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O N T A R I O January 2016 | Vol. 30 | No. 12








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Prairie pizza finds a place in Leslieville TORONTO — When family visits, pizza is a common request from Saskatchewan expats living in Toronto. To help satiate this craving, many of the province’s pizza parlours assist the export of “Regina-style” pies by partially baking their product and freezing it for transport. While many Saskatchewanians wait for family and friends to make a long-distance delivery, Pizza Thick is now filling the Regina-style pizza void in the Leslieville neighbourhood of Toronto. Regina native Barry Hayes opened the pizza parlour on Queen Street East near Carlaw Avenue last summer. In December, he sold the business to regular customers Amylee Silva and Michael Kolkas. Due to other business ventures, Hayes was unable to keep regular hours at the restaurant. “We used to come to the shop as customers,” Silva said. “We saw a Facebook message that they wanted to sell. We decided we couldn’t pass on the opportunity, and we didn’t want to see the shop go.” Regina-style pizza, a deep-dish pie, is defined by its crispy and flaky crust and generous amount of toppings. Pizza Thick’s Hawaiian option weighs about five pounds and includes 850 grams of ham.

Pizza Thick owner Amylee Silva Adding pepperoni as a topping equates to about 80 pieces. The 15-inch pizzas cost about $30. “The dough is a hybrid of Chicago style with a flaky crust,” Silva said. “I’ve never really seen a pizza like this before, and I’m trying desperately to not eat it every single day.” The pizza is also cut in a tick-tack-toe grid. “Right in the centre is the best slice,” Silva said.

To ensure the crust maintains its flaky consistency, leftover Regina pizza is traditionally stored upside down. “The oil used in the crust goes through the toppings and out of the pizza,” Silva said. “We’ve had a lot of people from Saskatchewan come and scout us out to make sure we’re upholding the recipe.” Since reopening, the T-Chris pizza, topped with pepperoni, Italian sausage, peppers, mush-

rooms, olives, sauce and cheese, has emerged as Pizza Thick’s most popular pie. “It’s the name of a regular customer who made a recommendation that it was missing Italian sausage, they named it after him,” Silva said. Kolkas and Silva plan to develop new recipes, drawing on their family’s heritage and background in foodservice. Kolkas’s family owned three Greek restaurants in the GTA, while Silva’s parents run a Portuguese bakery. “We’re thinking of a piri piri chicken pizza and spanakopita, topped with spinach and feta,” Silva said.

Igniting downtown Kitchener Chef Jonathan Gushue and Ryan Lloyd-Craig opened The Berlin last month KITCHENER, Ont. — Tasked with opening more than one establishment under the IGNITE Restaurant Group Canada, chef Jonathan Gushue and Ryan Lloyd-Craig opened The Berlin on Dec. 21. The co-proprietors have a long foodservice history, notably including Gushue’s time as executive chef of Langdon Hall, where he landed the Cambridge, Ont., hotel restaurant on the 2010 list of S. Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants. Lloyd-Craig was recently with Aramark as district foodservice manager for Wilfrid Laurier University. IGNITE is led by Lloyd-Craig’s father-inlaw Willy Huber of Piller Sausages (now Piller’s Fine Foods after it was sold to Premium Brands in 2011). Lloyd-Craig holds the position of vicepresident with the recently formed restaurant group. “We wanted a place where we’d be comfortable bringing our family,” said Lloyd-Craig, describing The Berlin’s decor as “casual elegant, but still comfortable and accessible.” Taking over the space at 45 King St. W., the former home of Peter Martin’s The 41 Gastro Pub, the 7,000-square-foot restaurant seats about 100 guests. Upstairs, two rooms allow for private dining and events. With plaster and exposed brick walls, the floors were redone with hardwood barnboard slats. An open kitchen features seats along the line and a raised dining area has room for a 12-person chef ’s table. Just outside the kitchen, a living wall grows fresh herbs. At the centre of the menu is a five-foot wood-burning grill by Grillworks Inc.

“It’s already taking over; it’s got a mind of its own almost,” said Gushue. He said cooking over coal produces a clean result, but keeping things simple — such as seasoning with salt and pepper and basting with stock — isn’t as easy as it sounds. “It’s my nature to try to do a little more,” Gushue explained. “It’s so hard to explain the difference that this kind of cooking makes in the end result and clean is the only way I can sort of describe it,” Gushue said. “I really think a 100 per cent grass fed burger over coals would really be outstanding.” For Gushue, The Berlin is a departure from traditional fine dining, the segment he has worked in for most of his career. For one reason or another, not everyone feels they can enjoy that type of dining experience, Gushue said. The underlying philosophy at The Berlin is to “offer value for price paid.” With that in mind, the plan is to deliver on the concepts of comfortable, casual and accessible. “We want people to feel they can come on in and have a bite, have a drink, have a burger, just have a meal or a snack,” Gushue said. The product-driven menu focuses on what is from the area first. Gushue said he plans to use the same quality product he has always used. “It was our intention not to put in the kind of infrastructure that we had to charge so much to cover what we’ve spent,” he said. The menu includes German, Austrian, Polish and Hungarian fare, reflecting Kitchener’s heritage; the city was named Berlin until 1916. “I would have to describe the food I like to cook as modern European; very product driven,

Ryan Lloyd-Craig (left) and chef Jonathan Gushue. it’s not necessarily driven by a particular style,” said Gushue, adding it could be characterized as Parisian, focused on the product with some accents. The opening menu consisted of snacks, such as charred knockwurst with sweet grain mustard and cured lake trout with cultured butter and Danish rye. Appetizers on the dinner menu included smoked beets, pig tail terrine and semolina noodles with coal-roasted mushrooms, Brussel sprouts and hazelnuts. As for mains, the rotating menu featured: roasted chicken with buckwheat spaetzle, leeks and beer broth; spiced duck breast with rapini, roasted red onions and goat’s cheese sauce; pickerel with rye dumplings and cauliflower; and roasted carrots with sheep’s feta, apple, barley and vadouvan oil. Dishes range from $16 to $50. “We keep it small and change it often, then we can offer more,” said Gushue.

Kempton Munshaw is The Berlin’s sous chef. Key front-of-house personnel include assistant general manager Patrick Fedy, manager Andrea Hennige, sommelier Wes Klassen and lead bartender Stacy Anderson. “We want service to be casual and comfortable — what we want is everything to be comfortable,” said Gushue. At press time, Gushue and Lloyd-Craig were in negotiations for another restaurant site in downtown Kitchener. “We’ve been tasked with doing multiple restaurants,” said Gushue. “I think there is a lot of opportunity down here in a two-block radius.” Lloyd-Craig said while the area has seen some struggles, the restaurateur duo are encouraged by the progress that has been made and the developments to come, including growing tech companies, condo development, light rail transit and renovations of the Walper Hotel.

January 2016 | 3



Sustainability is more than a trend


lot of time and effort goes into identifying upand-coming trends. Every year researchers and associations put together their predictions for the future of the foodservice industry. We rounded up some good ones for you on page 18. However, there is a fine line between following a trend and jumping on a fad. Trends should be considered within the context of your establishment. A restaurant specializing in kale wouldn’t ditch its core menu items in favour of the increasingly popular cauliflower. That’s obviously an extreme example intended to illustrate following trends doesn’t necessarily equate to success, and ignoring them won’t always spell disaster. It’s as important to stay true to an eatery’s distinct brand as it is to stay on top of the latest and greatest. McCormick’s annual Flavour Forecast can be considered on a spectrum of emerging to mainstream. Those operators who cater to a more trend-seeking clientele might con-

sider bold menu changes. Those who don’t might want to incorporate elements of these emerging flavours. Blends with benefits — mixing good-for-you ingredients with herbs and spices — is particularly interesting, not simply because it has a great name, but it’s something even home cooks could utilize to bring healthy alternatives to the table in a more interesting way. There are some interesting things to consider that speak to the industry more broadly than what is going on in the kitchen. The National Restaurant Association (NRA), which surveyed about 1,600 members of the American Culinary Foundation for its foodservice forecast, predicts chef-driven, fast casual concepts in the second-place spot. This speaks loudly to the idea that consumers want higher quality food and they want it fast, accessible and at a low cost. The number of mentions of “house-made,” “artisan,” and “local” should come as no surprise. For operators, the difficulty lies in how to deliver all these elements to consumers. At issue is whether sustainability and food waste reduction should be included in trend talk or whether these topics are an in-

tegral — and increasingly hard to ignore — part of operations. “True trends evolve over time, especially when it comes to lifestyle-based choices that extend into other areas of our everyday life. Chefs and restaurateurs are in tune with over-arching consumer trends when it comes to menu planning, but add their own twist of culinary creativity to drive those trends in new directions,” senior vice-president of NRA’s research and knowledge group Hudson Riehle said in a statement. Trends do evolve over time, but sustainability — whether we are talking about the way our produce is grown, seafood is harvested, the amount of waste we produce, food we throw out, the electricity we use, or the overall financial viability of a restaurant — should be at the heart of a foodservice establishment and not lumped in with trends that may be fleeting.

