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estaurant News R May 2014 Vol. 29 No. 4
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SoHo gets Luckee By Kristen Smith Assistant editor, digital content TORONTO—Chef Susur Lee opened his newest concept Luckee Restaurant and Bar in early April at 328 Wellington St. West on the ground floor of Toronto’s SoHo Metropolitan Hotel. Lee told ORN he has known Metropolitan Hotels president and restaurateur Henry Wu for about 20 years. A year and a half ago, when Wu asked if Lee wanted to move into the former Senses restaurant space, he rounded up the team—a.k.a. his wife and sons—and got moving. Having had quite a bit of practice opening restaurants together, Lee and his family created Luckee rather
quickly while ensuring everything was ready and in place from the food to the light bulbs. “I’m very particular about those small details,” Lee said. Designed by his wife Brenda Bent and her partner Karen Gable, the 2,000-square-foot dining area and the 600-square-foot bar features the colour red with large panels and art. The space has tiled floors, wood slat banquet seats and a large windowed kitchen. Lee said he wants Luckee’s chefs to feel proud and show off what they do. The kitchen team includes chef John Kwan, former executive chef of Toronto’s Lai Toh Heen, chef Vincent Leung, former executive chef of Senses, and chef Raymond Fung, who has
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Chef Susur Lee.
more than 30 years experience making dim sum. With 120 seats and a private dining area for 18, the menu features what Lee calls “nouvelle Chinoise” fare, which Lee began creating about 15 years ago at his Club Chinois in Singapore. The main menu features seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes and dim sum can be ordered by menu card. The bar area has its own menu, featuring items such as salt and pepper crispy squid and curry shrimp rolls. Luckee’s entrée menu, inspired by Lee’s travels in Asia, transforms traditional Chinese food with a modern touch. Continued on page 3
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A D V ER T OR I A L
CANADIAN INDEPENDENT RESTAURATEURS LEVEL PURCHASING PLAYING FIELD Canada’s Independent Restaurateurs Get A Level Playing Field
UNIPCO Saving Independent Foodservice Operators Millions As profits for The Independent Restaurateur downwardly edge closer to 4%, the operator must look at every avenue to decrease their costs without affecting quality and service. Since 1997, the United Independent Purchasing Company – UNIPCO, has grown to be Canada’s largest Not-for-Profit group purchasing company. Created to challenge rising costs to independent restaurants, UNIPCO has now grown from its conceived home in Moncton, NB through the Atlantic Provinces, Quebec and now, Ontario. With this natural growth expansion, Unipco has increased its purchasing power to more than 80 million dollars. David Tunstall, Director of Ontario, explains that
UNIPCO differs from all other Buying Groups in Canada. “UNIPCO is 100% Member - Owned; therefore, 100% of all Rebates earned by the Members go to the Members. Our UNIPCO Purchasing Program has no out of pocket cost to the Members,” Tunstall adds. UNIPCO not only saves our members on the Food and Beverage portion of their business; we save our members on linen services, merchant service fees, point-of-sale systems and restaurant supplies such as dinnerware, equipment and much more. Mr. Tunstall was also quick to point out that Unipco Members have a 100% Price Protection Program which is monitored by Local Member Support Man-
agers and our head office. When asked, “How do you join or find out more information?” Mr. Tunstall stated, “The Unipco Team would be pleased to visit any interested restaurateur at their location to discuss the program.” Mr. Tunstall said, “We prepare a very thorough purchase analysis for all applicants so that we may better understand their needs. From this, we are able to show the real invoice savings and potential rebates to the applicant.” Finally, Mr. Tunstall expressed, “It is a rewarding career we have, it is so enjoyable having the knowledge that we at UNIPCO can impact the Independent Restaurateur’s profitability in such a demanding industry.”
