the province to be brewed, sold and delivered by the Eastern Ontario Brewery. B-Side is “like a record label, but for beer,” said Beau’s co-founder Steve Beauchesne. “BSide is not about new beers from Beau’s. It’s us travelling the globe to meet cool, like-minded brewers, and then working with them to create authentic versions of their recipes that we can brew fresh, right here in Ontario.” Anders Kissmeyer of Denmark’s Kissmeyer Beer was the first to sign on to the label. His creation, Kissmeyer Nordic Pale Ale, features sweet gale, yarrow, dried heather flowers, rose hips, cranberries and maple syrup. Beauchesne described the Nordic ale as crisp and clear with a golden, straw colour and an aroma reminiscent of a fall harvest day. “It’s not going to hit you over the head with a hammer, but it has got complexity to it,” he said. “It’s so delicate that you recognize [the flavours], but you’re not able to pinpoint them.” The beer is being put into year-round production by the craft brewery using local ingredients and spring water and will be available to restaurants and bars in bottles and draft. The company plans to add other names to the label next summer and are considering craft breweries from Mexico, the U.S. and other provinces with the hope of having somewhere
O N TA R I O R E S TAU R A N T N E W S
between five and 10 beers embossed with the B-side label. Beauchesne said the project is different from contract brewing. The 80-employee brewery – which supplies to 750 restaurants and grew from five founding team members serving seven restaurants in 2006 – is invested in the project and will be handling distribution and sales. “We got into the beer business because we love beer. Our motivation is having more great beer in Ontario,” said Beauchesne. He said craft drinkers are looking to discover new things and thinks putting “world-class beer” next to Beau’s elevates the brand. The brewery, located on Terry Fox Drive in Vankleek Hill is capable of producing about three million litres of beer this year. “We’re committed to growing with the project,” said Beauchesne.
The competition, with the help of the P.E.I. tourism board, presented the students with fresh blue mussels, beef striploin and potatoes. The mystery black box ingredients proved less familiar: spruce tips, cattails, fiddleheads and dulse. “These are ingredients I helped to personally forage off of P.E.I.,” said Smith. “We’re all aware of this resurgence, this movement, this understanding that we are constantly surrounded by food that we overlook.” After taking an oath to the P.E.I. Oyster Society, and being named official islanders by Smith, students spent 30 minutes creating an appetizer for the judges, ranging from fiddlehead, spruce shoot and potato soup to dulse potato hickory sticks. The winning dish was created by Lorelei Simbulan: a pan-seared medallion of beef, seasoned with spruce shoots over Dijon and chivemashed potatoes, with panko and dulse mussels. Simbulan intends to finish her program at Liaison College and, one day, own a catering business. As for using foraged ingredients in her menu, she said, “they weren’t so bad.”
TORONTO—It had all the elements of a Chopped kitchen competition: black baskets, mystery ingredients, a fully-stocked pantry and four eager competitors. It wasn’t in New York City or Denver; this Prince Edward Island-themed showdown was in Toronto. Under the watchful eyes of an audience, four culinary students from different Ontario colleges went head-to-head inside Mildred’s Temple Kitchen in June. Chef Michael Smith, P.E.I.’s food ambassador, played the role of host and cheerleader for the competition, which highlighted a variety of foraged wild edibles available on the island. “We’re seeing this movement in the very highest levels of our business, from Noma in Copenhagen right on down—it’s a very big trend,” said Smith, who is currently filming the Food Network’s Chopped Canada, which will air in September.
Winning chef Lorelei Simbulan, of Liaison College, begins plating as chef Michael Smith narrates the competition. Photo by Alexandra Sienkiewicz.
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Restaurant News July 2013 Vol. 28 No. 6
C O V E R A G E
By Kristen Smith, assistant editor, digital content
FIKA BRINGS SWEDEN TO KENSINGTON
PLAYING THE FIELD: THE CCFCC TURNSrestaurant 50
A CUT ABOVE: From established 1996 whole beast butchering to using off-cuts, here’s how some operators are bringing home the bacon.
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June 2013 Vol. 15 No. 3
Stephanie and Maurizio Bertossi
A COMPLETE HOSPITALITY & ENTERTAINMENT EXPERIENCE
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By Leslie Wu, editorial director HALIFAX—Two restaurateurs with roots in the community since 1984 are bringing a bit of northern Italy to Halifax. Stephanie and Maurizio Bertossi opened La Frasca Cibi & Vini on Spring Garden Road on May 27. The new concept took over the couple’s 17-year-old Il Mercato restaurant, part of the Bertossi Group’s empire which also includes
another Il Mercato location, Ristorante a Mano and The Bicycle Thief. The name, which translates to “branch” in Italian, refers to a Friulian tradition of hanging a branch in the road to signify that people should come in to join friends for food and a glass of wine, said Stephanie Bertossi to ARN. “We call it the original pop-up,” she joked.