MILL VALLEY, Calif. – A national employee satisfaction survey has ranked Earls Kitchen + Bar as the best workplace in Canada. Glassdoor, an international job and recruiting marketplace, announced Earls’ earned top spot in its inaugural Canadian Employees’ Choice Awards. Now in its eighth year in several countries, the list of 25 workplaces honours employers with 1,000 or more employees. The Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards are based on the input of employees who voluntarily provide anonymous feedback by completing a company review about their job, work environment and employer throughout the last year. Earls received an employee satisfaction rate of 4.5/5.0. Starbucks also made the Canadian list at No. 16.

Kristen Smith Managing Editor

Food cost will outpace inflation GUELPH, Ont. — Food inflation will once again exceed the general inflation rate in 2016, according to the Food Price Report, compiled by The Food Institute of the University of Guelph. The report, released in mid-December, predicts food prices will increase by two to four per cent. Meat, fruit and nuts will see the highest inflation rate, increasing between 2.5 and 4.5 per cent. The price of vegetables will climb as much as four per cent and seafood increases will stay below three per cent. Dairy, eggs and grain prices will see increases below two per cent.

4 | Ontario Restaurant News

lective bargaining agreements are exempt from legislation until the contract expires.

Cara opens 1,000th restaurant

Chef Tyler Shedden joins Chase

VAUGHAN, Ont. – The new Fionn MacCool’s in Oshawa, Ont. is Cara Operations’ 1,000th restaurant. The Irish-style pub and restaurant opened its doors on Dec. 14. It is one of 37 restaurants to open under the Cara umbrella last year. Cara’s total restaurant count was recently bolstered by its acquisition of New York Fries, which has about 160 units. Cara’s brands also include Harvey’s, Swiss Chalet, Kelsey’s, East Side Mario’s, Montana’s, Milestones, Prime Pubs, Casey’s, Bier Markt and Landing restaurants.

TORONTO – Chase Hospitality Group has announced chef Tyler Shedden will join the company as its culinary director. Shedden, a British Columbia native, will work with executive chef Michael Steh to build the brand’s culinary evolution, which includes overseeing restaurant concepts, initiatives and menu development. The Toronto-based restaurant group includes The Chase, The Chase Fish & Oyster, Colette Grand Café, Little Fin and Kasa Moto. Considered chef Daniel Boulud’s protégé, Shedden was hand selected by Boulud to work as executive chef of Café Boulud in the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto, when the hotel lauched in 2012. His resume also includes private dining chef at DANIEL in New York City and part of the opening team for Gordon Ramsay at the London in New York City, which earned two Michelin stars in its first year.

TORONTO — Foodservice operators will soon be prohibited from taking their employees’ tips. With support from all provincial political parties, the Protecting Employees’ Tips Act passed its third reading at Queen’s Park on Dec. 7. It will come into effect in 2016. The bill, tabled by Beaches-East York MPP Arthur Potts, protects tip pooling for back-of-house staff while outlawing owners and managers, who are not directly involved in serving, from taking a percentage of tips. For checks paid by credit card, restaurant owners will be allowed to pay the employee the tip less the merchant fee cost of the gratuity component of the bill. Gratuity agreements included in col-


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Kahala acquires Pinkberry SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Kahala Brands purchased frozen yogurt brand Pinkberry. The acquisition expands Kahala Brands’ froyo offering, which already includes Yogen Früz and Yogurty’s. A decade after its creation, Pinkberry has grown to more than 260 stores in 20 countries. The chain has several locations in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta.

EDITORIAL ADVISORY COUNCIL MICKEY CHEREVATY Consultant, Moyer Diebel Limited MARVIN GREENBERG Consultant JACK BATTERSBY President, Summit Food Service Distributors Inc. PAUL LECLERC Partner, Serve-Canada Food Equipment Ltd. PAUL MANCINI Director of Retail, Inventory and Wholesale, LCBO JORGE SOARES Director Food and Beverage Operations, Woodbine Entertainment Group ADAM COLQUHOUN President, Oyster Boy JOHN CRAWFORD Director of Sales-Canada, Lamb Weston TINA CHIU Chief Operating Officer, Mandarin Restaurant Franchise Corporation MARTIN KOUPRIE Chef/Owner, Pangaea Restaurant JOEL SISSON Founder and president of Crush Strategy Inc. LESLIE WILSON Vice-president of Business Excellence, Compass Group Canada CHRIS JEENS Partner, W. D. Colledge Co. Ltd.

ONTARIO RESTAURANT NEWS VOLUME 30 · NO. 12 · JANUARY 2016 Ontario Restaurant News ( is published 12 times a year by Ishcom Publications Ltd., 2065 Dundas Street East, Suite 201, Mississauga, Ont. L4X 2W1 T: (905) 206-0150 · F: (905) 206-9972 · Toll Free: 1(800)201-8596 Other publications include the Canadian Chains Directory and Buyers’ Directory as well as: P A C I F I C / P R A I R I E



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Anthony Rose (left) and Robert Wilder.

Anthony Rose Wilder and Rose RESTAURATEUR OF THE YEAR By Kristen Smith


ince deciding to open his own establishment, chef Anthony Rose has become a bit of an expert on opening restaurants in Toronto. It wasn’t without the help of business partner Robert Wilder, however. The pair launched Rose and Sons in November of 2012 and have opened five other establishments and a catering division under the Wilder and Rose banner since then. Wilder owned a marketing company and a technology company prior to joining the foodservice industry. Born and raised in Toronto, Rose spent time in San Francisco and New York before landing the executive chef position at The Drake Hotel, where he helmed the kitchen for five years. “Drake was amazing and I had a great job. I’m glad I stayed there for as long as I did, but it was just time to move on,” said Rose. “If you had asked me years ago, I would have had my own restaurant by the time I was 30. I had my own restaurant by the time I was 40. In my mind, I felt like I was behind schedule, but it’s just sort of the way it happened.” Rose’s first job was a as dishwasher and he worked in a number of Toronto kitchens before earning his first head chef title at Alias Restaurant in New York. After opening their first restaurant at 176 Dupont St., Wilder and Rose used the space behind Rose and Sons to open a barbecue joint, Big Crow, in the summer of 2013. The following summer, Middle Eastern eatery Fat Pasha opened in the former Indian Rice Factory, also on Dupont Street. In the space behind Fat Pasha, Schmaltz Appetizing opened specializing in Jewish food and fish. In 2015, Wilder and Rose tackled the former Swan Restaurant space on Queen Street West

6 | Ontario Restaurant News

and the long-vacant space at 252 Dupont St., turning them into Rose and Sons Swan and Bar Begonia, respectively. “One thing that seems to be true of all the space that we have — and we’ve been quite fortunate — all of them have amazing spirit to them to do with history,” said Wilder, who visited People’s Foods for years before it became home to Rose and Sons. “Each of the spaces have been amazing canvases for us to allow ourselves and our team to be incredibly creative.” Wilder and Rose’s establishments all have distinct concepts, but a common thread. “It’s all part of my life: something that I’ve either eaten or been or done,” said Rose. When Swan met with some negative reviews, Wilder and Rose decided to bring it more in line with what they were best known for. “Rose and Sons is probably the most recognizable thing that we have and closest to my heart ... So we wanted it to be like Rose and Sons but also have its own flavour,” said Rose, adding it is more like a tavern than a diner. Wilder and Rose work with Toronto-based Palmerston Design, who help them bring the restaurant group’s vision to life. “Part of what we do at all the restaurants is art, whether it’s street art — there’s street art at all the restaurants — we also have a few pieces of my own personal collection at all the restaurants. They are all very personal,” said Rose. The duo credit much of their success to the people they have hired, who take ownership in the restaurants, which operate with a culture of respect. “We have really amazing people,” said Wilder. “That’s the most important thing that we’ve come to realize,” Rose added. At Bar Begonia, Oliver Stern was brought on as general manager and Trista Sheen is heading up the kitchen.

Toronto is a difficult city to operate a restaurant; there are openings and closings all the time. “It’s actually interesting because we wouldn’t open restaurants all the time if we didn’t have people to do it. We’ve got good people that we actually promote from one restaurant to the next restaurant; really it’s for them. Forgetting about my ADD and Rob’s frenetic nature, we’ve found something that we’re fairly good at,” said Rose. “I don’t think we’re the busiest restaurants in town, we’re not the most expensive, we’re not the cheapest, it’s good stuff.” He believes the restaurants are successful due to their simplicity and casual nature. “I’m putting food on the plate that, for the most part, is food you would have eaten growing up,” said Rose. “I hate the word comfort food although it’s kind of what I’m known for, but essentially its very country rustic and that never goes out of style.” Rose works with the executive chefs on menu

development, but said he likes to put the ball in their court. “Most of our suppliers are the same from restaurant to restaurant. We’re very loyal to people who are loyal to us,” said Rose. Wilder and Rose are just now starting to see some benefit from economies of scale, and it’s not always financial. For example, Norman Hardie Vineyard and Winery hosted a Wilder and Rose staff party at the Wellington, Ont., property. Occasionally, suppliers take the time to come in and educate staff about product. It isn’t in the restaurateurs’ natures to slow down — Wilder said they are driven by constantly creating “and a little bit of uncertainty” — but they are taking something of a breather. “We do have some plans for the future, for sure, but in 2016 we’re focusing on catering,” said Wilder. “While we’re working on a book,” added Rose, noting it won’t be a cookbook, but rather about all the elements that go into creating restaurants.