David Tunstall, Director of Ontario
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Feds suspend TFWP for foodservice OTTAWA—The federal minister of employment called for a moratorium on the foodservice sector’s access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) after reports the program was being abused. “Our government has been clear: Canadians must have the first chance at available jobs,” employment minister Jason Kenney said in a statement on April 24. “We have repeatedly warned employers that the Temporary Foreign Worker Program must only be used as a last and limited resort when Canadians are not available.” The suspension will put a stop to any new or pending labour market opinion (LMO) applications related to the foodservice sector. At the time of press, it is unclear whether the ban includes hotel workers. The announcement came on the same day the C.D. Howe Institute published a report on the TFWP stating changes made to the program between 2002 and 2012 have made it easier to hire foreign workers which has accelerated the rise in unemployment in Alberta
and British Columbia. “The reversal of some of these changes in 2013 is welcome but probably not sufficient, largely because adequate information is still lacking about the state of the labour market, and because the uniform application fee employers pay to hire TFWs does not adequately increase their incentive to search for domestic workers to fill job vacancies,” Dominique Gross wrote in her C.D. Howe study. Restaurants Canada agreed better labour market information is needed in Canada, but cautioned against further restrictions on the TFWP. Joyce Reynolds, Restaurants Canada’s executive vice-president said the report did not take into account program reforms introduced last year. “Better labour market information is indeed needed to help program administrators assess the seriousness of labour shortages in specific communities and regions of the country,” Reynolds said in a statement. According to Reynolds, many Albertans
Traditional Chinese with a twist Continued from cover
“I’ve always loved the culture of where I am, who I am, where I’ve come from,” said Lee. He said he wants Luckee to “speak the international language” while raising the bar for Chinese food. “Chinese food is not just cheap and cheerful and not greasy and unhealthy,” said Lee, noting it can be creative and complex. “We have a great history,” he said, adding he aimed to merge that foundation with modern innovation. “Of course, the food is still very based in traditional tastes of Chinese, but has a little bit of a twist,” he said. He said Chinese patrons will feel the food is in line with traditional cuisine, but the menu “adds a little bit of creativity”—it’s not the same har gow, siu mai (open-faced dumplings) and cha siu boa. “I want to raise it to another bar—I want to raise the identity of Chinese cooking in North America or even in the world,” said Lee, who wants to lift the stigma surrounding Chinese food, ensure the menu is easy to understand and serve good wine, cocktails and tea. Lee said he wants to make it easy for people to tell others about their experience at Luckee. “It’s hard to describe a cuisine when its culture is so old,” he added. “Traditionally, har gow is a very simple mix of shrimp and also bamboo shoots, white pepper and some corn starch to make it juicy,” said Lee, noting he adds grated, fresh ginger to
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heighten the refreshing quality of a steamed shrimp dumpling. Instead of pork-filled steamed buns (cha siu boa), Lee created a braised back pepper beef bao. The menu’s focus is on flavour, texture, freshness and a bit of invention, said Lee, while maintaining the integrity of Chinese food. On the individual dish menu are items such as Cantonese style spicy black bean lobster, wok-seared chicken and shrimp and Shanghai ham—ham and a confit of pork belly in an osmanthus honey sauce—served with steamed whole wheat buns, mustard, lettuce, cucumber and crispy tofu skin to build sandwiches at the table. Lee’s son Kai designed the beverage menu, which includes an eclectic and extensive wine list, nearly 30 scotches and about a dozen tequila and whisky choices. Kai Lee brought over the popular Ricky Rosé Sangria from Lee and Bent, which he operates with his brother Levi. Available during patio season, the drink uses a French rose and fresh fruit, including mango, strawberries and pineapple. “We’re excited about pairing wine with Asian food,” Kai said. Ontario-native Adam Ashukian is the general manager, bringing with him experience from Vancouver’s C Restaurant, and Four Seasons’ restaurants in Palo Alto, Calif., and in Vancouver at YEW seafood + bar. 328 Wellington St. West, Toronto, 416-935-0400, www.luckeerestaurant.com, @LuckeeTO.
will remember signs on restaurants in the mid-2000s saying “closed due to shortage of workers,” and long lineups at short-staffed restaurants, which the TFWP played a critical role in alleviating. Prior to the moratorium, McDonald’s Canada voluntarily suspended its use of the TFWP, following reports the program was being misused at some of its franchised locations. “We have committed to undertake an independent third party audit of all our corporate and franchised restaurants that employ temporary foreign workers,” the company said in a release. Of its 1,400 restaurants in Canada, the company said only 268 restaurants employ temporary foreign workers, which make up four per cent of the company’s Canadian workforce. Tim Hortons called the TFWP “vital” in a statement. “[We] believe suspending access to responsible users of the program is not an answer to critical labour shortages faced in some markets,” the company said.
