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estaurant News R July 2014 Vol. 29 No. 6





$ 5 . 9 5

Power to the


Michael Bowyer and Susan Carr.

Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 40010152

By Jonathan Zettel, assistant editor

hood are hungry, we figured out we’re going to have to feed people,” Bowyer HAMILTON, ON—Along a strip of told ORN. “So we kept coming back boarded up and rundown storefronts, to food and I thought, ‘What about a a new restaurant has opened with the restaurant?’” mandate to empower local residents. Customers can pay it forward The 541 Eatery and Exchange by purchasing buttons for a dollar, opened on June 20 on Hamilton’s which can be used by those who canBarton Street East and will provide not afford food or drink: one button fresh sustainable food at an afford- equals one dollar. The Eatery sells coffee for a dollar and a full breakfast of able price. Co-founder Michael Bowyer said two eggs, bacon, potatoes and toast the project took about six years to de- for $5. A roast beef or chicken dinvelop after he and a team considered ner with potatoes and vegetables is APPROVAL REQUIRED several options to help the communi- priced at $4. Bowyer said the menu The enclosed proof is sent for your approval. We will not proceed with the job until the proof is returned. NOT GIVE CAREFULLY! is designed so that nothing stays in ty,DO which heVERBAL said isINSTRUCTIONS. in an area CHECK known Beyond this point we cannot accept responsibility for any errors. Alterations (other than typoerrors) will be charged extra. Mark proof “OK” or “OK with corrections” as the case may asgraphical a “red zone” due to its high levels the building for more than two days, be, signing your name so we may know that the proof reached the proper authority. of poverty. with last night’s dinner being used for SIGNATURE OF APPROVAL DATE sandwiches the following lunch. “Because people in the neighbour-

The restaurant will run under a for-benefit business model, putting all profits back into the business and has five staff members and a team of volunteers who run the daily operations. Nearly all of those involved live within walking distance of the building. “If the neighbourhood isn’t involved, they don’t own it,” Bowyer said, adding nearly 15 different community groups from the city have helped with the process. Executive director Susan Carr will handle the human resources side of operations. James Peters will chair the steering committee and help with fundraising. Continued on page 6










The art of sandwiches Deconstructing the portable meal.




Felix DeCata Jennifer Murphy

905.361.3608 905.361.4836 The 50 Years of Boston Pizza design, Boston Pizza and the Boston Pizza roundel are registered trademarks of Boston Pizza Royalties Limited Partnership, used under licence. © Boston Pizza International Inc. 2014.




10" × 2.875"


APR - 2014








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Ground Beef Pizza Crumble topping

Perfect portion sizing on pizzas

Photos from left: Tom Antonarakis, Market Street Catch. Ian Paech, Evolution Food Co. Jyoti, Binida and Michael Kapil, Bindia Indian Bistro.

A lasting legacy on Market Street TORONTO—Eve Lewis completed her late husband’s vision for the re-development of Market Street, which features eight retail and restaurant spaces, located on the west edge of the St. Lawrence Market. At the official unveiling of the Tastes of Market Street in early June, Lewis presented the Paul Oberman Walk, named for the late real estate developer, who died in 2011. “Five years ago, when Paul assembled this street—four different properties—it was largely abandoned and derelict,” said Lewis, chief executive officer of Woodcliffe Landmark Properties. The project involved the restoration of a row of heritage buildings, replacing asphalt with cobblestone and an expanded, curb-less sidewalk. Anchored at the north by the renovated LCBO on Front Street and the south by a twostory restaurant Pastizza, Market Street’s new residents are independent restaurateurs and retailers. Pastizza is slated to open at the corner of Market Street and The Esplanade in mid-July. The 5,000 square foot restaurant seats 70 on the main floor and 60 upstairs. The restaurant’s two patios will seat about 100 more patrons. Co-owner Paolo Paolini, a founder of Splendido and Mistura, teamed up with Thomas Baker, proprietor of Thomas George Estate Winery, for the Italian eatery. Pastizza will feature about 20 varietals, including exclusive creations from the California winery. A 30-foot-tall, custom-made chandelier will hold about 600 bottles. The bar list also in-

cludes about a half dozen artisanal cocktails. “We’ll do pizza with interesting toppings,” said Paolini, adding the crust will be crisp and light with a good crumb. He said that the crust has to stand up to the weight of the ingredients, which include a pizza topped with mixed mushrooms, truffle oil, arugula and fontina cheese. The large open kitchen boasts an Italgi pasta machine and pasta station, for the eight house-made pastas including Paolini’s mother’s lasagna, ravioli, and casarecce noodles with clams in a yellow tomato sauce with crushed chilies. Olive and Olives, Toronto’s second outpost of the Montreal-based gourmet goods retail store, and Bindia Indian Bistro were two of the first to open on Market Street, opening near the end of last year. Named for co-owner Michael Kapil’s sixyear-old daughter, Bindia takes a modern approach to Indian cuisine. Kapil’s brother-inlaw, Vik Mohan, is co-owner and executive chef. Market Street Catch opened in April and is run by Tom Antonarakis, owner of Buster’s Sea Cove in the St. Lawrence Market. It offers a variety of seasonal fish from the market as well as fish tacos and lobster rolls. “Being from an island in Greece, I grew up around the sea. So I have a real passion for seafood,” he said. Barsa Taberna opened on May 23 in a space originally built in the 1850s. The 3,200-square-foot restaurant has an open kitchen and 41 seats in the dining area. The dining room area seats 45 and the patio

seats another 65. Toronto-based executive chef Michael Smith, who previously worked at C5 and The Gladstone hotel, created a menu of “worldly tapas,” which Barsa partner Aras Azadian describes as sometimes infusing the techniques and flavours of multiple cuisines. Azadian drew inspiration for the concept from his time in Barcelona. The décor, marries the heritage of the space and its original stone archways with modern art. Evolution Food Co. was founded by Ian Paech on the belief that food should both taste good and be good for you. The fast casual eatery opened in early June, offering handprepared meals with a focus on whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables. Evolution’s menu includes a selection of smoothies and cold-pressed juices, housemade almond milks, a Greek yogurt bar, breakfast bowls and customizable salad boxes. Market Street is also the newest location for Balzac’s Coffee Roasters, the local coffee roasting company’s eighth café. The Market Street redevelopment project was designed by Michael Taylor of Taylor Smyth Architects and executed by Den Bosch + Finchley, with heritage work by Goldsmith Borgal. Taylor said he thinks Market Street is like stepping into a European cityscape. Goldsmith Borgal principal Christopher Borgal called the redevelopment an asset to the St. Lawrence area. “It adds quiet elegance to that neighbourhood and gives people a sense of the heritage value there,” he said in a release.

Industry fires back at TFWP overhaul OTTAWA—The federal government has announced changes to the temporary foreign worker program (TFWP), ending a moratorium placed on the foodservice industry in April. Minister of employment and social development Jason Kenney and minister of citizenship and immigration Chris Alexander made the announcement on June 20, stating that the changes will bring the program back to its original intent as a limited resource to fill labour shortages on a temporary basis. “Our government has been clear that Canadians must be first in line for available jobs,” Kenney said in a statement. “These comprehensive and balanced reforms restore the TFWP to its original purpose: as a last and limited resource for employers when there are no qualified Canadians to fill available jobs,” he said. Under the new rules, employers in places with high unemployment will not be allowed

to hire foreign workers in the foodservice and retail sectors. Companies will also have to reapply annually to hire TFWs, instead of every two years, and the cost will rise from $275 to $1,000 per employee. Garth Whyte, president and chief executive officer of Restaurants Canada, called the program “a no-win situation” under the new rules. “We appreciate the TFW program will be technically available, but are concerned by the impact of these changes on our members, their employees and their customers,” Whyte said in a statement. “In areas of the country where restaurant owners cannot find enough Canadian workers, there will be business casualties that will put Canadians out of a job,” he said. Restaurants Canada said the new changes will make the program unavailable or costprohibitive to many of its members and is urging the federal government to develop a national labour strategy to alleviate key problems with the job market.

Paul Meinema, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW Canada), called the TFWP “broken”. “[The] announcement does nothing to change a system that still allows irresponsible employers to exploit workers with impunity,” Meinema said in a statement. “There is no long-term strategy here. This is merely an additional bandage on a broken system,” he said. The government also announced it will introduce stronger enforcement and penalties for companies who misuse the program and fund two surveys to be conducted by Statistics Canada to develop a better understanding of the Canadian labour market. According to a government statement, the cost of administering the program will be entirely paid for by the companies using the program, and not the taxpayers. Last year, more than 200,000 temporary foreign workers sought employment in Canada.

Famous Pepperoni, Salami, Donair and Gyros products.


Coming next issue... Day in the life A look at how people in different facets of the food chain spend their day.

Local, organic and sustainable What these mean to the foodservice industry and the restaurant’s role in driving food awareness and policy.

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Com m e n t

The best things in life aren’t free

Editorial Director Leslie Wu ext. 227 Senior Contributing Editor Colleen Isherwood ext. 231 Assistant Editor Jonathan Zettel ext. 226 Assistant Editor, Digital Content Kristen Smith ext. 238 Senior Account Manager Debbie McGilvray ext. 233 Account Manager Kim Kerr ext. 229 Production Stephanie Giammarco ext. 0 Circulation Manager Don Trimm ext. 228 Controller Tammy Turgeon ext. 237 How to reach us: Tel (905) 206-0150

Publisher Steven Isherwood ext. 236



ould you pay more than $6 for a single ice cube? More importantly, would you be comfortable charging your customers that price? In what was probably an inevitable next step in the evolution (or convolution) of cocktail culture, a company in the U.S. is claiming that its “luxury ice” offers a superior experience for the diner due to a slower melting rate and “zero-taste profile,” all for the price of US$325 per bag. Setting aside the mockery of journalists around the world (“By the time our photographer finished taking pictures of it, it had melted. So now what we have is a bag of water. But it’s luxury water,” wrote the Miami Herald), products such as this one raise the bar on what can command a premium price tag from today’s consumer. As ice, bread, water and other accoutrements to the table undergo continuous upscaling, there’s a corresponding reduction in what diners of previous generations would have considered a free part of the dining experience. In today’s market, restaurateurs are taking a renewed look at what customers are willing to pay for the promise of premium, thanks to

Although van Gameren rightly points out that even free items are often rolled into other operating costs, the free versus paid debate ultimately comes down to two factors: what the restaurateur considers to be an essential part of the dining experience, and what the customer expects when they sit down. After all, bread on the table was to previous generations (and critics) as essential to the place setting as forks, but today’s diners are being met with charges for water, apps to make reservations, and menu listings where one can buy the kitchen a round of drinks. Perhaps, by moving away from the traditions of yesterday’s table, we’re also shifting away from that traditional sense of hospitality versus service. “Service is the technical delivery of a product,” wrote restaurateur Danny Meyer in Setting the Table. “Hospitality is how the delivery of that product makes its recipient feel.” By focusing too much on what is free, perhaps the true cost for hospitality is what ultimately gets overlooked.

rising food costs, minimum wage increases, waste avoidance and other economic factors placing pressure on a restaurant’s bottom line. While many restaurants won’t go to the extent of a water sommelier such as the one at Los Angeles eatery Stark Bar, when charging for bread, some restaurateurs argue that they can provide an artisanal lavash or brioche that appears to be miles away from a store-bought dinner roll. In cases such as these, a charge for a house-made breadbasket may offset some of the additional labour costs that go into that formerly free offering. In some restaurants, where chef/owners have heavy influence over both the menu and expenditures, there’s a different perspective: that diners shouldn’t get bread because it will suppress both their appetite and the average expenditure. “It’s not really to get the most money out of the customer, but we have numbers that we require to keep the business alive,” said chef Grant van Gameren from Toronto’s Bar Isabel to The Grid writer Karon Liu. “If our cheque average drops $10 per person because they filled up on bread, we’d be kind of screwed. The situation is never as black and white.”

Leslie Wu Editorial director

Editorial advisory CounCil Mickey Cherevaty Consultant, 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 29 No. 6 Ontario Restaurant News is published 12 times a 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

Bi t s Jamie Oliver is moving in TORONTO—British chef Jamie Oliver has teamed up with King Street Food Company to open the first North American location of Jamie’s Italian. The restaurant is scheduled to open in the spring of 2015 at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto. “Canada is a place very close to my heart,” Oliver said in a release. “When I tasted the menu at Buca and found that we had the exact same ideas in mind, I knew I had found the right guys to kick start this exciting project with.” King Street Food Company’s portfolio includes Toronto’s Buca and Jacobs & Co. Steakhouse. The U.K.-based Jamie’s Italian restaurants already has eight international locations, including Hong Kong, Sydney and Singapore. According to a release, the Toronto location will be “a relaxed way of enjoying and sharing dishes with family, friends and loved ones,” and will feature pasta, pizza, an antipasti station with cured meats and an open kitchen.

a nd

Bit e s

industry, which has more than $39 billion in annual sales.