Jamie’s Italian opens at Yorkdale

Vicki Vasiliou

Guacamole Grill gets its start in Barrie BARRIE, Ont. — The creators of Feta & Olives recently launched a new quick service concept, Guacamole Grill. The first location opened in March, three units away from the original Feta & Olives in the Georgian Mall food court in Barrie, Ont., which opened in 2008. The same franchisees, father-and-son team Robyn and Haig Hotoyan, also operate the first Guacamole Grill. The restaurant group has 15 Feta & Olives locations with a handful in development. It recently partnered with Compass Group for the second Guacamole Grill, slated to open in Mississauga, Ont., in January. Co-owner Vicki Vasiliou said Compass originally franchised one of each foodservice concept, but the company purchased a second Feta & Olives after the first opened and exceeded sales expectations. Another Guacamole Grill (cobranded with Feta & Olives) is slated to open in Wasaga Beach, Ont., later this year. Inspired by healthy Mexican fare popular in California, Vasiliou said Guacamole Grill uses fresh products

and makes its sauces in house. “I think the freshness is what distinguishes it from everything else. The guacamole is made fresh daily,” she said. “Our menu is not focused on heavy burritos like most concepts; we have Baja mango and avocado salads, shrimp quesadillas, fish tacos and signature pork that is braised in our ovens for 10 hours.” Vasiliou said the design matches the experience. “We tried to make the design as clean and simple as possible,” she said. The average footprint for a food court, university or hospital location is between 350 and 450 square feet. Vasiliou said the two concepts allow the restaurant group and its franchisees more options in terms of competition. If there is already a Greek concept, a Guacamole Grill can move into a food court. In addition to expanding in Ontario, Vasiliou said they hope to move into new provinces. “I think Calgary’s a great market because people are very active and very healthy. We’d love to do a master [franchise agreement] in Calgary, B.C. and Manitoba,” she said.

TORONTO — The first North American outpost of Jamie’s Italian opened at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto on Dec. 8 through a partnership with King Street Food Company. “We’re trying to be true to the [Jamie Oliver] brand and Jamie’s ethos,” said Nick Kypreos, senior manager of culture and brand development. The international celebrity chef first made his mark as The Naked Chef. He is an advocate for fresh and seasonal cooking, as well as reducing added sugar and childhood obesity. Kypreos was brought on for the project last year, but isn’t new to the King Street team, having spent time with the restaurant group in management positions in the past. The 8,300-square-foot location seats 240 guests with a private dining available in the mezzanine for 24. An outdoor patio will seat 20 guests. Helmed by partners Peter Tsebelis, Gus Giazitzidis and chef Rob Gentile, King Street Food Company brought over head chef Francesco (Frank) Venditti from Bar Buca to run the kitchen at the Jamie’s Italian Canadian flagship. Venditti and the management team spent time in the UK to get a first-hand experience with the brand. In the weeks leading up to the launch, personnel from Jamie’s Italian locations around the world were on hand to support the opening. The menu highlights ethicallyproduced fresh ingredients. The seafood is Ocean Wise recommended and the restaurant’s suppliers are a mix of those developed by King Street Food Company, such as beef from Prince Edward Island, and the Jamie’s Italian international infrastructure. The variety of dishes — which Kypreos describes as “simple and rustic” — include meat and vegetable “planks,” antipasti, pizza, pasta available in two sizes and mains, such as aqua pazza, a pan-fried whole fish

with olives, garlic, wine capers, parsley and plum tomatoes. The pasta is made fresh in-house daily and includes prawn linguini and tagliatelle bolognese, the original recipe of Oliver’s mentor Gennaro Contaldo. While menu items must be given Oliver’s seal of approvable, Venditti does have some input and created the pork and fennel meatball dish, served with arrabbiata and gremolata. The children’s menu is a departure from typical kid’s meal fare, with choices including salmon in a bag with potatoes, green beans and tomatoes, chicken lollipops and seven cheese pasta bake, all served with a “shake me” salad in a jar. The decor was designed with vintage school chairs, a statement wall

of reclaimed wood, leather banquets and mismatched wood and metal tables. Design elements vary slightly between the chain’s 60 locations, but the open kitchen’s line setup is identical for efficiency’s sake. A large space downtown would have been a “no-brainer”, said Kypreos. Instead, Yorkdale was chosen on the proposal of a real estate firm, which suggested there would be advantages to creating a destination accessible to Toronto’s suburbs. The next location is slated to open in 2016 at Square One in Mississauga, Ont. The partnership between King Street and Jamie’s Italian is expected to open at least nine locations in Canada, where the company has exclusive development rights.

The Saucy Pierogi opens permanent location TORONTO – After more than two years operating as a pop-up restaurant, The Saucy Pierogi has found a permanent home. The culinary venture started in 2013, serving pierogies from a tent at events throughout the GTA. “Our plan, the end point, was always to have a restaurant,” said Sonya Hamilton, one of the restaurant’s owners. Hamilton, alongside fellow owners Konrad and Paul Obara, Dan Charron and Noah Parker, decided on a 600-square-foot restaurant as a way to highlight what Polish cuisine has to offer. The menu has grown to include soup, cabbage rolls, schnitzel and a Polish meat board.

“We wanted to be able to do a full menu,” Hamilton said. “We really wanted to showcase more than just pierogies. There is a lot of really good Polish cooking.” The owners found their ideal location in Little Portugal, near Dundas Street West and Dovercourt Road. “This area kind of speaks more to the people that have been coming in,” Hamilton said. While The Saucy Pierogi’s menu is Polish based, the restaurant enhances its eastern European cuisine with its pierogi fillings, featuring ingredients that range from spinach and feta to jerk chicken. “We try to aim for traditional type Polish food with little spins,” Hamil-

ton said. “It’s all sharing style plates. Everything comes out tapas as it’s ready.” The tapas serving size allows guests to comfortably sample the menu’s seven pierogi flavours. “You don’t want to order too much and then have a pierogi coma, which is common,” Hamilton said, noting the average check for two guests is about $40. The 50-seat restaurant features wood tables, vintage school chairs and photos from the owners’ vacations to Poland. “Our designers wanted it to be fun and quirky, but rustic,” Hamilton said. “We want people to come here and feel like they can stay.”

Sonya Hamilton To encourage its patrons to stay for longer periods of time, the restaurant transforms into a bar later in the evening, featuring vodka flights from its collection of Polish spirits. “We’ve had a lot of parties stay until 2 a.m.,” Hamilton explained. Alongside the owners, Chris Searl

has joined the staff as general manager as well as chef Aidan Sebecke. Hamilton explained the goal is to create traditional European food matched with modern, Western style. “That’s what we wanted to go eat, but there’s nowhere like that,” she said. “So we created it ourselves.”

January 2016 | 7

Grand Finales •

By Don Douloff


essert, tea and coffee are crucial to a meal, since they leave customers with the final impression of the overall experience. Done right, highquality end-of-meal components send customers home on a high note. Conversely, sub-par dessert, coffee and tea leave a bad taste in customers’ mouths and could discourage repeat visits. Without question, consumers love dessert, with 63 per cent indulging at least once a week, according to the Dessert Consumer Trend Report published in October by food and foodservice research and consulting company Technomic. While most customers tend to favour standard sweets like cookies, cakes and pies, many seek to finish their restaurant meals with something new, according to the report. The study encourages foodservice brands to strike a balance between traditional and more innovative offerings, such as miniature desserts that appeal to younger consumers ordering them as snacks or a lower-calorie treat. Incremental dessert sales, and thus higher check averages, could result from brands taking risks and putting a new twist on an old standby. “Refreshing the dessert menu can land a restaurant in that sweet spot of appealing to consumers who love to order their favourites, as well as a new set of diners excited about new flavours,” Technomic’s director of consumer insights Kelly Weikel said in a news release. “Brands can’t go wrong

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with a well-executed brownie or sundae, but they could also pile on the incremental sales if they think up different ways to pitch dessert, from an afternoon pick-me-up to a flight of several small treats.” The report reveals that 58 per cent of desserts are purchased on impulse, and 34 per cent of consumers say they are more likely to order dessert if a smaller-portion option is available. Today’s most preferred desserts are brownies (67 per cent), apple pie (65 per cent) and chocolate cake (59 per cent). Among Technomic’s top 500 chains, caramel, carrot and vanilla are the fastestgrowing flavours of baked goods. “Dessert should make someone leave a restaurant just as excited as they were when they arrived,” said Farzam Fallah, pastry chef at Richmond Station in Toronto. Fallah has been Richmond Station’s pastry chef since the restaurant launched more than three years ago and has earned acclaim for his inventive and idiosyncratic creations. For his out-of-the-box desserts, Fallah draws inspiration from an eclectic range of sources — childhood (for example, a favourite candy he ate as a child); music; and art (for instance, a Miro painting influencing a dessert’s shape or plating). Movies also influence Fallah’s work. The 1971 children’s classic Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory inspired his Snozzberry sherbert, built on three inventive flavours (sour apple, grape Kool-Aid and Orange Crush), chosen so “every bite tasted different.”

Restaurateurs are increasingly paying attention to dessert, coffee and tea to boost checks, drive off-peak traffic and create new revenue streams.