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Overseen by Maurizio and executive chef Lawry Deneau, the menu encompasses dishes from northern Italy and the Friuli region—an area in northeastern Italy where Maurizio hails from—and features items such as Gnocchi di Susine, with plum stuffing, cinnamon, brown butter sauté, and breadcrumbs for $16 and Cevapcici e Salsiccia, a housemade sausage dish for $22. With appetizers around $9 and entrees around $24, Bertossi said that the menu is designed to be changed often and accommodate sharing. “The olden days of having multicourse menus tends not to work any more,” she said. “People want to share things.” With 12 enomatic dispensers, plus another four for champagne, the restaurant will offer 25 wines by the glass for $8 and up, from a primarily Italian list. The beer menu also lists Bombetta (meaning “bowler hat” in Italian), a Friuli-style brew made exclusively for the restaurant by local Propeller Brewery. The 5,000-square-foot, 150-seat space includes 14 seats at a large bar and eight to 10 seats at two smaller stand-up bars. Designed by Stephanie Bertossi and local design firm MAC Interior Design, the restaurant took shape in five weeks from demolition to open. “It’s a little mix of modern and old school,” said Bertossi. A collage made by manager Steve Arsenault and other staff covers one wall and includes wine labels, pictures of Friuli and graffiti from Maurizio. All furniture is custom made, with wood tables inlaid with wine box tops, a black and white marble top bar, and old-style Venetian lights, said Bertossi. 5650 Spring Garden Road, Halifax. firstname.lastname@example.org. lafrasca.ca
NOVA SCOTIA FOOD GATHERING
RED ROVER BRINGS CIDER OVER TO NB
F O C U S
LUIS CLAVEL JOINS CULINARY TEAM
“Just another day at the office.”
From left: Will Thompson and Matt Cummings.
By Colleen Isherwood, senior contributing editor
FAST CASUAL GROWTH SPEEDS UP
$ 5 . 9 5
the ORHMA board representing a stronger voice to lobby government ORHMA and OAA join forces new category of independent innto protect our livelihoods,” Mahussifranchising@primerestaurants.com 1-877-694-8186 ext. 404 primepubs.com
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Branching out at La Frasca
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keepers. “This is exciting news for Ontario’s hospitality industry, but this
tions of its 64-year-old non-profit association and conduct activities
MISSISSAUGA, ON—Tony Elenis, president and CEO of the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA), announced June 3 at their annual general meeting that the Ontario Accommodation Association (OAA) would cease opera-
through the ORHMA starting Project: RestaurantNews Ontario Edition 10” x 3” is| Build: 100% |ORHMA Colors: CMYK not about or OAA. It's 1 | Trim: in | Revision: August. Elenis said that members of the OAA unanimously voted at their recent annual general meeting to join with the ORHMA. Both John Burnside and Sharon Mahussier of the OAA will serve on
about [the] innkeepers and their businesses,” Elenis said. “OAA members joining ORHMA will create a stronger, united industry association, that will benefit all of us with more leveraging power to negotiate member benefits, and a
From burgers to coffee, pizza, and more, ARN presents its annual list of the top chains in the market. Turn to page 10 to see what’s new in the world of chains: who moved up the list from last year, who is posting the fastest growth, and other easy-to-use information.
Extreme Flavours Extreme Profits *See Inside Back Cover* Soft Frozen Yogurt, Gelato and Soft Serve
Continued on page 7
By Kristen Smith, Assistant editor, digital content
“Just another day at the office.”