Dairytown to merge with Agropur Cooperative

Canadian icewine wins

SUSSEX, NB—The producer-members of New Brunswick’s Dairytown Products Ltd. approved their organization’s merger with Agropur Cooperative on June 2 by more than a 99 per cent majority, with a turnout of more than 80 per cent. Dairytown, a producer of butter, skim milk powder and custom milk powder blends for retail and foodservice, employs 189 people and has 206 beneficiaries, all of whom are New Brunswick dairy producers. Having obtained all regulatory approvals, the merger of the two organizations was scheduled to close on June 30. Dairytown chairman, James Walker is enthusiastic about the merger and the opportunity to build on each organization’s strengths in Atlantic Canada. “We are pleased to join other milk producers who share our vision and values,” he said in a release. Agropur president Serge Riendeau compared the deal to last years’ merger between Agropur and Farmers Cooperative Dairy, allowing the organization “to pool our processing assets and to keep them all in the hands of our producer-members to ensure the sustainability of our co-operative.” Agropur chief executive officer Robert Coallier said the competitive landscape is changing. “With better control of our milk supply and increased processing capabilities, Agropur will be better positioned to serve its customers at a nation-wide level and that, for the greater benefit of its producer-owners,” said Coallier. Founded in 1938, the co-operative employs 6,300 people and has 3,348 dairy producer owners. Agropur processes more than 3.3 billion litres of milk per year in its 31 plants across North America and produces brands such as Natrel, OKA, Farmers, Agropur Signature cheese, Central Dairies, Agropur Grand Cheddar, Sealtest, Island Farms and iögo.

LONDON—Inniskillin Wine Estate’s 2012 icewine has received the International Trophy for Best Sweet Wine Over £15 per bottle at the 2014 Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) held in London, Britain in late June. The wine was produced by vidal grapes and is the first Canadian icewine to win an international trophy at the DWWA. “This Decanter Trophy validates the work of Canadian icewine producers and reinforces the reputation of icewine as one of the world’s great iconic wines,” Tony Aspler, DWWA regional chair for Canada, said in a release. This is not Inniskillin’s first medal at the DWWA. Last year, it won bronze medals for its 2008 vintage vidal icewine and vidal oak-aged icewine from Niagara. The winemaker also won silver for its 2008 cabernet franc icewine. Only 33 international trophies were awarded at this year’s DWWA, with more than 15,000 wines tasted.

New branding for processors alliance

Local Public heads to Ontario

BEAMSVILLE, ON—The Alliance of Ontario Food Processors announced at its annual general meeting on June 25 that the association will now be called Food and Beverage Ontario. “2014 to 2015 will be a period of growth in leadership and value for the organization,” chair Norm Beal said in a statement. “This sector is a powerful economic engine in Ontario.” The transformation will allow the group to respond to emerging issues within the food and beverage industry and implement recommendations from a recent industry report. “We will continue to improve the focus on building networks, developing programs and influencing decision-makers in a way that contributes to success for our members,” executive director Steve Peters said. The group speaks on issues and concerns within Ontario’s food and beverage processing

TORONTO—Local Public Eatery is opening its first Ontario location in Toronto’s Liberty Village. The 3,400-square-foot restaurant is set to open in July and will offer the surrounding neighbourhood a casual dining option. “We want it to be very comfortable and social; a place where people can come and hang out like a home away from home,” general manager Cheryl Conn told ORN. The restaurant will hold 120 seats inside with an 80-seat patio. Conn said the bar will feature signature cocktails served in a glass boot, rotating draft taps and several wine options. Chef Kial Venter will head the back of house team, baking buns in house daily for handpressed hamburgers. The menu will also offer small tapas-style sharing plates. The brand has four other restaurants in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Medicine Hat, AB.

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Photos courtesy of the NRA.

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NRA Show 2014

Left: The NRA show floor. Middle, top: Chef demonstration with Barbara Lynch. Middle, bottom: The Foodamental Studio’s Malaysian cuisine class. Right: Alternative Bitestyle section.

CHICAGO, IL—Investment and interaction were themes throughout the 95th annual National Restaurant Association (NRA) Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show this year, with a new financial summit and hands-on area for chefs to experience different cuisines. “People like different levels of engagement: a good portion of our audience liked to be taught in the classroom, some like demos, et cetera,” Mary Pat Heftman, executive vicepresident, convention and strategic alliances for the NRA, told ORN. “We wanted to appeal to those who want to get into the middle of things.” The show and the concurrentlyheld International Wine, Spirits and Beer Event (IWSB), which took place in late May at Chicago’s McCormick Place, saw 63,876 registrants this year—an increase of two per cent

from last year and up 10.5 per cent from 2011 levels. Canadian visitors were up 15.5 per cent from 2013, said Heftman. With visitors from across the U.S. and more than 100 countries, increases occurred in the dealer/distributor category (nine per cent) and lodging (12.9 per cent). From Beyond Zero’s freezable ice cubes made from wine and liquor to Schmacon’s beef strips, there was a trend toward seeing traditional products done in non-traditional way, said Heftman. A big release on the show floor was the Pepsi Spire, a self-serve option for restaurants that comes up against Coca-Cola’s FreeStyle machine. Gluten-free and allergy-conscious dining remained a popular segment for restaurateurs to diversify into, as well

as do-it-yourself options for guests in areas such as dessert, said Heftman. “There’s no silver bullet,” she said. New to the show this year, the Foodamental Studio allowed 50 participants at a time to learn how to take food photos, make Malaysian food, pickle, butcher and brew in-house sodas through more than 20 trendbased classes. In terms of equipment, labour and energy efficiencies still remained a priority. Space considerations and speed of cooking with an improvement in product are becoming areas for equipment manufacturers to consider, said Heftman. “Think about food trucks and pop ups, and the change to what a foodservice outlet looks like today,” she said. “We’re seeing how operators are taking advantage of nontraditional

Capped bottle

It’s freezing in here

The new, handmade Glacier bottle from Libbey Foodservice features a clear clamp-top lid and an organictextured outer surface. The one-litre bottle is designed for hotel buffets and room service. According to the company, the product allows operators to “capitalize on today’s trends while also balancing the operational needs of their establishments.”

The MBCTM4-F countertop freezer adds to the Fusion Series line for Master-Bilt. The machine includes adjustable thermostat and three adjustable shelves. Fluorescent lighting provides product illumination and the heated door perimeter is a double pane of tempered glass with self-closing magnetic gaskets for lower operational cost.

The Combo Cart Plus Electric keeps food hot inside. According to the company, the high-density polyurethane insulation throughout the machine can keep food warm for up to four hours without needing to plug in. The product is available in two sizes: tall with two separate compartments or a smaller single-compartment size.

High-tech cooker

Clean up time

Rational has announced the release of the SelfCookingCenter 5 Senses, calling it an intelligent cooking system that communicates with the chef and learns as it goes. The machine uses sophisticated sensors that can recognize size, load quantity and condition of products to calculate appropriate browning.

Moyer Diebel has introduced the MD44 conveyor ware-washing machine, which washes 219 racks per hour using 130 gallons per hour and .59 gallons per rack. Built-in diagnostics troubleshoot machine problems and an anti-jam feature shuts conveyors down. The electronic booster can be adjusted for a 40- or 70-degree rinse.

All in one oven Combine a convection oven, kettle, steamer, fryer, smoker and dehydrator with the latest from AltoShaam. The CTPROformance Combitherm Oven helps expand menu offerings through a wide range of versatility. An innovative design includes a large touch screen and the machine includes the ability to determine precise humidity to optimize food quality, texture and yield. Also, the CombiSmoke feature allows for operators to smoke products whether they are hot or cold.

Contoured Carving Station This chrome-plated, heavy-duty steel-framed station by Vollrath features a clear tempered glass breath guard and a knife-friendly dishwasher safe NSF Certified cutting board. Two 250-watt infrared bulbs fuel the station’s lighting.

Some like it hot Cambro has launched an addition to its line of insulated transport products.

In another changeup, there were two keynote speakers this year, with Earvin “Magic” Johnson discussing the importance of customer understanding and engagement and a state of the industry address by Dawn Sweeney, president and chief executive officer of the NRA, who spoke with Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, Groupon chief exectutive officer Eric Lefkofsky, and Google head of industry for restaurants Jennifer Wesley. As a result of exhibitor square footage and number of exhibiting companies both increased this year and to accommodate growing demand, the NRA Show will expand into the Lakeside Center in 2015, joining the International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event in the East Building of McCormick Place. The 2015 show will take place May 16 to 19.

spaces to see what they can bring in as an additional revenue stream.” Those operators looking for investment tips checked out the inaugural Restaurant Finance Summit, held during the NRA Show on May 19. Jonathan Tisch, chairman of Loews Hotels and Resorts, kicked off with a keynote about job growth opportunities in the hospitality market and tips for leadership and management. “It’s the first year that attendees will have the opportunity to evaluate all aspects of their business’s financial success from lending options to legal, tax, operations, and supply chain issues,” Dave Koenig, vice-president of tax and finance for the NRA, said in a release. Sessions included tips on restaurant financing and lending, and legal, tax, operations and supply chain issues.

NRA PRoducts 1.


On display


The Counter Mount DCS from Hatco has been designed to permanently mount on any counter or shelf to provide operators with a display for chef stations. The decorative lamp pivots 30 degrees to accommodate heating and presentation of a variety of products. The mount comes with a 250-watt bulb and in three styles: bright brass, bright nickel and antique bronze. 1. Libbey Foodservice Glacier bottle. 2. Rational SelfCookingCenter 5 Senses. 3. Alto-Shaam CTPROformance Combitherm Oven. 4. Cambro Combo Cart Plus Electric. 5. Master-Bilt MBCTM4-F countertop freezer. 6. Moyer Diebel MD44 conveyor ware-washing machine. 7. Vollrath contoured carving station. 8. Hatco Counter Mount DCS.

4. 6.

8. 7.


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Fatburger heads east to Ontario By Kristen Smith, assistant editor THORNHILL, ON—Fatburger Canada continues to move east, making its first stop in Ontario in late May with the opening of a 40-seat, 1,600-square-foot Thornhill, ON, location. Frank Di Benedetto, the Fatburger franchisor for Canada, and chief executive officer of Frankie’s Burger Enterprises and the Ricky’s All Day Grill chain, said the brand is committed to growth in Ontario. He said Fatburger has a strategic “slow and steady” growth plan, which includes more locations in Ontario, bringing the brand to the Maritime Provinces and, hopefully, Quebec. Fatburger and Buffalo’s Express serves up six-ounce burgers made from fresh, lean beef, hand-pressed Angus beef prepared before the customers—lettuce is sliced to order. The chain also offers veggie burgers and rosemary and sage-seasoned turkey burgers served with cranberry sauce. The Buffalo’s Express co-branding also brings chicken wings, boneless wings and southern U.S.-style, hand-battered chicken tenders to the menu. The premium fast casual eatery sells milkshakes, and is licensed to serve beer and margaritas. Average check across the chain is about $13. Fatburger Canada has established its restaurant base in British Columbia, with the first opening in 2005 in Vancouver’s West End. Over nine years, Fatburger Canada, owned by Ricky’s Family Restaurants, opened about 40 locations in Western Canada and the Prairie Provinces. The controlling company also has about 100 full-service restaurants in its portfolio. Di Benedetto said 17 new eateries will be opened this year between the two brands. “Next year, we will do the same. In fact, next year, the number might be a little higher than that,” he said, adding the company is


541 eatery serves up empowerment Continued from cover

Frank Di Benedetto.

already committed to opening a dozen Fatburgers and seven Ricky’s in 2015. One of the new locations, a corporate training centre, is slated for the Greater Toronto Area, which will serve the franchising efforts in Ontario and the Maritimes. Fatburger and Ricky’s recently brought on Toronto-based franchise development professional Jeff Young to spearhead the eastern franchise expansion efforts. Di Benedetto said there are six variations of the brand including a high-pedestrian foot traffic urban model, food court model, and the signature model, which ranges from 2,000 to 2,400 square feet and might be found in a major shopping centre area. With a flexible footprint, Fatburger locations have on average between 52 and 60

seats and new opens receive a site-specific design. “Every Fatburger that we open and design has it own distinct colour board,” said Di Benedetto. There are some common design elements such as a black and white mural of the original Fatburger location in south Los Angeles, which was opened in 1948 by founder Lovie Yancey and her husband and called Mr. Fatburger. When they divorced a few years later, Yancey took down the honourific and carried on with the business. The African American entrepreneur was an appreciator of good tunes and musicians frequented the original Fatburger, which is represented in new locations by loud music and wall murals paying homage to past and current artists, said Di Benedetto.

The building, which has been abandoned for about two decades, used to house a Bank of Montreal. “It just sort of represented a lot of places in Hamilton—neglect,” Bowyer said. About 100 volunteers helped renovate the space, which includes exposed brick, hardwood floors and large windows that let in an abundance of light. A mishmash of wooden chairs, and a long pew make up the seating, with a long wooden table as the room’s centerpiece. Bowyer said the restaurant’s first goal was to do 50 covers for breakfast and lunch and 30 covers for dinner. “We need that much revenue to put the money back in to feed families affordable meals at night,” he said. “And that’s worked for us.” The restaurant offers three six-week courses in culinary, custodial and hospitality studies and will help train residents, write resumes and find permanent work. “All of us are good at something, the problem is sometimes we have to do things we aren’t good at,” Bowyer said. Bowyer—who has a long resume of culinary experience and is also a minister with the Compass Point Bible Church—said he has travelled extensively to research ways to prepare fresh, sustainable local food. The restaurant is applying for its charitable status and will also apply for a grant through the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Bowyer said a blank cheque isn’t necessarily the best way to go and that fundraising must involve the community in order to instill a sense of empowerment. Currently, the 541 team is helping a group in Ottawa create a similar restaurant and have their sights set on other Hamilton locations. “The idea is we want to be able to do this in any community,” Bowyer said. 541 Eatery and Exchange, 541 Barton St. E., Hamilton, ON, (289) 389-0541, @541Barton,.