In his view, diners are “more comfortable experimenting with the dessert course and trying something new,” giving pastry chefs license to “go wild and creative.” To that end, a late autumn menu featured Fallah’s strudel-crusted apple rollup accessorized with hay ice cream, tobacco caramel and almond figgy pudding. At the time of writing, Fallah planned to leave Richmond Station at the end of December to work in Hong Kong for a year designing desserts for Black Sheep Restaurants, and after that, expects to return to Toronto. “Dessert needs to have that perfect balance between flavour and presentation,” said Connie Law, who has been a pastry chef at Fairmont Chateau Whistler for 15 years. Creating a new dessert is “almost like painting a picture,” said Law. “Sometimes you need contrast, and I am always thinking about the texture. Seasonality, of course, is important, especially with our guests being leisure guests where their trips are so influenced by what season it is. I am also inspired by what is trending in the world of desserts and love to give it that Whistler or Canadian twist.” That includes sourcing products from local farmers in Pemberton, B.C., or talking to suppliers “to see what is new and what is good.” This winter, Law and her colleagues “are focusing on traditional flavours with a savoury twist,” fashioning bars from singleorigin chocolate and pairing them with caramel sauce speckled with salty pulverized popcorn, and partnering a Nanaimo bar with a slice of maple candied bacon.

Pastry Master Class It’s one thing to eat a finished baked good, but it’s quite another thing to see dazzling desserts created right before your eyes by a master patissier. Such was the

No Ordinary Joe “There’s no excuse for serving bad coffee, since most restaurants have the infrastructure (proper machines) in place and it’s just a matter of training staff how to do it properly,” said Ezra Braves, owner of Ezra’s Pound café in Toronto, which roasts beans and supplies them to between 50 and 100 restaurants, cafes and espresso bars.

choices than an excess of mediocre ones. • “With the rise of barista culture, roasts are going lighter and lighter, with tannic structure and complex blends.” • Single-origin espressos (made from one bean sourced from one country) are trending. • Dessert and coffee pair well. Match high-tannin coffees with lighter, fruitier desserts, and full-bodied coffees with chocolate-based desserts.

Ezra Braves’ Steps to Making Great Coffee:

Ezra Braves Intensely passionate about coffee, Braves founded the Espresso Institute of North America Inc. in 2010, providing training and consultation to restaurants, cafes and espresso bars. The message is getting through. Recently, Braves noticed “an upswing of chefs and restaurants making sure the level of coffee is on par with the food and service of the rest of the meal.” Braves noted foodservice outlets “can go from the worst coffee bean to the best cup of coffee” for a cost increase sometimes as low as 5 cents per cup. With that in mind, and with customers paying around $3 to $4 per cup “there’s no excuse for restaurateurs to not spend the money to improve their coffee.” Braves offers the following trends and tips for improving coffee programs: • Simplify the offering. It is better to have a few good

Espresso: Approximately 16 to 18 grams of ground espresso beans extracted with 200-degree water for 25 to 29 seconds. Volume should be around 1 3/4 to two ounces. “Generally these parameters will work with most high-quality espressos.” Espresso-based beverages: Steam in a whirlpool action until the milk reaches between 140-157 degrees. Too hot and the drink will taste bad; too cool and the drink will be sent back. Drip coffee: As a general guideline, use 14 to 16 grams of coffee for every eight to 10 ounces of water, medium-grind setting. As all coffee has a slightly different sweet spot, maybe a little more or little less coffee and a slightly coarser or finer grind might be needed.

Latte art

Johan Martin delicious case at a late November demo held at Toronto’s George Brown College. Pre-

sented by the Chocolate Academy in Montreal and Barry Callebaut’s Cacao Barry gourmet chocolate brand, the demo featured Johan Martin, chef professor at Ecole Gastronomique Bellouet-Conseil de Paris, who held the overflow audience of about 90 in his spell as he revisited and modernized French pastry. Aided by an assistant, Martin worked efficiently, making the production and assembly of these elaborate confections look easy, as only a seasoned pro can do. His Relooked Lemon Tart featured a pate sablee crust enriched with powdered almonds and anchoring layers of silky lemon cream, glossy Italian meringue and razor-thin feuilletine, jazzed with Cacao Barry’s ha-

Relooked lemon tart zelnut praliné, which imparted a slight crunch and nutty backnotes. Even better was the Caribbean, a wicked-rich but feather-light composition of dark chocolate banana soft cake, milk-chocolate cremeux, passion fruit/banana confit and milk-chocolate mousse.

Tea-licious “For so long, tea has been an afterthought. Restaurants would serve a $100 entrée and then serve a 12-cent teabag at the end of the meal. Tea quality has been so poor for so long that tea drinkers have given up.”

Jennifer Commins This according to Jennifer Commins, president of Toronto-based Pluck, which sources premium tea leaves from around the world and blends them, currently counting 80 independent restaurants and cafes as clients. But things are changing in Toronto, where “many restaurants are doing tea better,” said Commins. She views tea as an opportunity to enhance the end-of-meal experience, and emphasized tea is “a hugemargin business” — the cost-per-serving of premium teas ranges from 25 cents to 50 cents, she said. Her suggestions on how to capitalize on this opportunity: • Print a tea menu. This demonstrates that the restaurant is paying attention to its program and also relieves servers of the pressure of memorizing and explaining the list. The menu can also alert customers to allergy issues pertaining to chamo-

mile tea, which is related to hay feverinducing ragweed, said Commins. • Present tea in an attractive box. This “becomes a celebration of tea” and allows customers to smell the offerings. “It’s like bringing a tea shop to the table,” said Commins. • Offer tea and dessert pairings. Commins recommends pairing high-tannin black teas with creamy cheeses, ice creams and crème brûlée; vegetal or toasty green teas with dark chocolate and lighter desserts such as sorbets, flaky pastries and shortbread; and astringent Darjeeling teas with buttery cakes and fruit tarts. She suggests offering six to eight wellchosen teas and said cafés with more elaborate tea programs should offer 12 to 14.

Old-fashioned Earl Grey and vanilla

A standard menu could include an English breakfast tea such as Earl Grey; a green tea made from, for example, pan-fired Chinese or steamed Japanese leaves; a blended green tea; a mint tea; a rooibos variety; jasmine; chamomile; and pu’erh, an aged black tea from China.

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Alix Box Second Cup Ltd.



o stranger to luxury brands, Alix Box is leading Second Cup Coffee Co. in its quest to position the Canadian brand as a more premium coffee offering. She has held the position of Second Cup Ltd. president and chief executive officer since February 2014. “I’ve spent the majority of my 34 years in specialty retail,” said Box, where the focus is on what she refers to as quality experience. “When Second Cup came along with the challenge to transform a brand, I thought ‘wow, this is really exciting’ and it’s almost as if I’ve been preparing for it throughout my career.” Previously, Box was the senior vice-president of retail at Holt Renfrew for about seven years. As well, Box spent a decade at Starbucks Coffee Company, where she held the role of vicepresident of operations and was responsible for 675 stores across Canada. Frank O’Dea and Tom Culligan founded Second Cup in 1975 with the opening of the first location at Scarborough Town Centre. Culligan purchased O’Dea’s shares and, after building it to a 150-store-chain, sold it to Michael Bregman in 1988. The chain changed hands a few more times in its 40-year history including being owned by Cara Corporation from 2002 to 2006, when it sold to Dinecorp Hospitality. Bregman was appointed chair of the board in late 2013, where he sits with former president and CEO Alton McEwen. Bregman, who worked with Box at mmmarvellous mmmuffins and Michel’s Baguette in the 1980s, reached out to her about reinventing the brand. “One of the things that appealed to me was it was a transformative project,” Box said. “My impression of Second Cup was that it had become outdated and not very relevant, yet it had a great past and it had a great foundation,” Box said, noting this includes Second

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Cup’s coffee, passionate franchisees and good real estate. “Both Michael and I were in firm agreement that Second Cup needed to be taken up to a more premium level and [focus on] quality and innovation to really entice the customer that wasn’t coming to try us again,” said Box. She faced a number of challenges and hit the ground running in her efforts to transform Second Cup. “One of the challenges was the company had not been performing well, so from a cultural standpoint, that’s tough for people. Our franchisees were very disheartened because same store sales had continued to degrade over the previous loss and they didn’t have a lot of trust in the company,” said Box. “One of the things that we had to do quickly, I thought, was address some of their concerns.” Second Cup reorganized its Mississauga, Ont.-based Coffee Centre and downsized the head office team from 77 to 53 employees. “We took the entirety of that savings and passed it along to franchisees in the form of royalty reductions, which was a big win and I think showed our franchisees that we were listening and that we were serious about really turning the company around,” Box said. In July 2014, Second Cup added vice-president of operations and coffee experience Chris Sonnen and marketing vice-president Vanda Provato to its leadership team. Although the end goal is to bring Second Cup back to an asset-light model, the company purchased some franchise locations and is refranchising to engaged and enthusiastic new operators. “To propel the brand turnaround, we needed to get some of our stores into the hands of more qualified operators. It’s a really tough thing to do, to take back a store. It’s very expensive to do that, but we were willing to have some short-term pain on that for a much longer-term benefit,” said Box. On Dec. 5, 2014, Second Cup opened its