SUE CHRISTENSEN Franchise owner
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June 2013 Vol. 19 No. 3
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VANCOUVER—A trio of restaurant industry veterans pooled their varied talents to open Tuc Craft Kitchen at 60 West Cordova St. in late April. The project has been in the works by Colin Ross, James MacFarlane and chef Roy Flemming for the past three years and in the back of their minds for quite a bit longer. The owners met through stints with Milestones. MacFarlane and Ross currently co-own a franchise and Flemming, who worked in small, high-end Quebec restaurants such as Le Marin and Le Vieux Pêcheur, came to the company after moving west and working in the hotel industry. “We realized we had similar core
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The trio transformed what MacFarlane called a “concrete shell” into a one-room, 83-seat, 2,300 square foot restaurant, including a mezzanine above the kitchen. He said the additional thirty seats the mezzanine provides allowed them to have the menu they wanted and charge less per plate. The average check is between $25 and $30, including an entrée and wine. Tuc’s entrées are under $20, with the excepFrom left: Roy Flemming, tion of a 12-ounce, Colin Ross and James MacFarlane. 30-day dry-aged, mushroom crusted, rib eye for $28. values surrounding restaurants, but Lunch items are under $13. different styles,” said MacFarlane. MacFarlane pointed to several He said the idea to start a project strategies the group came up with to together came up casually about a keep the bill relatively low. Bottles of decade ago and in 2010, they started wine are marked up by 50 per cent putting together the concept and and serving Tuc’s four by-the-glass menu and scouting locations. options (two red and two white) on The Downtown Eastside has seen tap allowed them to eliminate spoila number of restaurants move into age and offset bottled wine costs with the area and anti-gentrification prothose savings. tests have been targeted at condo “What we really wanted was for projects and new businesses. people to be able to come and have “Gastown kind of picked us,” he a great dinner, have a bottle of wine, said. The walking and transit comhave a dinner party, essentially, and munity had the combination of high not leave a whole paycheck behind,” density and an identity that worked said MacFarlane. for Tuc’s concept, said MacFarlane. The menu also reflects their goal “We knew there was a certain style of of keeping money in their customers’ restaurant we wanted to do and that bank accounts. Instead of using a filet meant we had to be choosey with lomignon, Flemming uses hanger steak cation as far as rent goes.” and puts time into the dish, braising
A new type of TUC shop
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er said at the OAA AGM. “The ORHMA is in a unique position to thrust on the opportunities RN_JOSH-ONT and possibilities that lie ahead and develop more synergies,” Elenis said. “The ORHMA has a strong government relations presence and our on going work is helping but much more must be done.”
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The décor – hardwood, with tin burger made with corn flakes as an ceiling and turquoise accents – was example. created for Kenu restaurant, which The open-concept kitchen has a closed after nine months in the same large rotisserie and Thompson makes location. the sauces and ice cream in house. The three-room, 3,700-squareWith a spa in the same building, foot restaurant in the River’s Edge Stillwaters also features a spa tasting building at 61 Grand River St. North menu of lighter choices and smaller can seat 110 and has room for about portions. 30 more on a side patio. An additional Cummings called the restaurant 80-seat, 2,500-square-foot rooftop paconcept affordable elegance. He noted tio offers its own bar and kitchen. Both while there certainly are successful patios boast views of the picturesque fine-dining establishments in Ontario, Grand River. the middle-of-the-road restaurants It was for those views that the coare thriving. owners charged ahead, going full tilt “You need to make the fine-dining for about a month to get the restaurant menu accessible to those who have ready to open. “We didn’t want to miss changed their dining priorities,” said the patio season,” said Cummings. Cummings. “As much as people prefer Thompson said the menu items to spend less when they eat out, people aren’t rudimentary, but people can reare also eating out more often,” and it’s late to them. He told ORN the menu important to appeal to those diners was developed with the Paris, ON resinot out for a special occasion by creatdents in mind. ing “a place where people feel comfortWith an average check of $25 inable enough to come after a ball game, cluding wine, dishes range from wings after hockey, or just because they don’t and mussels, to oysters shucked onhave time to cook,” he said. site, parmesan-crusted, dry-aged beef “We are trying to be accessible to tenderloin with Yukon gold matchthe farming community and the comstick potatoes or golden teriyaki Asian munity around here [including Kitchstir-fry. ener, Milton and Hamilton],” said “We wanted to make sure we were Thompson, who originally hails from accessible to the public. For the most Caledonia. “This is the community I part, we’re doing the basics as far as want to cater to.” what we’re serving, but we’re doing it with our own flair,” said Thompson, 61 Grand River St. N, Paris, ON. (519) who points to a gluten-free turkey 302-3000. JOSH PEACE Franchise owner
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PARIS, ON—Matt Cummings and Red Seal-certified chef Will Thompson opened Stillwaters Plate and Pour on the Grand River shore in the County of Brant on June 3. Both restaurateurs have industry experience: Cummings opened the Cobblestone Public House a block north of the new restaurant in 2008 and Thompson, the former executive sous chef at St. Anne’s Spa in Grafton, ON, left his former post to compete on Top Chef Canada last winter.