Historic Billy Bishop terminal to become restaurant

There’s new life for the Terminal A building at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

TORONTO—A group of chefs, designers and private investors announced on June 3 plans to turn the historic Terminal A building at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport into a restaurant and event space. Built in 1939, the 8,000-square-foot building was decommissioned in 2010 when the new terminal opened. Toronto businessman Alexander Younger is representing a group of private investors involved in the restoration and renovation project. The investors will be working with chef and restaurateur Lynn Crawford, Ruby Watchco executive chef Lora Kirk and designers and television personalities Sarah Richardson and Tommy Smythe to redesign the space, which will also include an aviation museum and an area for pilots. “We want to recreate that charming feeling of the building when it was built in the 1930s,” said Younger, according to the National Post. “We really want to celebrate the heritage of both the islands and also the airport.” According to the National Post, the terminal building, which will be moved closer to Hanlan’s Point Ferry, is expected to open by spring of 2016. Younger said the restaurant, which will of-

fer healthy, local options “will not be fancy” and hopes it will become a destination for both Toronto residents and tourists. “Terminal A is an important part of Canada’s rich aviation history and we are pleased to be giving this building a new lease on life,” said Geoffrey Wilson, Toronto Port Authority president and chief executive officer. “As a pilot who has flown my own aircraft, for business and leisure, out of Billy Bishop Airport for 30 years, I know firsthand that there is a passionate and engaged community of aviators who will welcome the opportunity to preserve this historic building and have a space that can serve as a base of operations as well as a social hub,” Younger said in a release. “With Sarah Richardson, Tommy Smythe, Lynn Crawford and Lora Kirk also onboard for this exciting project, this building is sure to become a destination for Torontonians and visitors alike looking for good food, interesting architecture and a best-in-class view of the city.” According to the release, specific plans and timelines for the project are being determined and will be communicated in the coming months. Artist renderings of the project show a restaurant/bar on the first floor and a lounge and event space on the second floor.

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Rideau Centre amps up its foodservice Left: Green Rebel eatery. Middle: Rebranded dishware. Right: Rendering of the new dining hall at the Rideau Centre.

By Leslie Wu

space formerly occupied by an Elephant and Castle, the Rideau Centre is currently without a sit-down restaurant, said VanBuskirk. Although the restaurants were still being signed at time of press, VanBuskirk confirmed they will fall in the premium casual category. In addition to the three restaurants, U.S. retailer Nordstrom will also open a Nordstrom’s Café in its Rideau Centre space in March 2015. Last redesigned in 2001, the new dining hall will reflect the Rideau Centre’s location in the nation’s capital in everything from the design elements to new dishware. Designed by Montreal-based firm GH+A, the “urban and contemporary” dining hall will feature a mix of seating areas and styles, such as tables, bars and banquettes, as well as theatre-style, large open concept kitchen spaces in each of the units, said VanBuskirk. “The design isn’t overt, the way it was before,” said VanBuskirk. “We used the bronze

OTTAWA—Following ambitious upscaling and revamping of food courts across the province in the last few years, the Rideau Centre is the latest shopping centre to update its foodservice options with a $20-million budget to create a new dining hall opening on Aug 1. As part of Cadillac Fairview’s $360-million Rideau Centre redevelopment, the 35,000-square-foot space will encompass 16 eateries, a common area, 850 seats and a renovated back of house with a new scullery, Rideau Centre general manager Cindy VanBuskirk told ORN. The previous food court had 11 units and 500 seats. Apart from the dining hall, the new foodservice options will also include three fullservice restaurants slated to open throughout 2016. After the closure of the Exchange Pub and Restaurant last fall, which operated in a

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maple leaf design from the floor of the old hall to make a massive piece of art on the wall in the corridor. People who know the Rideau Centre will know where those pieces came from.” In keeping with the local theme, homegrown business such as health-focused eatery Green Rebel and grilled cheese restaurant MLT DWN are setting up shop in the new food court. “For some of these businesses, it’s their first on-the-go opportunity. It’s interesting for them to see how their format might have legs in other Cadillac Fairview opportunities,” said VanBuskirk. These smaller businesses—Rideau Centre will be Green Rebel’s fourth location and MLT DWN’s second one—will join larger national brands such as Subway, New York Fries, KFC, Jimmy the Greek, Crepe De Licious, Umi Sushi Express, Thai Express and A&W, as well as mid-sized chains such as Toronto-based Big Smoke Burger, Shanghai 360 and Amaya and

Quebec-based Grillades Torino and Place Tevere. In the back of house, VanBuskirk estimated that $1.3 million was spent on dishes bearing a new deconstructed maple leaf design, as well as revamping the scullery area to include more than 100,000 reusable dishes, 20,000 glasses and metal cutlery. A ventless Hobart AM select dishwasher was added for washing glasses and cutlery, and a Hobart FT1000D energy recovery flight-type dishwasher for washing dishes and trays. For pulping food waste into organic/ compost material, Rideau Centre also purchased a Hobart WPS-1200 Waste PRO waste equipment system. In addition to the equipment, the changes necessitated adding staff. “From a cleaning and recycling perspective, the change to reusable items will mean quadrupling the back and front of house staff, from four staff members to around 25 people, adding attendants, runners, supervisors and others,” said VanBuskirk. Opening after the Cadillac Fairview’s Urban Eatery in the Toronto Eaton Centre has provided some lessons and experience, said VanBuskirk. As a shopping centre in a downtown core, Rideau Centre also operates with a diverse customer base, mixing a younger audience and a large tourist demographic with business people. “They say it’s dangerous to be all things to all people, but given that we are an urban mixed-use development, it’s important that we offer a range to satisfy a wide variety of people,” said VanBuskirk. “It's also been instructional for us in terms of costs and inventory to see what they’ve done: where are there efficiencies and where we can reduce cost,” she said. “We won’t really know for certain until Aug. 1 when we pull back that curtain.”





Restaurant News

A U.S. survey* found that 88 per cent of restaurant customers agree that your restroom’s cleanliness reflects the hygiene standards of the whole restaurant—including your kitchen and food prep areas. Is it time to improve your washrooms?

June 2014 Vol. 29 No. 5


Mother’s is back

Mother’s co-owners Geeve Sandhu and Brian Alger.

By Jonathan Zettel, assistant editor

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Restaurant News June 2014 Vol. 20 No.3




No tipping at B.C. restaurant GROWING NEW IDEAS AT TERROIR


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The kitchen’s only freezer is a small chest freezer for ice cream. KITCHENER, ON—Nostalgia was Sandhu said he and Alger located on the menu as the second Mother’s an original franchise owner who Pizza Parlour and Spaghetti House showed them the original sauce recfranchise opened in Kitchener on ipe and how the dough was prepared, May 5. which requires double proofing and Co-owners Brian Alger and Geeve 24 hours to make. The menu also Sandhu began revitalizing the brand includes spaghetti, panzarottis and in 2013 with the opening of a loca- salads. tion in Hamilton, ON, and plan to The brand—known for its 1920’s continue expansion by at least one ambiance including gingham tablecloths, parlour-style pizza served on store per year. “We’re going to offer terrific value, a pedestal and Tiffany lamps—had great service and, above all, incredible more than 120 locations across Canada, the U.S. and Britain. In the midfood quality,” Sandhu told ORN. APPROVAL REQUIRED According toapproval. Sandhu, Mother’s ‘80s, the franchise went public and in the enclosed proof is sent for your We will not proceed with the job until the proof is returned. DO NOT GIVE VERBAL INSTRUCTIONS. CHECK CAREFULLY! makes as wemuch asresponsibility possible in-house 1989, Little Caesar’s bought the comBeyond this point cannot accept for any errors. alterations (other than typographical errors) will be charged extra. Mark proof “OK” or “OK with corrections” as the case may pany. Locations began closing in early from itsnameoriginal recipe dough be, signing your so we may know that the proof reached the properand authority. sauces, to granola and Italian sausage. in the ‘90s. Signature Of apprOval


Alger said he grew up with Mother’s pizza as staple of his childhood and bought the rights to the brand the early 2000s. He and Sandhu—who owns three pubs and was previously a regional director for Jack Astor’s— joined forces in 2011. While the duo admitted nostalgia for the brand will bring many people into the restaurant, it will be important to provide an enjoyable experience to keep customer’s coming back. “Our service, our execution, and affordability—all of those things— must be real core principals for us to really excel,” Alger said. Michael Richardson of the Toronto-based design firm Jackknife designed the newest 150-seat restaurant. A glass case holds old, original memorabilia and photos. Other throwback shots of the brand, including a Polaroid of Alger’s 11th birthday at Mother’s, line the walls. “There’re just iconic elements that Mother’s shared, and anything we can do to bring that back in, I’m all for it,” Alger said, adding the restaurant would continue the tradition of giving a free dessert and taking Polaroids for birthdays and will also sponsor local sports teams. “One of the things that really made Mother’s was the way they were able to ingrain themselves in the community. We have old photos of kids whose T-ball team was sponsored by Mother’s or their hockey team,” he said. To open the Kitchener location, the city’s mayor Carl Zehr choose toppings for the “K-dub-ilicious” pizza from which $2 of each sale will go to children’s programs at the Kitchener public library. 4391 King St. East, Kitchener, ON. (519) 219-4999,



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June 2014 Vol. 16 No. 3




House of



Top 50 Chains Report


Smoke ‘N Water staff.

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14 2014

Top 50 Chains Report



PARKSVILLE, BC—A Vancouver Island restaurateur opened what he is calling Canada’s first no tipping restaurant on June 2. David Jones, owner of Smoke ‘N Water, said the business model that includes tipping is broken and does not work for restaurants. “We want to be innovative, we want to create a transformational shift on the business model of how restaurants are run,” Jones told PRN. Jones said, although a handful of restaurants across the U.S. have no tipping policies, no Canadian restaurants currently prohibit the customary practice. The practice of tipping, according to Jones, creates disparity of wages between front of house and back of house employees. “We’re drawing a line in the sand and saying it stops right here,” Jones said. “No longer will a woman working in the back of the house … for thirty years, be a single mother with an 11-year-old son and be paid $11.50

with no medical or dental. That’s not OK.” Jones said he plans on paying “a living wage” to both cooks and servers and will factor labour costs into menu prices. He said operations is budgeting the cost of labour at 30 per cent and considers his business model one of profit sharing. An additional two per cent of gross sales will go to provide dental and medical care to all employees and one per cent of sales will go into a social fund, of which the use will be determined by staff on a monthly basis.According to Jones, the practice of tipping makes for difficult management situations, citing incidences when servers provide excellent service yet receive a poor tip. “How does that make you feel as a human being?” Jones said. “How do I, as an owner, tell my server to shake it off?”

Reconsider tipping models Jones said he got the idea of banning tips in his restaurant after listening to University of Guelph professor

of tourism and hospitality Bruce McAdams on CBC Radio. McAdams—who has more than 25 years experience in the restaurant industry—has researched the effects of tipping and has been a proponent of rethinking tipping and creating a dialogue around the subject. “The biggest thing is probably the inequity of wages it causes between the front and back,” McAdams told PRN, noting servers can make up to $30 per hour while cooks and dishwashers make between $10 and $14 per hour. This inequity, McAdams argues, causes real financial consequences for operators because the industry has a high employee turnover. Culinary students coming into the industry leave after a couple years because they are living paycheck to paycheck and some servers come into restaurants to make as much money as possible then leave. McAdams estimates it can cost up to $1,500 to train a new employee. McAdams said over the past 15 years, operators have tried to balance

the wage disparity by having servers tip-out to the house. Unfortunately, he said, this practice causes trust and transparency issues and puts restaurants in a high-risk situation with the Canadian Revenue Agency because tips collected from servers are “controlled tips” and must be taxed. The practice of tipping also makes it difficult for restaurants to hire mangers, McAdams said, because managers often make less, have more responsibility and work longer hours than servers. McAdams said tipping has the ability to influence quality of service, but not as much as one might think. McAdams said, some restaurants may try a no-tipping policy, boost prices and not pass along the revenue to staff. “You have to try and have faith in the marketplace and you hope that people will move to places where they are treated properly,” he said. According to McAdams, Canadians tip $6 billion annually.

Executive chef Erin Henry.