store of the future at the corner of King and John Streets in Toronto under a new brand, Second Cup Coffee Co. The location at a competitive coffee corner was chosen deliberately, said Box, and the prototype is “outperforming our expectations.” Year-over-year, the unit saw a 43 per cent increase. “The store performed really well and we’re excited because I think we’ve hit something that really resonates with the consumer,” said Box. “We’re seeing a great variety of people in Second Cup.” Designed by Toronto-based II by IV in collaboration with Second Cup, the new look has been rolled out at two Montreal locations, a second Toronto store at the Eaton Centre and a unit in Red Deer, Alta. With a system of 327 stores in Canada, Second Cup plans to bring the new design to new locations and stores scheduled for renovations. The new Second Cup also features coffee innovations, such as a Steampunk brewing system, a local bakery program and a focus on Canadian artists and musicians. In 2015, the company launched a mobile app and rewards program. It also brought elements of the new store, such as the new logo,

menu boards and cups depicting Canadian art, to all its cafes. In October, Second Cup reported positive same store sales for the first time in more than three years. “That’s important when you have transformation — you need to see some progress,” said Box. “Our whole proposition in our three-year plan is to be the best specialty coffee offering with a focus on quality, excellence and the individual customer experience. At the same time, it’s not about being the biggest coffee chain.” Box is excited by the challenge, one of the things she found appealing about the role with Second Cup. “Throughout my career, I’ve been in situations where I’ve been the change agent and in order for change to happen, I think you have to really work together with people, find different perspectives and make sure everyone is aligned on a common goal and I like to do that,” said Box. “I think we’ve been able to come a fair distance in a number of key areas,” Box said, adding transformation takes time. “It’s going to take longer than any of us would like, but it’s going to be doable.”

behind the

Brand From the perfect ingredients to recipe development to kitchen equipment, the relationship between a chef and support from outside the establishment is key to creating outstanding dining experiences.

Rob Feenie, Cactus Club Café When Cactus Club Café begins work on a new location, chef Rob Feenie is tasked with creating a unique menu that corresponds with the brand. “Simplicity is key, which is the hardest outcome to achieve,” Feenie said. “For me it’s working with seasonal ingredients, local produce and producing a dish that people love to eat.” Although Cactus Club has 28 locations throughout Canada, Feenie treats each menu separately. For the recent Toronto launch, the chef created eight new dishes including: Veal and Porcini Pappardelle, Lingcod Cocotte, Duck Confit, Rob’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich, Lamb Medina, Kale and Grilled Chicken Salad, Double Braised Short Ribs and Feenie’s Beef Duo. “We approach each location as a unique restaurant, and for our Toronto launch it was no different — we wanted to make an impactful first impression,” Feenie said. “This was a great opportunity to introduce some beautiful dishes created specifically for Toronto.” When possible, the menu for each location is created using fresh, local and sustainable ingredients. While the menus feature signature dishes based on location, Cactus Club favourites are featured throughout the restaurant chain. “Our menu is a mixture of classics and when we find a dish that works, of course we want to share with all our locations,” Feenie said. In the Cactus Club test kitchen, Feenie works to create reci-

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pes capable of maintaining consistency at all of the restaurant’s locations. From there, he works with the company’s chefs across Canada to ensure the recipes are reproduced with uniformity. “I always like to tell people that if you were to have the Butternut Squash Ravioli with Prawns in Toronto, then hop on a plane to B.C. and have them at our Coal Harbour location, and went back home to Toronto via Calgary and had them at our newest downtown location, they will all taste exactly the same,” he said. Feenie, the first Canadian to win the title of Iron Chef America, joined Cactus Club in 2008. Raised in Burnaby, B.C., he developed an appreciation for international cuisine through dinners at his Japanese neighbours’ home. After graduating from Vancouver’s Dubrulle Culinary Institute, Feenie worked in some of Western Canada’s top restaurants. “I’m always looking to cook simple, beautiful food. I’m particularly influenced by my background with French and Japanese cuisine,” Feenie said. Throughout his career, Feenie has won the Relais Gourmand and Traditions et Qualité designations, the Mobil Travel Guide four-star designation, the AAA Five Diamond Award and two Vancouver Gold Medal Plates competitions. Cactus Club is now working on its 29th location, scheduled to open in 2017 at Sherway Gardens in Etobicoke, Ont. Feenie isn’t sharing his ideas for the latest location’s menu. “You’ll have to wait and see,” Feenie said.

Afrim Pristine, Cheese Boutique Cheese Boutique compares itself to a 10,000-square-foot food museum. If its assessment holds true, Afrim Pristine serves as store curator and archivist. The family-run business, located in the west end of Toronto, carries as many as 550 varieties of cheese, and, in many cases, Pristine is able to explain how and where his product is made, its age and the diet of the animal used for milk production. “It’s not just sustenance. At one point in time it was. Now, let’s look at cheese like a piece of art,” Pristine said. His dedication to cheese has not gone unnoticed. In 2013, at 32 years old, Pristine became the world’s youngest Maitre Fromager, the highest honour bestowed by the French-based Guilde Internationale des Fromagers, a title held by only 50 others worldwide.

“What a Master Sommelier is to wine, I am to cheese,” Pristine said. “Of course it is an honour, but I take it as a duty to share my love of cheese with every customer.” Cheese Boutique supplies some of the GTA’s most notable restaurants, including: The Chase, Bar Buca, Café Boulud, Bar Raval, Oliver and Bonacini and The Black Hoof. “Growing up, food is what we talked about around the dining room table,” Pristine said. “Now I’m working with some of the best chefs in the country, really in the world.” Supplying about 120 restaurants, Pristine talks with chefs all day, seven days a week. “They ask for cheese that’s a great fit for the menu this week, they don’t ask anything more,” Pristine said. “I take pride and honour in selecting the best cheese for that menu.”

Forging the right relationship with a chef is key, according to Pristine. For example, Pristine said he talked to chef Rob Gentile of King Street Food Company three or four times a week to help with menu development. “He’s asking what’s new, what’s in and what’s different. It’s a relationship you develop, that you evolve,” Pristine said. “When a chef and producer are on the same page, magic happens.” To ensure he has the answer to those questions, Pristine spends about an hour and a half each day researching the latest in cheese trends and developments after Cheese Boutique closes. “We try to be trailblazers and find the most unique product out there, and really bring it to the mainstream,” Pristine said. “We’re good at giving people what they want, maybe even before they know they want it.”

Once the right cheese is selected, Pristine will help restaurants train their staff. “I’m telling them the history of cheese, and the history of that particular cheese for a particular dish,” he said.

Hans Sell, Garland Canada It’s common for a chef to kick an oven door shut. While it’s no surprise to kitchen staff, the action is puzzling to the engineers behind the oven’s design. That’s why manufacturers hire foodservice professionals like Hans Sell, who has worked as Garland Canada’s corporate chef for a decade. During the redesign phase of the company’s ranges a few years ago, Sell was presented with the oven door dilemma. After showing the engineers how he uses an oven, Sell proved he wasn’t the only chef incorporating his foot into the cooking process. “I took them to a hotel and they watched the guys open and kick the doors shut,” Sell said. “I test to fail. I also operate the equipment as it would be operated in the industry.” The door was remodelled to ensure it could withstand at least 50,000 kicks without failure. “Engineers live in a bubble in their own world,” Sell said. “They’re thinking everybody will gingerly close the oven door and we don’t,

we slam it. There’s no time to do things gingerly.” Working for Garland requires Sell to become an expert on various products, from pizza ovens to deep fryers. Garland serves as the distributor for Manitowoc — a manufacturer of various brands of foodservice equipment. “It’s a huge portfolio of equipment,” Sell said. Once a product is ready to move beyond field testing, Sell begins training sales staff on the new product’s ability, as well as for what the equipment is best suited. “It’s not just about selling a product, it’s about selling a solution,” Sell said. Consultation and product demonstrations are another aspect of Sell’s role with Garland. “On a normal day I could be working with a major chain improving speed to table with new equipment,” he said. Sell’s duties aren’t limited to Garland’s products. He is also responsible for organizing

the Garland Canada International Chef Challenge, held annually in Charlottetown, P.E.I. “It’s kind of like my baby,” Sell said. “It brings us as a large organization closer to the trenches.” Sell entered foodservice following a childhood in the kitchen. “It’s that typical story, I hung out in the kitchen with my mom,” he said. When the time came, his father registered him in George Brown’s culinary program. “Once I was there I just found my passion,” Sell said. Following graduation he worked at numerous restaurants throughout Ontario, eventually opening his own bistro in the Muskoka, Ont. region. However, restaurant ownership began to clash with raising a family, and Sell sought the stabilized hours offered as corporate chef, eventually landing his position with Garland. “It is probably the best gig in the world,” Sell said. “I tell people I skip to work everyday.”

David Evans, Gordon Food Service Ontario David Evans, corporate chef for Gordon Food Service (GFS) Ontario, ranks a restaurant’s success on a scale from A to Z. “To get to Point A you have to go to Point Z to know the road to go along,” Evans said. His role at GFS, one of the largest food distributors in Canada, is to help the company’s clients navigate that road. Evans, and his customer solution team, assists clients through front- and back-of-house training and food safety training. He also helps operators with recipe creation, plate presentation and menu design, something Evans sees as a key to success. “In today’s modern menu design, an operator needs to draw attention to the things that are profitable,” Evans said. Staying at the forefront of food trends is another way Evans helps his clients ensure their menu delivers what diners expect. “We do a ton of trend research; we look at

everything we can get our hands on. Then we do our own research to make sure we’ve got our finger on the pulse of things,” he explained. To demonstrate this spectrum, Evans said he shows clients items that are outside of their comfort zone, often by taking an existing menu item and presenting it in a new way. His favourite part of the job is getting creative, but noted it has to be within the customer’s expectations and parameters. “If 89 per cent of everything they sell is schnitzel, they’re a schnitzel house. Don’t show them the bao bun. You get a sense from their existing menu,” Evans said. The majority of the customers Evans assists are independent foodservice operators. “A lot of the chain restaurants support their own internal network,” Evans said. “We’re dealing mainly with what we would call our street customers; they don’t have the resources and this provides a value added service.”