CCFCC national convention GATINEAU, QC—The 51st annual Canadian Culinary Federation (CCFCC) national conference is being held May 29 to June 2 at the Gatineau Convention Centre. The schedule of events includes: a presentation on “demystifying foie gras by Rougié” given by chef Thomas Delannoy; Barry Callebaut will share his cacao Q-fermentation method; chef Christine Farkas will speak on using Canadian lentils in menu creation; chef Alain Boyer will present on the art of blue cheese making; and chef Roch Fournier will spotlight beer and chocolate pairing. Nominated for the honour of CCFCC Chef of the Year are Donald “Busch” Dubay for Eastern Region, Shonah Chalmers of Central Region and Doug Overes of Western Region. Lethbridge branch members called Overes 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. Chalmers is a culinary instructor at Humber College and, during her culinary career, has worked in fine dining establishments such as the Rosewater Supper Club, Winston’s, Crowne Plaza Hotel and Noce Restaurant. She was the executive chef at Eagles Nest Golf Club. Chalmers is a Toronto branch member and holds the position of first vice-president on the board of directors. Dubay is a past president of the Nova Scotia Association of Chefs and Cooks and has been a member of the CCFCC for more than 20 years. As a board member of the Nova Scotia Tourism Human Resource Centre, Dubay was part of an apprenticeship taskforce aimed at increasing high school interest in cooking as a career. A high school cooking challenge supplying mentor chefs to schools, Ready Set Cook High School Challenge, has seen more than 350 students participate, with many choosing cooking as a trade. After spending 40 years in the kitchen, Dubay continues working with cooks as an industrial training and certification officer for the apprenticeship program offered in Nova Scotia.
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restaurant nightmare.” Although some relevant information is provided by former health inspectors about potential pitfalls, the majority of the show focuses on anecdotal man-on-the-street interviews about Band-Aids, hair and cooked mice found in dishes; sweeping statements about inspection reports; and other “unsavoury secrets behind the food you’re served” in restaurants, pinpointing and promoting fear in dining out. For many operators, creating a lasting impression is a crucial focus, only now they are battling customers’ preconceived notions and expectations of an unfolding disaster. Through social media, staff training and increased interaction between back of house and the diner, restaurateurs have the opportunity to change the channel on these programs by letting interested patrons have a glimpse behind the scenes. By shaping these memories, you can ensure that when your customers walk out your door, an unforgettable dining experience—rather than a fear of the unknown—is what they’ve got on their minds. Leslie Wu Editorial director
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O N TA R I O R E S TAU R A N T N E W S
emory is a fragile and potentially fleeting construct, and on any given evening, restaurant staff across the country are bustling to create a lasting impression. Through memory, a piece of your restaurant goes out the door with each guest. One could argue that the entire restaurant experience focuses not only on satisfying the diner in the here and now, but on creating a moment for guests to keep with them, and hopefully share with other potential patrons. Given the long-term takeaway is really a memory of the moment in that diner’s mind, can you be sure that a patron remembers your food the way you want them to? Will it be an Instagram pic or the way the perfectly crisped garnish enhanced the velvety texture of the protein underneath? Or will it be something as simple as a misplaced knife or a crooked plate that shapes the diner’s percep-
tion of the night? Thanks to a rising form of “gotcha” television, where shows such as Mystery Diners, Restaurant Stakeout and others conspire to present an idea to your customers that they are being swindled by chaotic front and back of house staff, the memory diners leave with may be very different than expected by the restaurateur. Although the aforementioned examples are U.S. based—with suspiciously clear audio and visuals for supposedly impromptu situations—examples closer to home may impact Canadian diners. In mid-April, at least some of your customers may have been watching a CBC Marketplace exposé on restaurant cleanliness. Promising to take a look at “an industry keeping you in the dark,” the show claims to provide hidden camera access to “a kitchen in chaos and a
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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. 4 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
CORRECTION NOTICE In the April 2014 issue of Ontario Restaurant News in the feature Digital Innovation on page 16 SilverWare’s regional sales manger’s name was misspelled. The correct spelling is Michael Thalassinos. We regret the error.
Melting Pot looking to Canada TAMPA, FL—The Melting Pot Restaurants Inc., has announced a new growth strategy and is seeking franchise partners to expand throughout Canada. The fondue restaurant franchise currently has 136 locations in 35 states and three countries, with a Canadian location in Edmonton. “It’s one our of highest volume units in the system, it does very well, and the brand has been very well received,” Dan Stone, vice-president of franchise development for parent company Front Burner Brands told ORN. The company has plans to open three locations abroad this year in Jakarta, Indonesia, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The brand began in 1975 and started franchising in 1984. The Edmonton location—the company’s first international location—opened in the spring of 2010. According to Stone, there is a US$45,000 franchise fee per unit and a 4.5 per cent royalty fee. The company is looking for singleand multi-unit franchise deals across the country.