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Continued on page 3

Craft beer at Burger King in new YMM terminal FORT MCMURRAY, AB—Burger King and Subway will serve Canadian craft beer as part of the foodservice at the new Fort McMurray airport terminal slated to open on June 9. Both QSRs will be located presecurity in the terminal’s food court. “Obviously, it is one of the first in Canada but I think it’s becoming the trend going forward and it’s usually specialty craft beers that are being sold,” Jim Meyer, senior director of airport business development at SNC-Lavalin Inc., told PRN. Meyer said QSR liquor sales are taking off in the U.S., with some fran-

chises selling wine. The terminal will also house two full service restaurants. Earl’s Kitchen and Bar will be found post-security and provide customers with features unique to the airport location such as grab-and-go options and a breakfast menu. Pre-security, located near the terminal’s main entrance, Famoso will open its first airport location, offering Neapolitan pizza, salads and a full bar. Along with Burger King and Subway, a Tim Hortons and a Mary Brown’s Chicken and Taters make up the remainder of the food court,

while a Jugo Juice and a Starbucks are located post-security near the Earl’s restaurant. The Starbucks location is a new concept for the company and has 20-foot, floor-to-ceiling windows. Meyer said a survey of customers was taken over three years to determine how to best support demand and found the airport had very long dwell times ranging between an hour and a half and two hours. “We also found that the average income was over $189,000, which is more than double the Canadian average, so they had a lot of cash in their jeans to spend on products,” said

Meyers, adding many travellers are coming from remote camps as part of the oil sands development projects and have not had a chance to spend money in some time. “We tried to align the selection with what the customer was telling us,” he said. A large percentage of the foodservice is pre-security, which Meyer said goes against current airport trends. This was done because of long dwell times, to provide easy access for terminal employees and promote the use of an outdoor courtyard. Continued on page 3

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CHARLOTTETOWN—At Row House Lobster Co., seafood—especially the namesake crustacean—is the star of the show. Named for its Victoria Row location, the restaurant opened May 5 at 146 Richmond St. in Charlottetown in the space formerly occupied by Castello’s Ristorante & Pizzeria. “The concept really was to take a product and a category that we think Prince Edward Island and Charlottetown should be known for, and build on that with a high-quality food ex-

perience,” owner Chris LeClair told ARN. ARN The dinner menu for the 52-seat restaurant (which has an additional 40 seats on the patio) is organized into small plates, lobster dishes, signature mains and land and sea entrees. Executive chef Erin Henry, who studied at the Culinary Institute of Canada and has about 12 years of kitchen experience, met LeClair while running his self-serve frozen yogurt shop Berry Healthy. “We would talk all the time about food and food concepts. At one point Erin said to me, ‘It sounds like you are really interested in owning, not a


frozen yogurt shop, but a restaurant.’ I said: ‘Oh, absolutely. Would you be interested in being the executive chef in a restaurant?’ She said: ‘Absolutely.’ The conversation went from there,” recalled LeClair. “We have a lot of really great products on P.E.I,” said Henry, noting the Island has fantastic quality lobster, potatoes and dairy, in particular. “Just those three ingredients can be put together to make some pretty amazing stuff.” She said the idea behind menu creation was to showcase P.E.I. products—such as beef and chicken from farms 25 minutes away, mushrooms


from St. Peter’s Bay, PEI, and blue mussels from Borden-Carlton— without overshadowing them. “As the weather warms up, all our produce will be [sourced] from down the road as well,” said Henry. Henry said Row House has all the staples one might expect, such as chowder and lobster rolls, which are served on Charlottetown bakery Buns & Things’ rolls, but the menu also features items such as tempura lobster lollipops and lobster tacos. Oysters Rockefeller are baked with double-smoked bacon, wilted spinach, Pernod Anise and aged cheddar crust. The artisan cheese board is served with house-made preserves. The church supper dinner is a platter with a whole lobster, a halfpound of steamed mussels and a cup of chowder, served with lemon, butter and a side dish. Henry also makes cioppino, a seafood stew with lobster, mussels, halibut and haddock in a garlic tomato and fennel broth. First cook and pastry chef Marliese McGee had a hand in creating the dessert menu, which includes vanilla bean panna cotta, served with lemon curd, berries and a shortbread cookie. Working with Ottawa-based McTavish Design and local interior designers The Ottoman Empire, LeClair said renovations opened up the 1,000-square-foot space. “The look that I tried to achieve in the restaurant is what I’m calling rustic elegance,” said LeClair. The back wall is made of horizontal barn boards, there are chocolate brown hardwood floors, honey-coloured banquettes and tables made from reclaimed wood with brushed metal bases. Continued on page 3

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Top 50 Chains Report


Taking a bite out of Cape Breton By Jonathan Zettel, assistant editor

The Bite House location.


* Survey by Harris Interactive for SCA Tissue North America


Restaurant News

BADDECK, NS—A Cape Breton chef is inviting tourists and locals over to his house for dinner. On June 4, 26-year-old chef Bryan Picard opened The Bite House, an intimate, 10-seat restaurant inside his home, 11 kilometers outside the village of Baddeck, NS. “It just made sense because the house is big and I don’t need all this space,” Picard told ARN. It took four or five months to obtain all the necessary permits to open the 250-square-foot dining room inside his personal residence, which Picard said was the hardest part of the process. Guests can choose from a threecourse menu for $35 or a five-course meal for $50.

“It’s going to be kind of informal but the food will be very high top quality, which is what is important,” Picard said. “It’s more like a few people come to my house and I cook for them.” Picard said the menu will rotate and depend on what is seasonally available. For the opening menu, he prepared smoked trout, snow crab, and braised beef and served rhubarb and wild strawberries for dessert. The Bite House also offers a selection of Nova Scotian wines and craft beer from Big Spruce and Uncle Leo’s Brewery. Picard said he has no plans to open a larger restaurant someday and joked the business expansion plan might be to go from 10 to 12 tables. “I think smaller is better,” he said. “I moved out here to have a more sus-

tainable lifestyle and I think doing it in my home and growing the veggies is on the path toward self-sufficiency.” Prior to opening his own restaurant, Picard worked for two years at the Chanterelle Country Inn at the North River Bridge on the Cabot Trail. Picard studied at the l’Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Quebec in Montreal. Picard has a large herb garden, a smaller vegetable garden and some chickens for eggs, but will purchase the bulk of the restaurant’s supplies from local-area farmers. The Bite House is named after Picard’s blog, a collection of simple, home-style recipes featuring Maritime ingredients. 1471 Westside Baddeck Rd. (902) 3221436,


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A new season for Savour Stratford Festival this year

Friends of We Care cheque presentation.

Friends of We Care Gala MISSISSAUGA, ON—Friends of We Care capped off its annual gala in late May with a cheque for more than a million dollars presented to Easter Seals Canada. The event, held at the International Centre in Mississauga, ON, gathered 920 attendees from the hospitality industry to celebrate Friends of We Care’s 31st anniversary. The attendance target next year, Friends of We Care executive director Kevin Collins told ORN, is 1,000 people. “The collective contribution of the industry is amazing,” he said. The Gary Wright Humanitarian Award, named after the founder of Friends of We Care, was presented to David Abrams for his contributions to the organization and his humanitarian efforts toward ensuring the success


TORONTO—This year, the annual Savour Stratford Perth County Culinary Festival will focus on the theme “From Coast to Coast to Coast.” Canadian chefs will join more than 100 producers, vintners and brewers in the garden district along the Avon River in Stratford, ON, on July 19 and 20. Eugene Zakreski, executive director of the Stratford Tourism Alliance, said that even before the culinary festival started, all of the necessary assets were already in Perth County: artisans, farmers, producers, the Stratford Chef School and quality restaurants. The festival—which saw growth from about 5,000 attendees at the first event seven Eugene Zakreski

of children with disabilities—an award that led to a standing ovation at the event. “It was certainly proven to be the right choice,” said Collins. “He’s so well respected by everyone in this industry for his generosity. For me, he’s like a mentor.” The We Care Hall of Fame awards were presented to John Rothschild and Nick Perpick for their roles and contributions to the growth of the foodservice industry. The Corporate Friends of We Care Award went to Saputo Dairy Products Canada G.P. During the past 31 years, Friends of We Care has donated more than $18 million to Easter Seals, Collins said. Next year’s event will be held May 2 at the International Centre.

years ago to between 25,000 and 30,000 visitors in 2013—branded the area as a culinary destination. The tourism alliance has been able to extend similar programming throughout the year, such as the GE Café Chefs Series. Zakreski said the festival pulls in incremental revenue of between $3 and $4 million over the week. Traditionally run in September, festival organizers decided to try out a mid-summer time slot for the seventh annual Savour Stratford, after hearing from local business owners that this is the time they need help bringing people in. Zakreski said they checked with producers and were told the festival would be missing the harvest of corn, tomatoes and squash. “We’ll learn from it and we’ll adapt,” said Zakreski. While the chefs aren’t all from the area, he noted they are supporters of regional food and will be using Perth County products. Involved chefs on the culinary stage include: Rich Francis, who will bring Northern Canadian cuisine to the stage; Mallard Cottage chef and owner Todd Perrin, who worked at The Church in Stratford; Dale Mackay, of Ayden Kitchen and Bar, who will be paring local produce with Saskatchewan lake fish; and vegan chef Doug McNish, a cookbook author and operator of Doug’s Public Kitchen.

Toronto Taste embodies chef 51st CCFCC National Conference involvement for two decades TORONTO—For more than 20 years, Toronto’s culinary community has come together to support Second Harvest. This was the case when 70 chefs gathered on June 8 at Corus Entertainment’s lakeside facility, raising $690,000 to provide meals to 1.3

million people in need in the Greater Toronto Area. The charity organization rescues food that would go to waste and delivers it to more than 200 social service agencies in the city. “After a successful 24th season with Toronto Taste, it further emphasizes how much Toronto loves this event and values the service that Second Harvest provides to individuals in need in our city,” Second Harvest executive director Debra Lawson said in a release. Chefs and beverage purveyors provided the food, drinks and resources to support the Toronto Taste fundraiser. David Haman, chef and owner of Woodlot, prepared potato and cheese croquettes for the hungry attendees. He called Second Harvest “a valuable and worthwhile” charity. Chef Brad Long, chef and owner of Café Belong, has taken part in Toronto Taste for more than two decades. “It’s a big part of what I believe,” Long told ORN. He said the event, which brings together food and the exchange of ideas, is about community and support. “I think it’s exactly what community should be,” said Long. “The modern day Robin Hood is all around us … we coerce gold out of your pockets by giving you tasty treats.” The inaugural Toronto Taste Chef Challenge was won by Eric Wood, exSaverio Macri, Cibo Wine Bar executive chef. ecutive chef for The Beverley Hotel.

Assembled chefs at the CCFCC national conference. Photo courtesy of CCFCC magazine.

GATINEAU, QC—About 200 delegates from across the country attended the 51st annual Canadian Culinary Federation (CCFCC) National Conference held at the Palais de congrès de Gatineau from May 29 to June 2. Chef Douglas Overes was named CCFCC National Chef of the Year. Overes’ fellow Lethbridge, AB, branch members called him an “inspiration to the industry” in his nomination notes. The instructor and program director of careers at Lethbridge College, Overes is western region vice-president and has been a CCFCC member for more than 20 years. In association news, chef Donald Gyurkovits was re-elected to a second term as CCFCC national president and chef Ahron Goldman was elected national secretary. The National Chefs Challenge saw Quebec chef Hugo Saint Jacques take first place, with chef Terry Port from Ontario and chef Sandy (Wei Yu) Chen from British Columbia placing second and third, respectively. Alberta chef Stephanie O’Brien placed first in the CCFCC Saputo National Junior Chefs Challenge over eight participants. Marie Eve Langlois, from Quebec, won silver and On-

tario-based Matthew Mason took home third place. The conference’s educational program included: cheese 101, a presentation by Saputo with chef Louis Aird, who spoke of the history and process of cheese making in Canada; demystifying foie gras, presented by producer Rougie with chef Thomas Delannoy; a look at curries by chef Raghavan Iyer; and a demonstration by chef Jacques Chauvet of sugar showpiece techniques. Culinary Team Canada prepared the Honour Society Induction Dinner hosted at Fairmont Le Château Montebello. At the icebreaker event, junior chefs from across Canada and the Junior Team Canada prepared food representative of their regions and showcasing their skills. International guests included the World Association of Chefs Societies president, chef Gissur Gudmundsson, from Iceland, chef Stafford DeCambra, chair of the American Academy of Chefs, and American Culinary Federation chairman, chef Michael Ty. Next year’s conference will be held in St. John’s, NL.

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Los Colibris takes flight in T.O.

From left: Elia Herrera and Marissa Kelly. Top left: Private dining room. Top right: Los Colibris interior.