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it for two hours in wine stock to create a bourguignon. MacFarlane likens the experience to a dinner party at a friend’s home. The food is great and challenges the palate, he said, but the ingredients aren’t the most expensive. He said the kitchen is taking good, fresh, seasonal ingredients and putting a lot of effort and time into them to “make them really sing.” Tuc’s philosophy is that it doesn’t need to be complicated to be great, said MacFarlane, who called the restaurant’s menu a classic, unpretentious approach to food and drink. “What we really wanted to do is deliver something comfortable and at the same time stylish,” said Flemming. “As the seasons flow, the menu will flow with what’s available.” He said they are aiming to get a brunch menu together for this month. “The most important thing is that my family eats there, my friends eat there; I’m out in the dining room talking to everyone I serve,” said Flemming. MacFarlane said the team, with the help of M Studio, aimed to create a comfortable, unique, warm and rustic room with industrial touches, which would align with Tuc’s style of food. “Almost all the tactile materials are reclaimed from somewhere locally,” said MacFarlane, who trekked around Vancouver with Ross to find light fixtures, design features, beer taps, and wall treatments such as an old galvanized tin roof. The name is a nod to tucking in or a tuck shop, said MacFarlane, but they dropped the ‘k’ because “no matter what font we chose, it looked like an unsavoury word and we weren’t selling that.” 60 West Cordova St., Vancouver, (604) 559-8999, tucrestaurant.com, @tucrestaurant
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Photo by Tracey Kusiewicz.
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A room with a view
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Atlantic beef heads west
Photo courtesy of Prince Edward Island Beef.
CHARLOTTETOWN—A new beef brand launched in P.E.I. in July. Prince Edward Island Certified Beef is a joint initiative of the PEI Culinary Alliance, the PEI Cattle Producers, the Atlantic Beef Products Plant, and the departments of Agriculture and Forestry, and Innovation and Advanced Learning. “Our investment in the development of a premium certified beef brand reflects a strong commitment to create a more profitable beef industry and return higher prices to producers, while supporting rural communities across the province,” said George Webster, minister of agriculture and forestry, in a release. Involved farmers receive a premium for
the extra effort to meet the qualifications: the beef must be raised on P.E.I family farms, the animals fed high-quality grain and vegetables, the cow must have a finished weight of between 700 and 900 pounds and the meat must be federally graded at least AA. Producers are third-party certified by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry. The brand has at least three producers involved and plans to expand in relation to the market. Jan Holmes, PEI Culinary Alliance program officer, told ORN the project has been in the works for two years. “It helps to strengthen the message of what we produce here on Prince Edward Island,” said Holmes, noting beef is one of the great products that come from the island. She said P.E.I. beef has received excellent reviews from chefs. “The brand itself is new, but the way producers raise the beef isn’t new,” said Holmes. Predominantly an export brand, Dolan Foods will distribute Island Beef to restaurants and specialty meat shops in central and western Canada. Toronto chef Mark McEwan is on board as the brand advocate and spokesperson.
Maple Leaf goes cold turkey TORONTO—Canadian foodservice giant, Maple Leaf Foods, has entered into a definitive agreement to sell all of its turkey breeding operations. Maple Leaf will continue to supply turkeys, sourced from its former holdings. “Divesting our turkey growing operations will allow us to focus on, and direct capital to, growth and innovation in our value added turkey processing business,” Maple Leaf Foods president and CEO Michael H. McCain said in a July 22 release. The transaction will see Ernald Enterprises Ltd., operator of 1,200 acres of agricultural
land and five commercial turkey and chicken growing operations in southern Ontario, take over Maple Leaf ’s six commercial turkey farms. A long-term supply of live turkey for Maple Leaf was a part of the agreement with Ernald. “The transaction ensures a long-term supply of high quality turkeys at competitive prices,” said McCain. Cuddy Farms Ltd., a producer and distributor of commercial turkey eggs and poultry, will take charge of the six breeder farms and hatchery operations.
Left: Ace Bakery bread wall on display. Top right: Michael McKenzie, Seed to Sausage. Bottom right: Nancy Hinton, Les Jardins Sauvages.
Ace Bakery Artisan Incubator TORONTO—Two artisans were selected to receive additional business development support in late June at the kickoff event for the first Artisan Incubator Showcase. Nancy Hinton and Francois Brouillard from Les Jardins Sauvages, St-Roch de L’Achigan, QC and Michael McKenzie from Tichborne, ON-based Seed to Sausage were chosen from 20 artisans on hand to be given mentoring advice to grow their local, sustainable businesses. Artisans from across the country brought their wares to display, a spread that included Nova Scotia’s Ironworks Distillery’s Annapolis
Valley apple vodka, spruce tips from Yukonbased Up River Commercial Fishing, and Canadian fleur de sel harvested at Cobble Hill, BC’s Vancouver Island Salt Co. Held at the Daniels Spectrum building at Regent Park, the event featured roving tastemakers including chefs Lynn Crawford, Lora Kirk, Connie DeSousa and John Jackson, and was sponsored by Ace Bakery. “It’s really important if you’ve been a successful Canadian company that you give back to those in the industry,” said Ace Bakery cofounder Linda Haynes to ORN. The company celebrated its 25th anniversary this year.