Food trucks get ready to roll in Toronto, Kitchener, Waterloo WATERLOO, ON—The city of Waterloo is looking to amend current bylaws, which could make it cheaper for food truck operator licences. The proposal could see fees reduced from more than $2,000 to between $350 and $400. “We’re proposing a fee range similar to that charged in comparable municipalities that have the same regulations in place,”
Shamir Mehta, manager of licensing and standards for Waterloo told the CBC. In neighbouring Kitchener, ON, food truck rules are also up for debate. Currently, Kitchener food trucks must be at least 200 metres from a restaurant. According to the CBC, if new rules are passed that number would drop to 30 metres and 90 metres from schools. In Waterloo, food trucks cannot be parked within 10 metres of a restaurant and 100 metres of a school. Toronto city council recently passed new rules which limit food trucks setting up shop within 50 metres of a restaurant, which according to the Toronto Star will make much of the downtown core off limits. A maximum of two trucks can operate on any block at once and any food truck can only stay for up to three hours a day. Toronto food truck owners will also be required to pay a $5,067 annual fee.
No Canadians on S. Pellegrino top restaurants list again LONDON—The World’s 50 Best Restaurants were announced April 28 and Canadian restaurants were absent from the list, again. The competition—sponsored by S. Pellegrino—also publishes a consolation top 51 to 100 list, on which Canadian restaurants were also missing. Winners were announced at an awards gala in London. Danish restaurant Noma regained its title at number one after a one-year hiatus. Noma has been in the top 50 nine times with three consecutive wins in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Canada has not made the top 50 since the competition’s inaugural year in 2002 when Michael Stadtlander’s Eigensinn Farm took the ninth spot. The following year, it dropped to number 28. Susur Lee’s Susur also made the list in 2002 at 49th place. Spain’s El Celler de Can Roca took second this year and Italy’s Osteria Francescana took third place. The annual list is produced from the
opinions and experiences of more than 900 international restaurant industry experts.
emerit offers international F&B management certification OTTAWA—emerit is now offering Food and Beverage Management International Competency Standards and Certification. This program covers the skills needed to successfully manage food and beverage operations anywhere in the world, from independent restaurants to international hotel and resort chains. The program places successful candidates among the elite of their profession and rewards them with a globally recognized emerit professional designation, Certified International Foodservice Management (CIFM). The certification program and credential was developed by an international committee of food and beverage professionals, and is recognized by major industry players around the world. For more information about emerit resources for tourism and hospitality occupations, visit emerit.ca.
Imvescor opens strategic review MONCTON, NB—Imvescor Restaurant Group Inc. announced on April 28 the company will form a special committee to review strategic alternatives. According to a release, the committee will consider a merger, sale or privatization of the company, strategic alliances and other transactions. Denis Richard, Imvescor’s president and chief executive officer, will assist in the review and Yves Devin has been appointed chief operating officer and will take over daily operations and franchisee relations during the process. “Over the past three years, we established a strong financial position, streamlined our operations and invigorated our brands and franchise networks,” Richard said in a release. “We believe that now is the right time to review strategic alternatives.”
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O N TA R I O R E S TAU R A N T N E W S
Farmhouse Tavern has a daughter By Kristen Smith TORONTO—Darcy MacDonell is applying the same business strategy as his 2012 restaurant Farmhouse Tavern to a new concept with the April 25 opening of Farmer’s Daughter about a block down the street. Located at 1588 Dupont St., MacDonell noted the eatery is closed more than it is open, serving dinner Thursday through Sunday and brunch on weekends. With 38 seats and an additional 40 on the patio, the 1,000-square-foot restaurant features a mix of tables and bar stools, with a twoperson, butcher block chef ’s table looking into the kitchen and room for 12 along the main bar and a separate seating counter. MacDonell calls the décor more urban, sleek and modern than that of Farmhouse Tavern. “The room is basically black and white with colour accents,” he told ORN. Black subway tiles line the lower half of the walls and the top half is painted white. A neon sign reads: fried shrimp and friendship. MacDonell said the menu features lighter fare and has more of a seafood influence than Farmhouse Tavern, which is known to focus on meat dishes. Chef de cuisine Leonie Lilla, of Daisho
Chefs James Day (left) and Kirk Walters.
and Libertine, heads up the kitchen and will craft the dishes on Farmer’s Daughter’s often changing menu board. The appetizer, entrée and brunch menus feature between four and five items, such as fried shrimp, an octopus and mussel dish, a surf and turf burger, crab meat stuffed croque monsieur and waffles served with brown sugar butter and topped with fried frog legs. MacDonell estimates average check for brunch will range from $11 to $13 and fall between $9 and $23 for dinner. Farmer’s Daughter’s bar program, headed up by bar manager Renata Clingen, highlights a mix of classic cocktails and innovative drinks using local, fresh ingredients. Named for The Incredible Hulk, the Bruce Banner is mixed at the table using dry white wine, honeydew, pear, lemon and basil. The Tell Tall Tart is made up of beef heart fat-infused bourbon, Black Mission Fig Bitters and vanilla syrup. Ontario craft brews and a dozen red and white Canadian and international wines round out Farmer’s Daughter’s beverage selections. Cocktail and wine prices range from $9 to $13. 1588 Dupont St., Toronto. 416-546-0626. @DupontDaughter.