TORONTO—From pastry chef gigs throughout the Toronto to running two kitchens at newly opened Los Colibris and downstairs restaurant El Caballito, executive chef Elia Herrera is bringing her family heritage to the challenge. “I was too much in my comfort zone as a pastry chef. I love to be nervous and challenge myself,” she told ORN. A third-generation chef, Herrera came to Canada ten years ago armed with her grandmother’s and mother’s recipes—both chefs in Herrera’s native Veracruz, Mexico. She grew up surrounded by the food and flavours of the family catering company. Los Colibris, which opened at the former Barootes restaurant space at 220 King St. W. in June, is a 150-seat, 3,500-square-foot eatery with two additional private dining rooms seating 15 and 50. Designed by Douglas Design Studio and the Mazenga Group contractors, Los Colibris (which means “the hummingbirds”) is meant to evoke images of eateries in Condesa, Mexico City, Jeffrey Douglas, principal partner at Douglas Design Studio said in a release. “Our goal was also to differentiate Los Colibris from the cantina downstairs, allowing guests to truly feel the distinction in intimacy when sitting down to eat.” Los Colibris’ focus on upscale Mexican cuisine is designed as a counterpoint to its sister restaurant El Cabal-

lito, which opened earlier this year and offers street food and casual dining. “The whole menu is all my mom’s recipes,” said Herrera. “It’s super traditional, but with a twist for high end dining. I see this menu as the link between my mom and Canada.” For example, a cerdo en mancha mantel, traditionally a stew with a pork base and rice, is transformed into a confit pork belly in adobo sauce with a black bean tamal, fresh pineapple cubes and mint for extra brightness, and served with chayote and broccoli sautéed in butter, said Herrera. Housemade chicharróns are served as a garnish. Ceviche and empanada dishes vary daily. “We wanted to keep the flavours very clean. Since Mexican food is all about the sauces, we wanted to have that pop on the plate,” said Herrera. “I believe in simplicity.” Along with sauces, much of the menu is made in house, including bread, tortillas—which are made to order and cooked a la minute on the flat top—buns for tortas and chorizo. There are also plans to make queso fresco and queso oaxaca, creamy and semi-hard cheeses, in future months. Given her background as pastry chef at Sassafraz, KiWe, Mistura, Canoe and Scarpetta, Herrera’s dessert menu is also a focus. “I still love pastry,” she said. Desserts include a play on tres leches cake as well as the use of elements such as a hibiscus gel with

plum coriander and soursop. The average check for two is $180 with alcohol for dinner, and Herrera just added takeout options and lunch. To assist in the labour intensive menu, Herrera has 10 people in the Los Colibris kitchen, and another 11 to 12 people in the El Caballito kitchen. “Although the kitchens are separate, we help each other out,” she said. Both Los Colibris and El Caballito are owned by Andreas Antoniou, who is also managing partner of Torontobased Greek restaurant Estiatorio Volos and Italian eatery Little Anthony’s. Garth Legree, who worked in Splendido’s kitchen and also was part of opening County General, is the executive chef of all four restaurants. “I’m super grateful for the opportunity and support that I’ve received,” said Herrera. General manager/sommelier Marissa Kelly oversees a wine list that focuses on Spanish and Californian wines, and a cocktail list including the restaurant’s namesake The Colibri, with Tromba Blanco, Campari and sweet vermouth. In the summer, plans are in the works to open a 100-seat, 1,800-square-foot patio, with a bar and a make-your-own taco station. 220 King St. West, Toronto. (416) 9797717. @loscolibris220.

Starting with beer By Kristen Smith COLLINGWOOD, ON—Northwinds Brewhouse and Eatery, which is slated to open in Collingwood, ON, by the end of July, started with contract brewing a year before setting up its own digs. Owner Geoff Conway started building the brand locally—and in Toronto bars to potential visitors— before securing the lease on the 5,100-square-foot space, located at 499 First St. With the opening of its brewpub, Northwinds’ beers will be sold at its new retail store, managed by Jason Mirlocca, and will still be available to other area restaurants. “Our viewpoint is: we’re creating a local product, so it allows other restaurants, if they so choose, to carry our local product,” Conway told ORN. “We’re trying to fit into the existing community in a way such that we’re not competing with others, but we’re instead complementing them.” Jay MacKell is general manager of the 100-seat eatery, which Conway described as having an industrial feel, with polished concrete floors and a view of the stainless steel brewing vessels through glass behind the bar. Conway said plenty of wood features—including a wall and tabletops made from reclaimed barn board and a 12-seat, walnut harvest table—will work to soften the décor. “The intent is to be unique within this region, but, at the same time, in-

corporating inspired elements of this region with the wood and concrete,” said Conway, adding he hopes to display local art on the walls. Northwinds’ beer selection, under the direction of head brewer Andrew Bartle, will be displayed on a chalkboard, allowing for its 12 taps to change regularly. “We don’t intend on having any core beers. We want to always keep changing it and change with the seasons and have fun,” said Conway. When it comes to the eatery’s cider and wines, the preference will be locally made options. “We’re going to locally source as much product as possible, because the intent and part of the company profile is to work closely with local [businesses],” said Conway. This applies to Northwinds’ menu, which Conway described as “pub-style, but healthier” fare. Head chef Travis Barron said the idea behind menu creation was “backyard cooking done in a restaurant, but better,” and such as beer-can chicken prepared sous-vide and some classics, such as fried chicken, which is served with beer-infused honey. “We’re using new technology with old backyard classics to make this really kind of awesome spin on food,” said Barron, adding the menu also has a number of vegetarian and vegan options. “We’re using a lot of local produce—almost all local produce. It was almost like a vegetarian menu that

Northwinds Brewhouse and Eatery management staff. From left: Jay MacKell, Geoff Conway, Travis Barron, Jason Mirlocca and Andrew Bartle.

we’ve added protein to,” said Barron, former events and catering chef at the Blue Mountain Oliver & Bonacini Café Grill. With little Mexican food in the area, Barron also included ceviche fish tacos and a taco salad with smoked cheddar and house-made salsa and tortillas. Barron said most of the menu is

made in house, including a falafel with spent grain from the beer making process, which he describes as having a buttery and whole grain taste. He has also made a gluten-free option. Barron said he doesn’t plan to use beer in every dish, but rather incorporate it into those items where it will be noticeable and play a role in the

overall flavour. The menu splits the sides from the main dishes to allow people to just have a burger or try more than one side dish. Average check with beer is estimated as falling in the $25 range. 499 First St., Collingwood, ON. 905888-3550,, @Northwindsbeer.

Photo courtesy of Olymel.

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t’s simple: grab a couple slices of bread and literally sandwich your favorite ingredients between them. The combinations are as endless as the imagination with everything from deep-fried beets to frog legs making its way into a sandwich. And it is precisely this customization, according to sandwich artists across the province, coupled with familiarity and portability that has made the sandwich a favourite way to find sustenance. Consider Subway: with more than 1,200 locations and annual sales greater than $600 million, the company is the largest sandwich chain in the country and has undoubtedly made its mark on sandwich culture. Subway focuses on mixing consistent experience with a high level of customization across all of its franchises. “Sandwiches are truly a complete on-the-go food,” Kathleen Bell, director of national marketing for Subway, told ORN. “When looking for a quick, nutritious lunch or din-

ner option, a well-made sandwich can satisfy any craving.” There are more than two million different sandwich combinations available at each of the Subway locations, Bell says, and it’s precisely that sort of variation customers are looking for. “What stands out for us is the fact that there are a variety of protein, bread, sauce and cheese options available for customers to choose from—allowing for full customization of all ingredients,” Bell said. The chain’s most popular types of subs across the country, in order, are chicken, turkey and ham. Customization is only one factor in creating a memorable sandwich. Shant Mardirosian, owner of The Burger’s Priest in Toronto says customers can order whatever they want—and many such creations have landed on the restaurant’s secret menu—but key to the success of his business is plain and simple: quality. “Our beef is over the top,” Mardirosian says. The restaurant

employs the same methods as those used 125 years ago and the beef is never frozen and ground in-house hourly. “It’s just the freshness of our ingredients,” he says. At The Burger’s Priest—a classic Californian-style cheeseburger joint—customers can try gluttonous options such as The Vatican City, a double cheeseburger sandwiched between two grilled cheese buns and the Armageddon, a double cheeseburger with two deep-fried portabella mushrooms. “The response has been nothing short of overwhelming,” Mardirosian says. “We have developed a cult following. Any time we have an opening, we have lineups down the street.” The Burger’s Priest has five locations with another two—one in Mississauga, ON, and another in Guelph, ON—slated to open within the next six to eight weeks. “Our customers say we’ve changed the way burgers should be eaten and redefined the experience.”


From a garnish standpoint, carrots and celery sticks have always been standard. “The greenhouse opens up opportunities to add our mini cucumbers as a side, or our beautiful sweet grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, and it just adds so much colour and pop to a plate,” says Nancy Hewitt, foodservice market specialist for the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers. Hewitt says operators looking to punch up their sandwich menus could add a mango cucumber salsa or variations of Greek, Moroccan or Asian bruschetta. Chefs can use local produce and adding a seasoning to deliver a different ethnic flavour profile and then incorporate that layer into a standard sand-

FRESH wich, says Hewitt. Although it is difficult to quantify whether or not there is a higher demand for local products, Hewitt says she has “noticed a market change in the demand for knowledge and accessibility to local produce.” The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers produce 420 million pounds of tomatoes, 165 million pounds of peppers and more than 300 million English cucumbers annually. According to Hewitt the industry currently has 2,300 acres of greenhouses and continues to grow. “There’s definitely been a disconnect over the years as to where our food comes from,” Hewitt says. “I think we are making strides towards that relationship of field to fork.”

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It starts with BREAD

Herbed Turkey Club by Kraft Foodservice.

With gluten-free items appearing on nearly every trend list this year, companies across the country are racing to figure out a way to make glutenfree options. The problem, says Calantha Elsby, co-owner of the Elora Bread Trading Co., is that many of those glutenfree products are full of ingredients that try to mimic the soft texture of bread. “You look at a lot of these gluten-free products and you think, ‘OK, this isn’t as healthy as I would want it to be,’” she says, pointing to ingredients such as xanthum gum and sodium benzonate. Elsby says it would be difficult to try a gluten-free product in her bakery for several reasons including cross-contamination: “There’s wheat flour everywhere in here.” Despite all the attention around gluten-free products, Elsby thinks that bread is making a comeback. “People are starting to

realize that bread can be something good,” she says. The base of The Elora Bread Trading Co.’s focus is built on sourdough breads. “Our standard bread has literally three ingredients: wheat flour, water and salt,” she says. From there, the bakery makes a wide variety of flavoured and specialty breads including a savoury olive and lemon preserve bread, and fruit-based breads with rye and currants or cheddar and apple, which Elsby says are hugely popular with customers. She also points to the revival of toast. “Toast is back on menus and you can just go buy yourself toast that’s made with good bread,” says Elsby, noting a shift back to eating bread with a single high-quality item like avocado or a preserve. When it comes to sandwiches, Elsby says toasting can add a new texture and withstand sauces much better, but warns it might not be good for takeout.


Subway’s Lobster sandwich.

Subway’s Chicken Teriyaki sandwich.

When it comes to protein, every everyone is looking for something different, says Michael Miner, Fladistrict sales manager for Fla nagan Foodservice. “It’s a tricky market right now with protein,” Miner says, pointing to all-time high beef prices and pork prices that have been steadily rising without an end in sight. There’s no doubt, Miner says, that handcrafted hamburgers are among the hottest trend right now, with many restaurants seeking out local options. However, pulled pork and bacon trends will come to an end conbecause, “pork prices are out of con trol,” he says. operaSince prices are so high, opera tors are already on par with some premium proteins and are

Condiments often play a supportive role in the entire build of the sandwich and yet Kira Smith, executive chef for Kraft Canada, says they should not be overlooked. “It’s where you can really add a unique or complimentary flavour,” Smith

Lee Andrews, president of ACE Bakery, says toasting artisanal buns might not be a good idea because often there is already a crisp crust. “The big trend is gourmet buns,” says Andrews, adding millenials are willing to pay more for a quality sandwich. “They are much more demanding with their expectations of the product.” For the past two years, ACE Bakery has hosted a national sandwich making contest. Andrews says the event did not require contestants to be professional chefs. The 2013 winning entry by Jean Émond of Montreal was a North African lamb sandwich with harissa and figs on a ciabatta roll. Other finalists included Ashley Seely of Rothesay, NB, who concocted a spicy berbere-spiced steak with fresh cheese and lemon vinaigrette salad on sourdough bread and Linh Huynh of Calgary, AB, who created a Korean barbecue chicken sandwich with kimchi and spicy mayo on a white baguette.

in the middle

looking to differentiate with items such as smoked duck, which can be thinly sliced for sandwiches. He suggests trying pulled duck as a replacement for pulled pork. According to Miner, customers are asking for items with a story behind them so they can relay it to customers, creating more of a connection to the food. “The marketplace is so competitive and there’s just so many restaurants out there. Everybody has a burger and everybody has a sandwich, but when you get into the story of it, that’s what ultimately sells the product,” Miner says. “People are going way out of the box, just looking for something different,” he says. Restaurants across the board are also looking to create healthier options on their sandwich menus for customers. According to Olymel spokesper-

To TOP it off

says. “Sandwiches are incredible because they are so familiar and, quite often, you can totally change the sandwich by adding something unique to it.” Smith says adding items such as fig jam, sriracha, chipotle, curry, mango chutney or chimichurri can provide innovative twists to sandwich spreads. She also points out combining garlic, herb or honey mustard with a mayonnaise is a sim-

son Shannon Adams, only 43 per cent of customers are satisfied with the healthiness of sandwiches away from home “which means that there is room for improvement,” she says. Of all the protein options available, “demand for chicken and turkey is definitely on the rise,” says Adams, attributing this demand to health trends. Adams says popular cold sandwiches continue to be tuna, BLT, chicken salad and ham and cheese while beef and chicken burgers continue to be trending hot sandwiches. According to Adams, some restaurants are having a hard time finding quality labour, and requesting pre-portioned, pre-sliced and pre-cooked proteins as a means to avoid injuries and produce faster service. Adams also points out breakfast sandwiches continue to rise in popularity.

ple way to boost the flavour profile of a sandwich. Smith says operators could use barbecue sauce to marinate thinly sliced onions for caramelized onions or mix roasted grape tomatoes with barbecue sauce for a touch of sweet and smoky flavour. There is always going to be an interesting dichotomy between really way-out-there flavours and simple combinations, she says. “Both have their place.”