On any given day, Evans said he helps one to three operators innovate their offerings. “Every day we have a different customer into our culinary centre,” he said. Evans, an Australian native, was raised in a hospitality-centric town. With a base population of about 3,000, his hometown would swell to 75,000 during tourist season. “That’s the industry there, so I became an apprentice chef,” Evans said, comparing his hometown to Australia’s Muskoka. Joining the hospitality industry opened the door to travel, of which Evans took full advantage. After working in various kitchens around the world, Evans settled in Canada and opened an Australian spice company. “I knew about food distribution and importing, and dabbled in some other food businesses,” Evans said. From there, he opened Pepperberries Bistro, which utilized the ingredients sold through his

spice company. About a decade ago, Evans decided to part ways with his business partner at the spice company and bistro and eventually joined GFS. “This opportunity came about because of my existing knowledge of how the distribution network functions and my culinary ability from a varied career,” Evans said.

January 2016 | 1 3

Scarborough Guild Inn’s return to glory By Colleen Isherwood, Senior Editor TORONTO — First an artists’ colony and then a prestigious hotel, The Guild Inn has been unoccupied since 2001. At a groundbreaking ceremony Nov. 26, Dynamic Hospitality said it would be restored to its former glory. Against the backdrop of the now derelict building, Toronto Mayor John Tory, Paul Ainslie, councillor for ward 43, Sam D’Uva and Piero Suppa of Dynamic Hospitality Group, put shovels to dirt to officially kick off the $20 million restoration and renovation of the historic property. “You have to be old to remember The Guild Inn,” said Mayor Tory. He said for years, Coun. Ainslie had kept the dream of a restored inn alive, and at last, despite regulatory, environmental and historical obstacles, the project was going ahead. He added that it was “smart and sensible to get the best people from the private sector involved,” and he was amazed at how fast it will now happen. Dynamic Hospitality and Entertainment

Jonathan Kearns

From left: Coun. Paul Ainslie, Toronto Mayor John Tory, Sam D’Uva and Piero Suppa of Dynamic Hospitality and Entertainment.

Group will head up the project, which is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2016. Dynamic founders, D’Uva and Suppa, have signed a 40year agreement for the property and have hired Giancarlo Garofalo Architect Inc. and Queen’s Quay Architects International (Q2) as the design consultants for the restoration project. The vision is for a 40,000-square-foot property located on 88 acres, with a multipurpose event space that can accommodate everything from intimate dinners for 10 to galas of 1,000 people. A green-certified building roof, collections of original art and historical artifacts, and restoration of the old Bickford House for a restaurant to be named The Bickford Bistro, are all part of the This derelict building will beome The Bickford Bistro. plans.

The design of The Bickford Bistro will retain the existing fireplace, stairwell, wooden beams and panelling. The restaurant’s dining room area will take up 1,200 square feet. “The Bickford Bistro won’t be pretentious, will appeal to locals and have lots of history,” D’Uva said. “We have a lot of artifacts kept in storage that are priceless because they are part of the old guild artist period. Because there are so many, we will revolve them over time.” D’Uva added they will seek input from community groups regarding the menu, and the price point will be important as well. They plan to be open Thursday to Sunday in the off months, every day during the summer, and to serve Sunday brunch. Dynamic’s managing director Suppa added: “At the time of breaking ground, we already have confirmed bookings for the venue. The demand in the GTA for a distinctive special event venue steeped in history is apparent.”

You’re invited

Inspiration and fresh ideas come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. The Gordon Food Service® Show brings them all together in one place so you can sample the products, discover new tools and technology, as well as learn from trusted specialists and successful operators. We are ready to partner with you to make every plate special, something diners will remember and crave again and again.

TORONTO, March 23, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Toronto Congress Centre, Halls A-B-C For more information contact your sales representative at (800) 268-0159

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Food terrace unveiled at First Canadian Place TORONTO – Canada’s largest office building has a new dining room. First Canadian Place, the 72-storey, 2.8 million-square-foot office tower at 100 King St. West, unveiled its revitalized food terrace on Dec. 7. Renovations of the financial district’s only above-ground food court began in March of 2014. The unveiling was marked with a $25,000 donation to Community Food Centres Canada. “We’re proud our enhanced food terrace reflects First Canadian Place’s dedication to being a valuable and integral part of the everyday lives of those living and working in the downtown core,” said Kevin Hallford, general manager of First Canadian Place. “We have a wide variety of dining options here, from sit down restaurants to fast casual to premium take-out.” The food terrace features 11 eateries, including: Amaya Express, Jimmy the Greek, Maxim, Mucho Burrito, Mr. Sub, Pumpernickle’s, Szechuan Express, Ruby Thai, Tim Hortons and Maman, as well as an entrance to Cactus Club Café. Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Greenhouse Juice Co. iQ Food Co. and Supa are scheduled to open in 2016. “Nowhere in the urban landscape is a food court more strategic than in the heart of the business sector,” said Jonathan Kearns, principal of Kearns Mancini Architects, the company hired to redesign the food terrace. The new design features 1,100 seats, a 30 per cent increase; a pedestrian bridge lining the terrace’s east and west sides; upgraded flooring; a wood-slatted ceiling; additional washrooms and complimentary Wi-Fi and charging stations. “It has great bones, we just needed to reinvent it,” Kearns said. While redesigning the new food court, Kearns explained the Canadian Prairies were used as a metaphor for the project. “The horizontal nature of the space contributes strongly to this idea,” Kearns said. “The ceiling flows and meanders like a prairie landscape.” The design also includes an “expressway” running through the centre of the space, allowing patrons to quickly discover the various food options. “And side streets slow you down until you get into the purchasing lane,” Kearns said. While the food court provides dining options for the financial district, Kearns noted the space is also an incubator for creative interaction. “In the 21st century workplace, the hospitality zone may be the one place where people freely interact, spark and create new concepts for life and for work,” Kearns said.


Hessenland Inn: Making wine in Huron County ZURICH, Ont. — Frank and Elizabeth Ihrig want to help define Huron County as a new wine region. The couple put vines in the ground last year in a half-acre test plot and plan to plant five or six acres in the future. Frank is quick to point out his family’s Hessenland Country Inn isn’t the first to grow grapes in the area, with nearby Maelstrom Winery in Seaforth, Ont., and Alton Farms Estate Winery (in Lambton County) already producing wine. Dark Horse Estate Winery is being built east of Grand Bend, Ont., and is slated to open next spring. Frank’s parents, Ernst and Christa Ihrig opened the inn in 1984, and he and his wife got involved in operations in 2001. Frank is a chef and Elizabeth has previous hospitality experience with Starwood Hotels and Resorts. The 20-room inn has extensive gardens, dining room seating for about 75 guests and banquet facilities for functions of up to 180 people. In the kitchen, Frank focuses on his family’s European heritage using local lake fish, meat and vegetables from a nearby grower. “We do focus on a lot of the traditional German dishes with a bit of a twist as far as how we present them and how we prepared them,” he said. Over the next couple years, plans include re-

Frank and Elizabeth Ihrig.

placing what was paddock with vineyard on the 40-acre property. “We see it as a good fit to what we’re already doing,” Frank said. “We’re not planning on becoming a huge winery long term … We really do want to create our own terroir.” He said he’s not trying to compete with wineries in other regions, but help create a new one by producing “wines unique to the area.” In the micro-vineyard, there is Cabernet Franc, Frontenac Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, Marquette and German white wine grape Siegerrebe, also known as Victory Vine. The task is to determine the best varieties for the soil and climate. “There has been a lot of research done by the county,” said Frank, adding while data has been collected on grape growing, only a handful of Huron County property owners have put vines in the ground. With rather extreme winters, plans include hilling up over the grafted sections. “We’re going to see what Mother Nature is going to dish out at us,” he said. “We do have the benefit of being very close to the lake; we’re about 400 to 500 metres from the shores Lake Huron.” Frank expects to pour Hessenland’s first vintage in 2018.