Supporting sustainable seafood
Rubbermaid weighs in with new line
RANCHO DOMINGUEZ, CALIF.—A group of North American seafood suppliers joined forces to form Sea Pact, a coalition of industry leaders striving to advance environmentally sustainable fisheries and aquaculture practices. Vancouver’s Albion Fisheries and Seacore Seafood in Toronto have joined U.S. suppliers Santa Monica Seafood, Seattle Fish Co., Fortune and Fish Gourmet and Ipswich Shellfish Group in contributing to a long-term sustainable seafood industry by improving fishing and fish farming systems. The six companies plan to pool
MISSISSAUGA, ON—The Rubbermaid Commercial Products line was on display at the International Centre in July. The event attracted end-users and distributors to test out some of Rubbermaid’s products geared towards the foodservice and hospitality industry. A recently released, fully dishwasher-safe digital scale for commercial kitchens was on display; Numair Khan, senior manager, product marketing for Rubbermaid Commercial Products told ORN it is the first of its kind
resources and knowledge to sponsor improvement projects. “We are excited about Sea Pact’s ability to generate impactful change by leveraging our combined influence and strength to produce more sustainable seafood options for the future,” said Guy Dean, CSO at Albion Fisheries, in a release. “I am positive that together, our geographically diverse international membership can create an industry driven difference to the fishing and aquaculture practices and systems that we source from.”
available to the foodservice industry. He demonstrated that the non-waterproof part of the scale slides out from the encasement, where any sort of food particles or grease would come into contact, so the shell and plate can be run through a commercial dishwasher. The digital scales come in stainless steel and black antimicrobial resin, and offers measurements in pounds, ounces or grams. New items in Rubbermaid Commercial Products’ line will be available across Canada this fall.
June. She has published more than 25 cookbooks and is currently a contributor to the Toronto Sun. Baird is a longstanding advocate of local and seasonal cooking and a founder of children’s nutritional program non-profit Breakfast for Learning. Other culinary arts representatives appointed to the Order of Canada include Jamie Kennedy in 2010 and Anita Stewart in 2011.
From left: Alison Fryer, manager of The Cookbook Store. Robert Hund, president of foodservice at Manitowoc Company, Inc. Brian Wood, CEO of the Restaurant Equipment Distributors.
Toronto’s The Cookbook Store is celebrating its 30 year anniversary. The store at 850 Yonge St. in Yorkville hosts chef demos and international speakers (previous guests include René Redzepi of Copenhagen’s Noma, author Michael Pollan and food scientist Harold McGee). Manager Alison Fryer is often found either at the store or various culinary events around the city. She runs The Cookbook Store with owner Josh Josephson, and assistant general manager
Jennifer Grange, who has been working there since the store opened. The Manitowoc Company, Inc. has a new president of foodservice as of Aug. 1. The company announced in an early July release that Robert M. Hund, most recently executive vicepresident of Manitowoc's Crane Care division, will report to Glen E. Tellock, chairman and CEO. Hund’s experience includes vice-president, worldwide marketing and product manage-
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ment of Manitowoc Cranes, as well as product development manager, mining and construction equipment division for Caterpillar. He holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Bradley University, a Master of Science in industrial engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from Millikin University. Cookbook author and former food editor of Canadian Living magazine, Elizabeth Baird, was named to the Order of Canada in late
The Restaurant Equipment Distributors of Canada (R.E.D. Canada) announced two appointments to newly created positions at the organization. Brian Wood has been named chief operating officer and Linda Forster is now vice-president, business development. Wood has worked within the foodservice industry for more than 30 years in management, sales, marketing, branding, sourcing, product development and vendor negotiations. Prior to his appointment, Wood was the chief operating officer for Browne, and before that, was president and COO of Browne-Halco. As CEO, Wood will manage and co-ordinate business operations at R.E.D. Canada. As vice-president, business development, Forster will assist in establishing a plan to develop R.E.D. Canada’s marketing, new business development and shareholder relations.
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CANADIAN SHOPPERS' PREFERENCE ON TOMATO IMPORTS
(Leger Marketing, California Tomato Farmers Canadian Consumer Survey (Online) July 10th, 2012)