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Association calls for level playing field during inaugural cider week TORONTO—The Ontario Craft Cider Association (OCCA) held its inaugural Ontario Cider Week in Toronto in early June and called on government to level the playing field with respect to how cider is sold within the province. Ontario cider is sold to bars through the LCBO’s direct-to-licensee program with cideries remitting 40 per cent of the sale to the LCBO, a markup that Ontario beer and VQA wines do not pay. “We’ve got a very strong message—level the playing field,” OCCA chair Nick Sutcliffe told ORN. The two-year old lobby group represents more than 15 Ontario cideries and was formed “to create a centre of excellence,” through collaboration among cideries, Sutcliffe said. While there are other issues cideries face— including production levels, healthy supply lines and selling cider at farmers markets—Sutcliffe said these issues are peripheral to the association’s primary message of reducing LCBO markups. “That’s the only message we’re going with,” he said. “We just can’t take our eyes off the ball.” The inaugural Ontario Cider Week was staged at five Toronto bars—The Loose Moose, Tequila Bookworm, WVRST, Bar Hop, The Only Café and Bar Volo—featuring ciders from

across the province. The only ticketed event, held at Bar Volo on the final day of the week, was sold out within eight days. “It’s been very positive,” Sutcliffe said, adding that all of the Ontario ciders featured throughout the week were produced with 100 per cent Ontario-grown apples or pears. “I’m a true believer that in Ontario, because of our cold climate, we will be making the best cider in the world,” Sutcliffe said, pointing to Ontario’s success at the 9th annual Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Association Competition where several Ontario cideries took home medals including Twin Pines of Thedford, ON, which won best-in-show over 327 entries for its Hammer Bent Red. LCBO spokeswoman Heather MacGregor told ORN, cider is one of the fastest growing segments. Last year, Ontario cider sales were $7.1 million, an increase of almost 72 per cent over the previous year. “It really speaks to the interest and demand for locally produced products,” MacGregor said. “We are happy to be working with local cideries and it’s obviously a huge growth for us and we’re very excited for different products that can be brought to market.” According to Sutcliffe, there are at least five

From left: Jeff Caires, owner Tequila Bookworm, and OCCA chair Nick Sutcliffe.

cideries preparing to launch in the province this year. Co-owner of TGS Cider Christian Lenz said it is a great time to be in the cider business and Ontario Cider Week is the first step toward recognition. Lenz said his contract cidery tried many different recipes but landed on a 14 per cent ABV aged cider. “We do a very different process than would be typically done with a cider,” Lenz said. “We do more of a beer process but [with] no hops. We add our own yeast (we don’t use natural cider yeast) and we go from there.” According to Lenz, the cider is aged for at least a month, but is best after a year. Chris Haworth, owner of West Avenue Cider, has been in production for two years at his cidery in Caledon, ON. In the first year, the cidery

produced 10,000 litres and sold out in three months. This year, six times the production has been pre-sold out. “Cider is booming,” Haworth said, adding the Ontario Cider Week was a way “to showcase how versatile cider is.” During the week, attendees could sample a blood orange cider, a cranberry raspberry cider, hopped ciders, barrel-aged ciders and many others. Sutcliffe—who is also creator of Pommies Dry Cider—said the cider movement owes a great deal to Ontario’s craft brewers. “We’re about eight years behind craft beer and we have a lot to thank them for because they are opening everyone’s eyes to what else is out there,” Sutcliffe said. According to the LCBO, craft beer sales have increased by nearly 500 per cent since 2006.

BBN Toronto and Ottawa winners Harvey & Vern’s soda expanding TORONTO—In June, the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA) held the first Best Bar None (BBN) accreditation ceremony in Ottawa and the second annual one in Toronto. In Toronto, 48 establishments were BBN accredited at press time, an increase of about a dozen from last year. “It’s wonderful to see this program continue to grow,” said ORHMA president and chief executive officer Tony Elenis at the Toronto ceremony held June 18 at the Hyatt Regency. The Best Overall award went to Wayne Gretzky’s, which also won Best Bar/Lounge. Best Restaurant went to the Air Canada Centre. Crocodile Rock earned Best Club. The Front Street Fionn MacCool’s was named Best Pub

and The Spoke Club won Best Members Club. Elenis said the industry supports the operations and alcohol safety program. “It has a lot of legs to move forward … it is completely [voluntary] and is led by the industry for the industry,” he said, adding the ORHMA is open to feedback and working to increase public awareness of the program. In the Ottawa pilot, 19 ByWard Market establishments were certified on June 19. Cornerstone Bar & Grill won Best Overall and Best Restaurant. Best Bar/Lounge went to Real Sports Bar & Grill. The Great Canadian Club was named Best Club and Best Pub went to Pub 101. “These establishments have proven that they deserve to receive these inaugural awards for the high standards they have established. They all serve liquor responsibly and reduce the potential for alcohol-related issues. They make the ByWard Market safer and more attractive to visit and are building positive relationships with industry partners, law enforcement and the community at large,” Elenis said in a release. The Ontario programs are led by the ORHMA with a diverse group of organizations from the hospitality industry, community and government with the common goal of From left: John Major, AGCO, Best Overall and Best Bar/ improving and rewarding reLounge winner Wayne Gretzky’s guest services manager sponsible liquor service and Michiho Morii and general manger Adrienne Barnhardt, and Tony Elenis, ORHMA. operational excellence.

OTTAWA—Diversity is paying off for an Ot- company can do more than one part of productawa beverage company who is seeing sales of its tion at a time. craft soda nearly match beer sales. “The amount of water coming in has really “We didn’t dream in our wildest dreams de- limited us,” he said, adding the company will mand would be so high a year in,” Harvey and also be purchasing more tanks to increase proVern’s brand manager Grayson McDiarmid told duction. ORN, stating the soda side of operations at the Harvey and Vern’s is named after members Kichesippi Beer Co. in Ottawa could find its of owners Paul and Kelly Meek’s family: Harvey own home within the next couple of years. is Paul’s grandfather; and Vern is Kelly’s father. Harvey and Vern’s is sold along the corWhile initial marketing was geared toward ridor between Prince Edward County and Ot- restaurants and retailers, McDiarmid said the tawa with a recent deal signed with Newport company is also focusing more on retail. Gourmet Foods to distribute in the Greater Toronto Area. The company also signed an agreement a couple of months ago to be sold at Farm Boy grocery stores throughout Ontario. Production of Harvey and Vern’s Olde Fashioned Soda began in April 2013. Currently the production of Harvey and Vern’s three varieties—ginger beer, cream soda and root beer—happens alongside Kichesippi beer production. “We thought when we launched that the all-natural thing would be the real selling point but it’s been the fact it’s a local product; an Ontario product,” McDiarmid said, adding the company has considered setting up shop in other Canadian cities to maintain the local production branding. McDiarmid said the brewery is working with the city to widen the Harvey and Vern’s soda. pipes entering the building so the

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Le Clos Jordanne gets new digs NIAGARA FALLS, ON—Le Clos Jordanne, which launched in 2001, is moving to a 7,000-square-foot space at winery site Niagara Falls VQA Cellars this month. This move will be completed within July in time for winemaker Sébastien Jacquey and his team to begin the 2014 vintage at the new home, located at 4887 Dorchester Rd. in Niagara Falls, ON. Constellation Brands, which Le Clos Jordanne became part of in 2006, put more than $25 million into Niagara Falls VQA Cellars over the past eight years, with continuing investment planned this year of more than $4 million. The renovated winery site produces a range of international/Canadian blends and Canadian wines as well as various VQA Wines within the VQA Cellar area. For 12 years, Le Clos Jordanne has produced wine in Jordan, ON, at 2540 South Service Rd. in a leased space five kilometres from the vineyard. The new space includes a state-of-the-art cellar and high-end equipment. Having this space, and not having to be concerned about temperature control or building

maintenance, will allow Jacquey to focus on fermentation control, crush and sorting efficiency, the extraction process, and in maintaining consistency throughout vintages. “Over there, my focus will only be on winemaking and viticulture,” said Jacquey. The winery produces 10,000 cases annually, which Jacquey said will stay the same “to preserve the quality of the wine,” but the new site provides the opportunity for increased volume in response to future demand if quality standards are maintained. Le Clos Jordanne makes VQA wines made from two classic Burgundian varieties: pinot noir and chardonnay. The winery will continue to draw all of its grapes from the vineyards in Jordan working with the same terroir-driven philosophy and practices, said Jacquey. Wine will still be sold and tasted at the Jackson Triggs Winery, but Le Clos Jordanne will also be able to receive sommeliers by request at the new winery.

Canadian Brewing Awards

Br i e f s

FREDERICTON— The 12th annual Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference was held May 29-31 at the Fredericton Convention Centre. Old Yale Brewing’s Sasquatch Stout, from Chilliwack, BC, was awarded Beer of the Year. Ontario’s Great Lakes Brewery was named Brewer of the Year.

Brewers Plate Toronto TORONTO—The seventh annual Brewers Plate took place June 4 at the CBC Atrium in Toronto. More than a dozen chefs and 20 breweries teamed up to raise funds for the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation by preparing food and pouring drinks for 400 attendees.

Fifth annual Craft Beer Week

Sébastien Jacquey

TORONTO—In a celebration of craft brews and brewers, the province took part in the fifth annual Ontario Craft Beer Week from June 13 to 21.

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Eat Algoma makes it RAIN

Colleen Alloi of Collholm farms (far left) with the chef and staff of Low and Slow to the right.

A garden in the sky for the Intercontinental Montreal MONTREAL—Chef Matthieu Saunier and his kitchen team at the InterContinental Montreal are going green with a new chef ’s garden project on the roof of the hotel. With 50 planting boxes containing organically grown vegetables and herbs, Saunier is nurturing nine varieties of tomatoes, chocolate and Moroccan mint, lettuce, black, purple and white eggplant and other pesticide-free herbs and greens for the hotel’s fine dining restaurant Osco!. Saunier scoured the Jean Talon Market for seeds and plants for his pet project, asking advice from the farmers about growing and harvesting, he told ORN. As this year is the first for the project, Saunier admits there were challenges in harvesting enough volume for the 100-seat restaurant. “One day we had enough zucchini flowers to do two plates worth of specials,” he laughed. “It was really funny, but now customers know to come early.” Saunier has been using his hard won produce sparingly, in items such as reduced beet

SAULT STE. MARIE, ON—Restaurants, farmers and more than 2,000 attendees took over Queen Street in downtown Sault Ste. Marie on June 14 for the first annual Eat Algoma Local Food Festival. Organized by the Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN), a project of the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) and the NORDIK Institute, the event challenged three local restaurateurs to team up with a local farm to plate their best pulled pork slider. Blake and Jen Richards and Chad Stewart of Low & Slow Smoked Fusion BBQ, which opened on Gore Street in early 2014, put out the winning sandwich. The team used pork sourced from Collholm Farm in Echo Bay, ON, managed by Colleen and Ray Alloi, and beat The Gnarly Bistro food truck and Embers Grill & Smokehouse in a 500-person taste test. “We got a lot of the community out to the event, and it was a great kick off to the growing


season,” RAIN market development specialist Katie Filion told ORN. “It created buzz about farmers and the farmers’ market, and reached a new demographic that may not know about these markets.” Between $5,000 and $10,000 of the proceeds from the festival will go toward the event next year, said Filion, as well other RAIN projects, including ongoing research, education, and efforts to increase local food production in Algoma. Filion hopes to include more restaurants in next year’s festival, and increase local sourcing from the area’s farms such as Grand North Bison, which supplies bison burgers to several restaurants in Sault Ste. Marie. “We really wanted to build that relationship between restaurateurs and farmers,” she said. “Although it is challenging: farmers and restaurant owners are the busiest people on earth, so trying to pair them up is often like a speed dating event.”