Glenfiddich recreates its original Straight Malt DUFFTOWN, UK — The recipe behind the first single malt exported from Scotland is once again available in Canada. Dubbed The Original, Glenfiddich has released a replica of its Straight Malt, a spirit made available to the world in 1963. “There were single malts available at the time, but we were the first distillery to actually launch a single malt on a global basis,” said Elizabeth Havers, Canadian brand ambassador for Glenfiddich. “We took a chance and brought the single malt the rest of the world.” In honour of William Grant, who constructed the Glenfiddich Distillery by hand in 1886, malt master Brian Kinsman recreated the Straight Malt following a recipe found in one of the distillery’s 1960s ledgers. Grant’s greatgrandson, Sandy Grant Gordon, would promote the single malt recipe outside of Scotland, starting in the United States. A sample of the Scotch from 1963 was used to ensure The Original is an exact reproduction. “It’s distinctly Glenfiddich, but it is pretty unique,” Havers said. Staying true to 1960s processes, The Original is aged in sherry casks, creating flavours of fruit including the distinctive pear flavour associated with Glenfiddich. “With The Original, it’s more of a citrus. It’s quite vibrant and it’s a very lively whisky,” Havers said. “Anytime you get a fruit note it’s typically been aged in a sherry cask. Vanilla and

chocolate notes are from bourbon casks.” Today, blended whiskies account for about 90 per cent of the Scotch category. In the mid1900s, single malts were almost non-existent. “I don’t think people realize how young of a category the single malt is. It wasn’t until 50 years ago really that people started experimenting with single malts,” Havers said. “Blends were king. It wasn’t really until the ’80s that single malts became predominant, to an extent.” In Canada, 18,000 bottles of The Original were released. While the majority of the release is available through the LCBO, liquor stores in Vancouver and Calgary also acquired the single malt. “Every two years or so we bring out a limited edition,” Havers said. “Once they sell out, they become quite sought after.”

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Safe Food Canada unveils education strategy TORONTO – Safe Food Canada The Learning Partnership (SFC) held an official launch event and panel discussion at Cirillo’s Culinary Academy on Nov. 27. The non-profit organization — a collaboration between industry, government and academia — aims to create a standardized framework for learning about food safety and protection. “[This] means basically creating a blueprint and a set of curricula that people would follow to become food safety or food protection professionals,” said SFC president and chief executive officer Brian Sterling, who came onboard in August. “Right now, there isn’t a standard … For example, HACCP 101, you can take that from any number of organizations and they’ll all be a little bit different,” he said. “With a whole bunch of things [going on] globally, not least of which is the changing regulatory environment in North America, this was an ideal opportunity to kind of do a reset so that we could actually start to train and educate food professionals in a consistent way to a consistent set of standards to a specific set of competencies that are re-

Sylvain Charlebois (left) and Ted Bilyea. quired.” The idea is to make training more cost efficient and more effective, said Sterling. “The mandate is all about food safety and food protection learning, but we’re not trainers. We actually work through our partners to do the training,” he said. Partners include associations, such as the

Food Processing Human Resources Council, GFSR, universities and colleges and private training providers. The discussion panel included Canadian Food Inspection Agency president Bruce Archibald, Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute chair Ted Bilyea, Maple Lodge Farms chief

executive officer Michael Burrows, and Sylvain Charlebois, professor at the University of Guelph Food Institute. SFC announced its strategy, founding sponsors and contributing partners who serve in an advisory capacity: the Canadian Meat Council; the U.S. Grocery Manufacturers Association Science and Education Foundation; Maple Leaf Foods; the University of Guelph’s Department of Food Science; and the World Bank’s Global Food Safety Partnership. SFC recently completed a study of industry spending and return on investment for food safety training in Canada, the results of which are expected to be published in early 2016. The organization is partnering with the International Food Protection Training Institute and other businesses to create a publicly available specification for training design and content. SFC is tackling the subject of food protection, which in addition to food safety, brings food defence, food security and sustainability into the discussion. “We’re trying to change the language a little bit,” Sterling said, adding new lingo must be adopted internationally.

Russell Food Equipment heads into new chapter

Scott Cherevaty Champion Industries, a manufacturer of commercial warewashing systems, announced in early December the appointment of Scott Cherevaty to the new position of vice-president and general manager for Moyer Diebel Ltd., which includes the Champion Moyer Diebel and Bi- Line brands for the Canadian market. In his new position, Cherevaty will be head of sales, service and administration as well as help develop and implement strategic plans in the Canadian market. Cherevaty began working for Champion in 2004 and has worked as director of sales and vice-president of sales.

VANCOUVER — Following its acquisition, Russell Food Equipment has integrated its operations and is building its executive team. The Vancouver-based foodservice supplier was founded by Ken Russell and maintained its family ownership for more than 70 years. Private equity firm Blue Point Capital Partners took over on Sept. 1. A sheet metal worker, Russell purchased Quest Metal Works in 1938 and in 1944 started the food equipment company to sell Quest’s fixtures and cooking equipment. He grew the company by adding other restaurant supplies, including some exclusive product lines. When Russell passed away in 2000, his sons took the reins, with Don Russell moving into the president role for Russell Food Equipment and Dave Russell taking the lead at Quest. The brothers have stepped away from the business, but were retained on contract for a time during the transition. While there will be no staff changes at branch level, Russell has added a chief financial officer Lena Bullock and is adding to that

department. “We will be expanding the admin team in the next several months,” said national manager Randy Speck, who manages the sales and distribution side and has been with Russell for 40 years. Roy Cuddeford, who has 45 years with the company, was named national manager on Sept. 1 for the Quest manufacturing division, which has two Winnipeg plants and one in Vancouver. Speck and Cuddeford report directly to Blue Point Capital Partners executive chair Mike Kane. “[Blue Point] understands what makes us special and what makes us successful,” said Speck. Russell’s company structure, data collection and reporting lagged behind best practices, as is often the case with companies that have grown and expanded over several decades, particularly under private ownership, explained Speck. “That’s what [Blue Point] brings — they bring management expertise and almost all of it is behind the scenes to help us operate more efficiently,” he said.

Russell operated as five separate companies and had individual databases at its 14 branches across Canada. As of Nov. 1, all its operations — including manufacturing — fall under Russell Food Equipment Limited. “That opens up tremendous opportunities for streamlining and restructuring,” said Speck, who expects more behind-the-scenes changes early next year. “Definitely you’re going to see an enhancement in customer service and consistent distribution across the country as we consolidate all our systems and our business together. It’s a pretty exciting time from the company point of view.” In a news release, Blue Point stated its investment in Russell is focused on operational strategies and growth organically and through acquisition. “There is tremendous opportunity in the foodservice industry,” said Speck. “You’re going to see all good changes moving ahead, and certainly, we’re going to be positioned for growth looking ahead as well — that’s all part of the plan.”

Grand River Foods embarks on $13 million expansion in Cambridge CAMBRIDGE, Ont. – Grand River Foods’ Cambridge, Ont. facility is undergoing its fourth expansion within the last decade. The $13 million expansion, which began in October, will increase the processing plant’s cooking capacity and its 100,000-plus square foot floor space by 25 per cent. The expansion is expected to be complete and fully commissioned by February 2016. “We quickly realized we would have to do something sooner rather than later, and started planning last year,” said John Mann, senior vice-president of sales and marketing. The Cambridge processing plant opened in 2004 as Grand River Poultry. Today, the com-

1 6 | Ontario Restaurant News

pany manufactures more than 200 private label chicken, beef, pork and vegetarian products for Canadian grocery stores, restaurants and foodservice companies. All four of the company’s expansions have increased its production capabilities by 25 per cent. The previous expansion was completed in late 2012. “We knew we would need about three to five years to get that maxed out,” Mann said. The $13 million investment also includes the purchase of new equipment to increase efficiency and allow new product development. “It definitely will be the latest generation of equipment, which is like buying a new car, you

get more bells and whistles on it,” Mann said. “We’re trying to do more with our existing customer base, and add value.” The expansion will also add a marginal employment increase to the company’s existing 350-person workforce. “I don’t know what the number will be, but we will add staff, which will help the local economy, it depends on what the product mix will be,” Mann said. Grand River’s new development is supported by a $1.3 million investment from the Ontario government’s Southwest Ontario Development Fund. Mann explained the provincial investment supported the company’s long-term

goal to continue operating in Cambridge. “(The funding) was not a deciding factor. It just helped us maximize what we could do with the building,” Mann said. “We’ve got a great labour force here and it’s established now. It’s definitely something we didn’t want to change.” The province continues to accept applications for the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund from qualified businesses that are growing and creating jobs. The fund has provided more than $75 million to businesses in the last three years. The program covers about 10 to 15 per cent of eligible costs, with the successful company funding the remainder of the project.


McDonald’s launches standalone McCafés

Feb. 4: Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals (CAFP) Top Management Night Gala Dinner, The International Centre, Mississauga, Ont. Feb. 20-21: The Franchise Show, Toronto Congress Centre, Toronto. Feb. 27-March 1: Canadian Society of Club Managers National F&B Conference, Fort Garry Hotel, Winnipeg. Feb. 28-March 1: Restaurants Canada Show, The Enercare Centre, Toronto. March 1-2: Canadian Restaurant Investment Summit (CRIS) and Canadian Restaurant Operators Summit (CROS), Hilton Toronto Hotel and Hockey Hall of Fame, Toronto. March 6-8: Seafood Expo North America, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. March 8-10: International Pizza Expo, Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas.

John Betts, president and CEO of McDonald’s Canada. TORONTO — Another step in McDonald’s brand evolution, the company opened its first standalone McCafé in Union Station’s York Concourse on Dec. 9. The bright, 1,100-square-foot space has a small seating area and is accented with wood decor and brass pendant lights. McDonald’s began to reinvent its coffee program in 2008. Three years later, the McCafé brand was launched with the introduction of espresso-based beverages. According to the company, McDonald’s coffee sales have tripled and the brand has more than doubled its coffee market share.