Building buzz at the Royal York Chef Collin Thornton

juice and lemon thyme accompaniments to fish specials, or salads with ronde de Nice zucchini, cucumbers and a mix of different types of lettuce: batavian, nova verte, red and green oak leaf. He hopes to expand the project next year to 100 boxes, and potentially hold tapas events in the garden rooftop. At the end of the season the team will prepare compost on the roof and use the soil for next spring. The composting project is part of the hotel’s Green Restaurant certification from the Green Restaurant Association. Although the rooftop garden creates more work for the kitchen staff, reception has been positive, said Saunier. “The cooks love it. They see the evolution of the produce, and get to smell and touch it, getting back to nature.” Even the garden’s late night watering requirements have turned into a team building event. “It’s like therapy,” said Saunier. “When it’s a tough day in the kitchen, at the end, you can go up to the roof to see the flowers and you immediately feel much better.” Chef Matthieu Saunier

TORONTO—Lost and lonely pollinator bees can find solace in the Toronto Fairmont Royal York’s rooftop bee hotel. The pilot project—designed in conjunction with Burt’s Bees, Pollinator Partnership Canada and Sustainable. TO Architecture + Building—will involve the construction of three other pollinator bee hotels in Toronto, including at Pioneer Village, and one in Guelph, ON. The bee hotels are made with a collection of nesting materials such as wood, twigs, fallen branches, soil and pith-filled holes. Designed to attract and protect solitary bees by replicating natural nesting sites, the hotels allow the local pollinators to breed and lay eggs. Fairmont Hotels and Resorts properties have been home to apiaries since 2008, with

honey bee programs at more than 20 hotels globally as part of the company’s sustainability program. Public relations director Mike Taylor said the bee hotel, which opened in June, was a natural extension of the property’s rooftop gardens and six apiaries. “We were looking at the overall issue of bee health and noticed that solitary bees are just as important to our local ecosystem, if not more important, from a purely bee-species perspective and we realized that part of their decline was loss of habitat,” said Taylor. Royal York executive chef Collin Thornton designed a pollinator bee-focused menu for EPIC Restaurant to draw attention to the bee hotel— which was designed to resemble the Toronto skyline—and the issues facing the declining species. “There’s still a lot of people that just don’t seem to know what’s going on,” said Thornton. “Obviously, the message hasn’t really gotten to everybody and we need to get it out there, so anything that we can do to help is in all of our best interests, not just because we sell food but, no bees, no people.” He said the menu, which highlights the food bees help produce through pollination, is a “great engagement piece.” The three-course menu includes pollinator garden salad of greens, tomatoes, and a variety of berries in a Royal York honey vinaigrette, lemon balm-crusted rainbow trout with a cucumber and apple slaw with ice wine vinaigrette and butternut squash purée and sticky honey cakes with peach streusel tart and calvados crème fraîche ice cream. The Library Bar featured the Buzz-tini, which is made of Forty Creek Whisky, lemon juice and house-made honey and served with mint from the rooftop garden and rimmed with more honey. Taylor said Fairmont is hoping to continue working with Burt’s Bees on a larger scale and bring this to other properties next year.

J U LY 2 0 1 4

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Mt. Everest customers go above and beyond By Colleen Isherwood, Senior contributing editor AJAX, ON—At Mt. Everest Restaurant, the customers reach new heights in their involvement with the restaurant, from voting them first in consumer awards to even donating a kidney to the owner’s wife. On a recent visit, owner Manohar Singh pointed proudly to a wall showing the many awards Mt. Everest Restaurant has won, including Readers Choice for Best Indian Restaurant in Durham Region for 17 years. Last October, when Mt. Everest took the Business Excellence Award in the one to nine employees category from Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade, Singh, his daughter Amanpreet and his son Manvir were greeted by a standing ovation. Mt. Everest was the first restaurant to get that award, Singh explained. While Singh has been at his current location on Highway 2 close to the Ajax-Pickering border since the mid-1990s, he has been in the restaurant business for 42 years, coming to Canada in 1988. The restau-

rant is a family affair, with Singh’s wife Jasbir working full time, and daughter Amanpreet helping out after her full-time job at Arbor Memorial funeral home. While Singh has other part-time staff, he said, “Finding help is an issue in Ajax.” Customers come from all walks of life, and while most are locals, others come from as far away as Haliburton, Minden and Port Hope, ON, said Singh. Mt. Everest offers a lunch buffet for $9.99. Buffet items include eggplant and potatoes, peas and cheese, kadhi pakora, chana masala, butter chicken, goat curry and Mulligatawny soup. Dinner is a la carte, and costs an average of $35 per couple. The 36seat eatery is fully licensed. Non-alcoholic drinks include a homemade mango shake, a yogurt shake, lassi and Singh’s own chai tea blend. Singh told ORN his first attempt at cooking didn’t go well. “When I was 14, my father died. My mother asked me to make curry with zucchini. I didn’t realize I needed water to make curry.” His mother helped him deal with the glutinous mess by

adding water and boiling it. “Mother said it was not bad,” he said. Singh is proud that he has weathered three recessions and survived. While there are currently five or so Indian restaurants in Ajax-Pickering, there has been a lot of turnover, he said. When he first came to Ajax, its population was 55,000—now it is 100,000 and growing.

A sense of community Mt. Everest actively participates in the community, raising money for soccer tournaments, giving out gift certificates, and donating to charity rides raising money for the local hospital. It was one of the first restaurants to participate in Taste of Ajax, which has been running for about eight years and now includes 15 restaurants. Ajax bills itself as being bicycle friendly, so Mt. Everest provides racks, a pump and some small tools for cyclists. Customers have also gone far beyond the normal customer/restaurateur relationship. “In 2012, my wife needed a kidney or she would have to be on dialysis. The wait for a kidney is 13 years. A customer donated

a kidney—the community was there for us,” Singh said. “My wife had the surgery, and we were constantly going to the hospital in Toronto. Customers provided 23 chauffeured rides to the hospital.” 611 Kingston Rd. W., Ajax, ON. 905-686-5553, www.

Top Photo: Owner Manohar Singh and his wife, Jasbir. Bottom Photo: Mt. Everest Restaurant interior.

Meeting up with Mark McEwan By Colleen Isherwood TORONTO—Self-confessed buffet hater Mark McEwan has launched Meetings by McEwan at The Hazelton Hotel, a venture that pairs the hotel’s luxury and attentive service with the celebrity chef ’s gourmet food. The concept, introduced in April, includes a buffet with a difference— it is one he actually likes. Less is more. Keep it simple. These watchwords, which McEwan has applied to other ventures during a career that spans restaurants, retail and celebrity chef/TV personality status, apply to the buffet, part of the program designed for meetings, as well. “I like the format of the buffet, but I don’t usually like the food,” said

McEwan at a lunch to introduce the concept to the media in early June. “Here, we reflect the current menus in the restaurant. We have a nice balance to the table and follow the seasons with our produce,” he said. “The word ‘buffet’ has a new meaning—things are really fresh, they’re all handmade. The selections are a very comfortable representation of the restaurant and we do it in a meeting format.” Items served at the June 5 lunch included tomato and watermelon salad with feta, vin cotto and basil; sweet pea crostini with chopped egg and caciocavallo; seared organic salmon with du puy lentils, green apple, baby spinach and crème fraiche; ricotta gnocchi with marinara and

reggiano; assorted nigiri and sashimi; seasonal fruit, house-made cookies; with freshly brewed coffee, decaf and tea, house-made lemonade and iced tea. Meeting planners have a choice of gourmet power breakfasts and working lunch options, along with unique coffee breaks that are included in all meeting packages. Meeting rooms can accommodate up to 40 people. They include the 25-seat Hollywood-standard Silver Screening Room, The Yorkville Room, The Neil Young Room (a private area at the back of ONE Restaurant decorated with photos of the iconic singer/songwriter) and the Executive Boardroom. Meeting profiles have changed in recent years, said Nancy Munzar

The Hazelton Hotel Yorkville meeting room.

Kelly, general manager of the Hazelton Hotel. “The length is shorter and often dinners are not included. Some hotels have signature chefs, but usually

they are very separate from the catering department. Mark and his team use the same kitchen for the meetings, and it’s all designed at the level of all of Mark’s restaurants,” she said.

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16 |



Canadian Linen celebrates 125 years TORONTO—Uniform rental and linen supply company Canadian Linen celebrated its 125th anniversary with a gala event at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN, in late June. “Reaching 125 years as a company is a huge milestone and celebrating with our key stakeholders was a great way to celebrate this accomplishment,” Bill Evans, president and chief executive officer of AmeriPride and Canadian Linen, said in a release. “It was really special to have our directors and general managers from across the U.S. and Canada intermingle with our executive leadership, board of directors and family ownership.” The event included a cocktail reception, dinner and a short program recognizing some key management and vendors, as well as an unveiling of a 125th anniversary video and corporate history book.

Founded in 1889 by George and Frank Steiner, the company is still family owned and headquartered in Toronto. Harriet ‘Teedee’ Ludwick, the last remaining second-generation family owner and long-term board member, was recognized for her service. Other awards were handed out to general managers for outstanding performance: Richard Boyce from the Calgary branch, Dave Reichert from the Lethbridge, AB, branch and Tommy Clark from the Odessa, TX, branch. Several senior leaders were also recognized for service milestones. Vendor awards included Strategic Partner Awards, given to ABS, American Dawn, Canadian Uniform and CS Marketing Company, Deloitte, Ecolab, Milliken, Mountville Mills, Loyalty Research Center, VF, Washing Systems and Wells Fargo.

From left: Naiem Nairouz, senior vice-president of Canadian Operations, Mike Beckwith, general manager from Bakersfield, CA, branch, Bruce Steiner, family owner and board cochair, and Anthony Coulter, general manager from the Toronto branch.

Chartwells brings in celebrity chef Industry calls for standardization with product registry database Chef Corbin Tomaszeski.

MISSISSAUGA, ON—St. Martin Secondary School students got a lesson in how health food can taste good in early June as part of partnership between Chartwells School Dining and chef Corbin Tomaszeski. The foodservice operator brought on Tomaszeski to shake up cafeteria recipes tested at the Mississauga school and in two Durham Region secondary schools. The new menu items will roll out in September across the province in 275 schools in 34 boards and featured as a weekly special. “It’s a joint effort to try to get kids to enjoy food again,” Tomaszeski told ORN. Elizabeth McKay, district manager for Chartwells School Dining, said in recent

years, the province’s health food and beverage policy has resulted in the disappearance of some of students’ favourite foods from cafeteria menus. Chartwells and Tomaszeski turned to the students, using focus groups and taste tests for feedback. “We really want to hear what the kids want … because they’re our customers,” she said. McKay said the reception has been very positive. While the new menu items— which include chicken breast crusted with baked vegetable chips, zucchini strips, and homemade pastas—are healthy, that’s not the selling point. Students want what every diner wants: great taste. “They told us that they want full-flavoured foods, they want spice,” said Tomaszeski. Tomaszeski said everything is made from scratch and the recipes are not complicated. He is creating an instructional video for cafeteria staff on how to prepare and present the dishes. Tomaszeski said he wants the food to be Instagram-worthy. “If it’s not worth taking a photo of, then we’re not doing the right thing,” he said.

MISSISSAUGA, ON—Members of the foodservice industry called on partners to use a standardized database for tracking and administrating product information at an event in Mississauga, ON, on June 18. A panel of representatives from major supply chains and manufacturers told an audience of foodservice professionals they support the use of ECCnet Registry, a centralized registry of product information created by GS1 Canada. “The ECCnet initiative has been a priority for our company from the time it was launched and we’ve already been able to derive a lot of value over those years from using this database,” Dan Flanagan, president and chief executive officer of Flanagan Foodservice, said as a member of the panel. The panel was moderated by Restaurants Canada president and CEO Garth Whyte and also included: Frank Geier, former president of GFS Canada; Randy White, president and CEO of Sysco Canada; Wayne Greer, vice-president and general manager, foodservice, Weston Bakeries Ltd.; Paul Bourrie, president, McCormack Bourrie Sales and Marketing; Brian Emmerton, vice-president, operations CPS, Aramark Canada; and Peter

Highlighting Ontario greenhouse growers TORONTO—The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) is shining a spotlight on local produce with an education program and student culinary competition on June 5. Semi-finalists competed in a cook-off at Cirillo’s Culinary Academy in Toronto during the province’s inaugural Local Food Week. After visiting Liaison College campuses and teaching more than 100 students about the greenhouse produce grown in the province, chef Wendy Barrett and foodservice market specialist for the OGVG Nancy Hewitt organized a recipe contest, using the products grown by its 218 tomato, pepper and cucumber farmers. Judges chef John Cirillo, chef Christine Cushing, grower OGVC board member Jim Veri and Greenhouse Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee chair Elmer Buchanan evaluated five students’ dishes in five areas: prominent use of the peppers, tomatoes and

cucumbers; creativity; mechanics, which included taste and ease of replication; appearance; and the ability to inspire others to make it. Semi-finalists included: Brett Newell from Liaison Hamilton, who prepared a no-bake cucumber bruschetta, using cucumber in place of bread; Carla Iwasiuk from Liaison Oakville, who made a breaded fried tomato with cool cucumber guacamole and a roasted red pepper sauce; Ashley Haid from Liaison Kitchener, with a smoked heirloom tomato bruschetta with a roasted red pepper sauce and goat cheese mouse on breaded eggplant; Barbara Nagai from Liaison Whitby, who prepared Indian spiced paneer stuffed roasted red peppers; and Natalie Desrosier from Liaison Barrie, who created a reconstructed tomato with layers of cream cheese flavoured with cucumber and peppers. The judges named Carla Iwasiuk the cook-

off winner. “I wanted to showcase the ingredients and I wanted you to be able to taste each vegetable as you bite into it,” Iwasiuk told the judges. Buchanan said he enjoyed the combination of the flavours and texture in the fried tomato dish. Veri said he liked “the way the cucumber revealed itself in the guacamole.” Cushing said the tomato had been fried just enough to brown the breading but not too much as to destroy the structure of the tomato. “I think, overall, it’s a job well done,” she said. Cushing told all the competitors that it was great being on the other side of a competition

Vale, vice-president, strategic sourcing, Cara Operations Ltd. Several of the panelists underscored the importance of having product pictures as part of a standardized database because the millennial generation based purchase decision on visuals. The ECCnet registry facilitates the exchange of data and allows users access to reliable product information to search, purchase, inventory, promote and sell products. Also at the event, keynote speaker Max Valiquette, a strategic planner and marketing consultant, made a presentation titled “Trends with Benefits,” which offered attendees insights in technology and consumer behavior by looking at the dichotomy between millennials and baby boomers. Where baby boomers wanted to own objects and have what Valiquette called a “heavy asset” lifestyle, millennials are looking to shed assets and share products including music, power tools and even cars. “Your customers are looking to share the things they used to own,” he said. According to a release from GS1 Canada, the foodservice industry is projecting sales of $70 billion for 2014.