With charging stations for mobile devices, Wi-Fi and self-order kiosks, the new concept focuses on coffee and espresso-based beverages, as well as fruit smoothies (introduced in 2012), its recently expanded bakery items, the McMuffin lineup and bagel sandwiches. The menu also includes some new sandwiches and salads, such as an apple brie and honey croissant, grilled cheese on multi-grain bread, quinoa edamame mandarin salad and kale and Brussels sprouts salad with mixed vegetables. The menu is a mix of hot prepared food and grab-and-go items. According to menu director Anne Parks, the

focus of the food program is on items that pair well with the beverages. “The menu is really exciting; it’s a true caféstyle menu, which is what we were looking for with this brand,” said Parks. McCafé growth platform lead Catherine Crozier said guests are looking for more access to McDonald’s coffee program as well as a café experience with a menu anchored in breakfast, snacking, lunch and grab-and-go options. “That’s the inspiration, to really provide a complete café experience that we found is highly incremental to our regular restaurant experience,” said Crozier. Since McDonald’s core burger menu is not on offer dominating kitchen space during lunch and dinner, McCafé locations are able to serve all-day breakfast. “Because of the dedicated menu that’s really focused on café expectations, we’re able to do the toasters, the eggs all day long,” Crozier said. Targeting commuters and on-the-go professionals, the concept allows the company to move into footprints smaller than its 5,000-squarefoot McDonald’s locations. “This allows us to really build the brand in a footprint where our traditional restaurants couldn’t go. So hopefully, infill much more in the busy urban corridor,” said Crozier. A second, 1,600-square-foot location opened in early January in the Exchange Tower at First Canadian Place with 19 seats. “There has been a lot of development behind this and we built this to be a scalable concept. We’re confident in the concept, but how it’s going to roll out, we’ll wait and see,” Crozier said.

March 23: Gordon Food Service Show, Toronto Congress Centre, Toronto. April 1-26: 2016 California Wine Fair Tour. Stops in Ottawa (April 8); and Toronto (April 11).

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April 5: Flanagan Foodservice Annual Tradeshow, Kitchener Show, Kitchener Auditorium Complex. April 8-10: Toronto Food & Drink Market. Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto.

Montreal The North American food exhibition where restaurants come to get inspired

April 12: LocalFare Tradeshow (Manitoba Restaurant & Foodservice Association), RBC Convention Centre, Winnipeg.


April 13-15: SIAL Canada Show, Montreal Convention Centre, Montreal.


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April 16: The Franchise Expo, Hamilton Convention Centre,

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April 22-24: Waterloo Region Food & Drink Show Kitchener, Ont. April 24-27: Terroir Symposium, The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.

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January 2016 | 1 7


What to expect this year McCormick predicts 2016 flavours LONDON, Ont. — McCormick & Company unveiled its annual Flavour Forecast of emerging trends, including a spotlight on less explored Southeast Asian fare such as Malaysian and Filipino. “We really see those as upcoming cuisines,” said McCormick executive chef Kevan Vetter. Generated by a global team, these are McCormick’s emerging trends and flavours for 2016 and beyond: Heat and tang — Spicy finds a welcome contrast with tangy accents to elevate the eating experience. Examples: Peruvian chilies such as rocoto, ají amarillo and ají panca paired with lime; or sambal sauce made with chilies, rice vinegar and garlic. Tropical Asian — The distinctive flavours of Malaysia and the Philippines draw attention from “people looking for more adventurous cuisine” said Vetter. Examples: popular Filipino street food pinoy barbecue is flavoured with soy sauce, lemon, garlic, sugar, pepper and banana ketchup; and rendang curry, a Malaysian spice paste, delivers mild heat made from chilies, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, tamarind, coriander and turmeric. Blends with benefits — Herbs and spices add versatility to good-for-you ingredients. Examples: matcha’s slightly bitter notes are balanced by ginger and citrus; chia seed becomes zesty when paired with citrus, chili and garlic; turmeric can be blended with cocoa, cinnamon and nutmeg; and flaxseed enhances savoury

dishes when combined with Mediterranean herbs. Alternative pulse proteins — Packed with protein and nutrients, pulses are elevated when paired with delicious ingredients. With the UN celebrating 2016 as the International Year of the Pulse, “We thought this was really the right time to bring pulses forward,” said Vetter. “It’s such a broad world.” Examples: pigeon peas, called toor dal when split, are traditionally paired with cumin and coconut; and cranberry beans, also called borlotti, enhanced with sage and albariño wine. Ancestral flavours — Modern dishes reconnect with native ingredients, such as mezcal, amaranth and ancient herbs, such as thyme, peppermint, parsley, lavender and rosemary. Culinary-infused sips — Three classic culinary techniques provide new tastes and inspiration in the creation of the latest libations: pickling combines tart with spice for zesty results; roasting adds richness with a distinctive browned flavour; and brûléed ingredients provide depth with a caramelized sugar note. In the past, chefs and mixologists worked together for pairing. “Now we’re starting to see some mixologists using culinary techniques,” said Vetter. “Globally, this year, McCormick is launching 56 new consumer products inspired by Flavour Forecast trends, and we’re working with our customers — from chain restaurants to beverage and snack producers — to help them do the same,” Vetter said.

McCormick forecasts ancestral flavours: hominy fritters.

McCormick forecasts heat and tang: Peruvian chicken.

12 months of Oktoberfest CHICAGO — Technomic has released its predictions for Canadian foodservice trends in 2016. The food research and consulting firm sees these buzzworthy items and restaurant trends making an impact in this year. Oktoberfest all year — Canadian diners are embracing the Bavarian fall festival year round. There’s mounting consumer interest in comfort-heavy German fare, such as artisanal sausages, beer cheese soups and soft pretzels. New ethnic niches flourish — Ethnic food and drink is trending towards the more adventurous, moving beyond now-familiar street foods to include lesser-known specialties found at the food carts, kiosks, pubs and food halls of far-flung lands. This movement speaks not just to authenticity, but also to sincerity of flavour experiences and culinary heritage. All-in on adult beverage innovation — Smoky and bitter flavours, ultra-sour liqueurs and herb-infused spirits spark creativity behind the bar. Beer cocktails and “winetails” reveal the versatility of beer and wine. And the hard cider trend will spin in new directions: expect “hard” soft drinks, especially spiked root beers and ginger ales, to capture the spotlight next. Workforce squeeze — The strict moratorium on temporary foreign workers, coupled with newly enacted penalties for noncompliance, will have a disproportionate impact on restaurants. So will the rise in minimum wages. The slow-coffee movement — The everyday cup of java is becoming more refined, as forward-thinking cafés are taking coffee to

the next level. Cold brews, single-origin coffees, limited bean batches and “pour over” techniques are being heavily promoted to emphasize unique, robust flavours and higher quality.

From our southerly neighbours CHICAGO — The National Restaurant Association’s annual What’s Hot culinary forecast predicts food and menu trends for the coming year. The NRA surveyed nearly 1,600 members of the American Culinary Foundation to determine the hottest menu trends for 2016. Topping the list of food trends is locally sourced meats and seafood, with locally grown produce and hyper-local sourcing in the third and fourth spot, respectively. In second place is chef-driven, fast-casual concepts. Rounding out the top 20 food trends in order are: natural ingredients/minimally processed food, environmental sustainability, healthy kids’ meals, new cuts of meat, sustainable seafood, house-made/ artisan ice cream, ethnic condiments and spices, authentic ethnic cuisine, farm/estate branded items, ancient grain, ethnic-inspired breakfast items, house-made sausage, house-made pickles, food waste reduction/management and street food. The survey saw a 20 per cent increase in respondents who reported African flavours are on the rise over last year. New to this year’s top trends survey are chef-driven, fast casual concepts (No. 2), fresh/ house-made sausage (No. 17), home delivery meal kits (No. 33), protein rich grains and seeds (No. 36), and small plate menus/restaurant concepts (No. 61).


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The Canadian Restaurant Operators Summit (CROS) will focus on boosting operational knowledge, and will run at the same time as the 7th Annual Canadian Restaurant Investment Summit (CRIS) which covers investment and real estate trends. CRIS/CROS will follow the Restaurants Canada National Show with an opening reception held March 1st at the Hockey Hall of Fame followed by conference sessions on March 2nd at the Hilton Toronto Hotel.

Ed Khediguian GE Capital Canada Bruce McAdams University Of Guelph Bill Gregson Cara Operations Limited Paul Rivett Fairfax Financial Holdings Amanda Lang Bloomberg TV Canada Derek Doke Franworks Group Of Companies Donna Dooher Restaurants Canada Robert Carter The NPD Group Jean BĂŠdard La Cage Brasserie Sportive Michael Von Massow University Of Guelph Ron Caughlin BRAND > eD Allan Dick Sotos Jennifer Dolman Osler Grant Kosowan Orange National Retail Group Inc. Tom Gaglardi Northland Properties Corporation Mo Jessa Earls Restaurants Ltd. Jeff Dover fsSTRATEGY Ken Otto Cara Operations Limited Michael Glen Laurentian Bank Securities Mike Cordoba Empresario Capital Partners Sean Morrison Diversified Royalty Corp Todd Jones GE Capital Chris Elliott Restaurants Canada Darcy MacDonell FARMHOUSE tavern & The Daughter Michael Horowitz Minden Gross LLP Larry Weinberg Cassels Brock & Blackwell



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