Carla Iwasiuk, from Liaison College Oakville plates her breaded fried tomato dish.

and was pleased to see the creativity and talent of the up-and-coming and young chefs. “I love your inspiration,” she said, encouraging them to keep it and trust their instincts.

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J U LY 2 0 1 4

All in the family

De coDing T h e D aTa

How operators can gain market share by providing mealtime convenience By Scott Stewart


ith patio season now in full bloom, some operators may already be planning ahead for the cooler months of autumn. The hectic fall season of overscheduled social lives can leave some families reeling between basketball practice, dance classes and carpooling. As a result, some families rarely eat dinner together and may not take the extra time to stay connected.

Seasonal trend—parties with kids Considering this hectic schedule for families, one might think that visits to restaurants

among families with kids would increase during the fall. However, NPD CREST’s seasonal Ontario trends show the percentage of restaurant visits from parties with kids is lower during the fall than other times of the year. The overall restaurant industry is known to be seasonal and we see a dip in families’ share of overall visits beginning in the fall and continuing into winter, followed by a pickup in spring and a peak in the summer. It is the same pattern year after year. Compounding the difficulties associated with this seasonal trend and the challenges restaurant operators face to attract families with kids during the fall, the Ontario restaurant

“In order to bring families back to the restaurant table, operators and manufacturers need to understand what consumers seek for these visits, and how to resonate with their current routine depending on the season.”

industry’s ability to attract parties with kids (those including children under the age of 18) has been declining since 2010. The losses have been substantial: 2014 saw 24 million fewer family visits to Ontario restaurants than in 2010. On the other hand, the total restaurant industry experienced an increase of 123 million visits over that same span, supported by adult parties.

How to understand family meal times The avenues for advertising and communicating to consumers have become more fragmented. Since kids have considerable influence on restaurant selections, reaching them is important. At the same time, it is necessary for the foodservice occasion to fit within the parents’ lifestyle. In order to bring families back to the restaurant table, operators and manufacturers need to understand what consumers seek for these visits, and how to resonate with their current routine depending on the season.

To begin, the back-to-school weeks are a perfect time for restaurant operators to focus on sending the message they are family-friendly and ready to help stressed parents ease into the chaos of a new school year. Restaurants can also focus on the convenience of to-go meals for families with little time to commit to preparing a meal, but who still want to gather together for a meal at home. Understanding the changes that occur within Ontario families from season to season, and tailoring your offerings to satisfy these shifting needs, will help operators resonate with families and bring them back into the Ontario foodservice market. Scott Stewart is an account manager, foodservice Canada for The NPD Group. The NPD Group has more than 25 years of providing reliable and comprehensive consumer-based market information to leaders in the foodservice industry. For more information, visit or contact him at

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1. Sylvain Toutant 2. Kay and Bill Nikolakakos 3. Chef Ken LeFebour (Photos by Mike Lalich Photography.) 4. Tyson Rideout 5. Carol Patterson 6. Tom Riley 7. From Left: Steve Croft, J.D. Smith and Sons Limited; Steve Burns, Surety Food Safety Group Inc.; Phil Sanders, Burlodge Canada Ltd.; Angelo Colalillo, Complete Purchasing Services Inc.; Sue Griffin, Boston Pizza International Inc.; Audrius Valiulis, apetito Canada Ltd.; Franco Naccarato, Greenbelt Fund; Lesa Warner, Select Food Products Ltd.; Donna Barnes, Ryerson University; Sharda Ali, Signature Service Inc.; Christine Romano, Healthcare Food Services; Melanie Bryant, Kellogg Canada Inc.; Nancy Hewitt, Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers; Adam Cummings, Eaux Vives Water Inc.; Michelle Alcia-Popplewell, Dufferin Peel CDSB, and Penny Redmond, Humanistic Fare Inc. 8. Peter Oliver addresses recent graduates. (Photo by Clifton Li.)

Sylvain Toutant has been named DavidsTea president and chief executive officer. Toutant will serve on the board of directors and oversee the brand’s growth in Canada, the U.S. and internationally. After joining VanHoutte in 2008, Toutant became president of retail and then chief operating officer. Toutant was also president of Keurig Canada, where he accelerated growth through an alliance with Keurig Green Mountain in the U.S. He also headed Keurig’s British operations. Toutant also served as president and CEO of the Société des alcools du Québec from 2004 to 2007. After 45 years, Kay and Bill Nikolakakos will be closing up shop at the Pinecrest Restaurant and Truck Stop in Vaughan, ON. Since 1969, when the couple bought the restaurant as newlyweds, they have been serving home-style meals to countless guests. “[Bill and Kay] have worked tirelessly and established a loyal clientele from all over Canada and the U.S., now having served up to four generations of families who often make a special trip to come and visit,” stated a release from the restaurant. The walls for the restaurant are adorned with more than 500 decorative plates from around the world donated by loyal customers. The family-run business, located on Highway 7 between Jane St. and Keele St., will close in August and the couple will retire. Jeff Dillon has been named Topper’s Pizza vice-president and Andrew Diveky is the company’s new director of franchise development. The Ontario-based company

recently announced its goal to increase from 35 to 140 pizzerias by 2018. “Jeff and Andrew are consummate professionals with successful track records. Together, they have developed a carefully crafted growth plan, which will yield impressive results,” Topper’s Pizza president and chief operating officer Keith Toppazzini said in a release. The first phase of the growth plan will focus on adding pizzerias in key Ontario markets such as Ottawa, Kitchener, Waterloo, Georgetown, London and Thunder Bay. Along with building its Ontario presence, Topper’s Pizza intends to open pizzerias in Winnipeg as well as various cities throughout Alberta. In addition to developing its traditional delivery and takeout pizzerias, Topper’s Pizza will provide franchisees with opportunities to open and operate fast-casual, dinein locations. In March, Topper’s Pizza opened its first fast-casual, dinein concept in Chelmsford, ON. The company plans to build out a dinein location in Collingwood, ON, which will open in September. “The fast-casual pizzeria model has been highly successful thus far, and it has led to higher customer tickets,” said Toppazzini. Chef Ken LeFebour of Nellie James Gourmet Food To Go presented “A Happening: an evening joining food, music, art and dance” on June 7 in partnership with The Hamilton Spectator. The Dundas, ON-based chef prepared hors d’oeuvres to live music, with local artists and performers in the Hamilton Spectator auditorium. The event raised $4,000, with proceeds benefitting Hamilton Interval

House and The Hamilton Spectator Summer Camp Fund. LeFebour told ORN he was hoping to demonstrate how cooking is similar to the artistic expression of dance and music, “trying to show that whatever you do, if it is done with passion, then it is art,” he said. Peter Kline, of Bacchus Sommellier Services, was on hand for the evening. The Curtis Michael Duo, Dan Medakovic and Lori Yates provided music. Artists included Dave Gould, Dave Hind, Lori LeMare and Sanjay Patel. The Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association (ORHMA) has named four new directors to its board. The new quartet of directors includes Tyson Rideout, vice-president, operations, JOEY Restaurant Group; Carol Patterson, senior manager, regulatory affairs, Tim Hortons; Grant Cobb, senior vicepresident, Prime Restaurants; and Chad Hope, regional vice-president, Ontario, Royal Host. New Zealand-native Tom Riley will take on the role of chef de cuisine at Oliver & Bonacini Café at Yonge Street and Front Street in Toronto. Riley joined the O&B team in 2012 as chef de partie at Canoe. According to a release from the company chef Riley’s “menu additions are inspired by his global travels, updated to reflect the casual summer attitude of Torontonians.” Riley’s new menu will include banana bread French toast, a bouillabaisse and herb-roasted lamb and a mini, gluten-free ice-cream sandwich with British sherry trifle. The Toronto chapter of the Canadian Association of Foodservice

Professionals (CAFP) met for its annual general meeting at Frankie Tomatto’s restaurant on June 11 and to elect a new board. In his speech, CAFP president Steve Croft told members the previous year was “creative and active.” “We stepped back, took a look at some of the patterns, the trends and the issues that we face as an association and developed some smart plans that we felt will make a difference to move us closer to where we want to be in the future,” Croft said. According to Croft, the board identified a high level of rotating membership, low event attendance and creating stability at the student level as key areas of concentration. Croft said the association will “concentrate on providing an experience,” to attendees, as seen with the attraction of Arlene Dickinson who spoke at the CAFP’s Top Management Night in February, which saw a 30 per cent increase in event attendance. Increased bursaries and several grassroots initiatives have been implemented to help secure student membership and make students aware of the CAFP, he said. The new board will include past president Angelo Colalillo staying on as vice-president of the Senior Management Advisory Council (SMAC) and national director. Nancy Hewitt, foodservice market specialist for the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers, will take on the roles of president elect and vice-president of programs and events. Christine Romano of Healthcare Foodservice will be treasurer. Audrius Valiulis and Susan Griffin were elected vice-presidents of programs and events and Sharda

Ali, Peter Schneider and Joan DeGraves are vice-presidents of communications. Adam Cummings, Franco Naccarato and Penny Redmond will head up memberships while Karin Nowell and Melanie Bryant will look after sponsorship. Donna Barnes, Steve Burns, Michelle Alcia-Popplewell, Peter Rick and Doris Miculan-Bradley will co-ordinate student development. Peter Oliver, co-founder of Oliver and Bonacini Restaurants, received an honourary doctorate from Ryerson University on June 13. “I can honestly say this is one of the best days of my life,” Oliver said to an audience of friends, family and industry members gathered for a dinner at Ryerson University in honour of the occasion. Oliver opened his first restaurant in 1978, which has since grown into a group of restaurants considered leaders and innovators in fine dining and events. According to a release, Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants employs thousands of people across the city and serves 60,000 guests. Oliver also founded the Leacock Foundation, a children’s education charity, which has raised $8 million in support of children’s learning in Toronto and abroad. At the dinner, Dr. Peter Jensen, one of Oliver’s long time friends, jokingly asked attendees whose brainwave it was to award an honoury doctorate to the longtime restaurateur. “This is like fertilizing an overly nourished plant,” he joked. “In all seriousness, Peter Oliver is quite simply a very decent human being … [he] is a true friend and I have none better.”


BY S . P E L L E G R I N O

Meet Chef Grant van Gameren, the culinary pioneer and driving force behind Toronto’s Bar Isabel, named as Canada’s Best New Restaurant in 2014. We asked him to reveal his sources for inspiration and ingredients, and tell us what’s on his radar for the future. CAPTURE THE ESSENCE O F W H AT ’S H A P P E N I N G IN THE CANADIAN C U L I N A R Y S C E N E.

Orphans cooking with orphans. In Toronto, the people opening restaurants now are in their late 20s, early 30s who haven’t been slugging it out in a brigade-style kitchen for years like the founding fathers. There’s a generation of us rebellious teenagers just opening up restaurants, hiring our friends and taking risks. Hopefully, these young chefs grow into the leaders of Canada’s modern culinary movement. HOW DO CULINARY T R E N D S I M PA C T YO U R MENU?

I’m too busy to concern myself with trends. Evolution is made, not speculated. If there’s anything I’m into, it’s about finding something new. Maybe not something new to the world, but new to me. That’s my food trend. W H AT I S I N S P I R I N G YO U RIGHT NOW?

Gooseneck barnacles-pre-historiclooking crustacean creatures, super tasty. Only in season for about a month. When I sourced some, I was so excited that I posted a photo on

Instagram. 48 hours later there was an article about how these are the “next new thing.” ASIDE FROM THE F O O D , W H AT M A K E S A G R E AT R E S TA U R A N T EXPERIENCE?

Everything you put on the table matters. The details can dramatically elevate the dining experience—like a good quality napkin, artisanal bread or a bottle of S.Pellegrino. Even the bottle itself is beautiful; it’s like a bottle of wine. Water is the first thing served at the table and the last thing that remains. So it only makes sense that the kind of water you serve is considered. If you think about it, filtered water or tap water—it’s only as good as its source. GIVE US A HINT ABOUT


W H AT ’S O N T H E H O R I Z O N F O R YO U ?

I’m excited about a new venture I’m working on inspired by the Pintxo bars of San Sebastian. It’s a completely different way of eating, very social and a new style for Toronto. It’s food-at-your-ownpace that takes traditional tapas to a whole new level.


For more inspiration visit




Angie Mosier Brock Elbank









Ontario Restaurant News has developed a social media strategy in an effort to foster conversation within the restaurant industry and get feedback from readers. Our editorial staff is out and about in the community, at industry events and conferences, getting in on the discussion and connecting with operators through social media. Focusing on targeted platforms—and using them well—is our key to providing real-time reporting at events, sharing relevant information and driving new readers to the website and brand. Go online for your fix of Ontario Restaurant News, now with a fresh look, more photos, increased daily news updates and new interactive features. Read the magazine how you want and when you want with our smartphone and tablet-compatible digital edition. Reach the restaurant community in its inbox with our twice-monthly Restaurant News Report: breaking national coverage and in-depth regional news provides dedicated content to the industry in an easy-to-read format. The e-newsletter is sent out the first and third Tuesday of each month and hits industry leaders with dramatic pass-along readership.


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