Lou and Sue Biffis, Nottawasaga Resort.
Celebrating Simcoe County hospitality ALLISTON, ON—The Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association and ORHMA Simcoe Region celebrated the hospitality and tourism members in the county at an annual gala, fundraiser and awards ceremony on April 24 at Nottawasaga Inn Resort & Conference Centre. ORHMA president and chief executive officer Tony Elenis noted that the 160 people in attendance all work in some sort of building, but it’s the people who work there that drive its success. “People behind the scenes and people on stage drive the magic formula of today’s success, which is about customer experiences and points of difference,” said Elenis. “Through these awards tonight we are honouring people beyond the grand winners, beyond all the qualified individuals, we are honouring the entire hospitality industry and all those individuals working in hotels, restaurants and the supply chain across this beautiful Simcoe County,” he said. The Simcoe Region of the ORHMA presented awards across the hospitality industry. The Local Chef of the Year Award went to Rudy Albunag of Nottawasaga Resort. Don Buckle, of Cranberry Resort was awarded Hospitality Manager of the Year. Flying Monkey’s Brewery in Barrie, ON, was given the Foodservice and
Farmer’s Daughter bar. Bottom left: Chef Leonie Lilla (left) and owner Darcy MacDonell. Bottom right: Farmer’s Daughter interior.
Hospitality Supplier of the Year Award. Steve Jones, Nottawasaga Resort, was given then ORHMA Simcoe Region Heart of the House Award, which is presented to someone exemplifying hard word and industry dedication. Lou Biffis, Nottawasaga Resort founder, was recognized with the region’s Industry Recognition Award. Six area chefs faced off for the Silver Plate Award preparing dishes for 160 attendees. Nottawasaga Resort chef James Day took home the honours receiving the most votes for his dish. People’s Choice Awards winners included: favourite server Adriana Medeiros from Nottawasaga Resort; favourite bartender Ryan Zaroski, The Ranch, Barrie, ON; Barrie’s Jack Astor’s picked up favourite restaurant; Hanna Milne, from Snow Valley Ski Resort, received the Hospitality and Tourism Ambassador Award; and Casino Rama won in the categories of favourite accommodations facility and favourite recreation and tourism facility. “We hope to continue running this event annually … in support and recognition of our industry’s best and brightest stars,” said ORHMA Simcoe Region chair John Cunningham. The event raised more than its $15,000 goal, which will go to help students in the hospitality program at Georgian College.
CAFP national conference OTTAWA— The Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals (CAFP) national president Thomas Holzschuher said the annual conference, held in Ottawa in late April, was a huge success. “The conference agenda was packed with fun, entertainment and full of education starting with three pre-conference tours at the HFS Food Production Centre, a walking tour of historic Ottawa and a tour of the House of Commons and other downtown Ottawa landmarks,” Holzschuher said in an email. CFE chairperson Judy-Ann Wybenga, who hosted the opening lunch, handed out 10 Credentialed Food Executive (CFE) designations. Brian Emmerton and Tom Mitchell were both awarded diamond level CFE designations, the highest level of the program. Educational sessions included: life as a food truck operator by Steven Dupras and Glen Galbraith; World’s Best Sommelier competition runner up Veronique Rivest talked about food and wine pairings; and Chris Knight spoke about the birth of a food network, Gusto. The three regional Food Executive of the Alicia Garcia, CAFP Foodservice Executive of the Year.
Year finalists were presented to Esther Archibald CFE from the New Brunswick branch, Angelo Colalillo from the Toronto branch and Alicia Garcia from the London branch, who was also named 2014 Food Executive of the Year. The executive committee for 2014/2015 was elected at the annual general meeting: Holzschuher is national president; Andrea Gillespie CFE is president elect; the secretary/ treasurer position is held by Dwayne Botchar; Marc Haine is the vice-president of student development; the vice-president of sponsorship is Angelo Colalillo; Vanessa MacLellan is the marketing vice-president; Lezlie Smith is the membership vice-president; and Elaine Robichaud is the vice-president of professional development. This year, nine students from across the country received the Aramark Gold Plate Award and the overall winner of the National Gold Plate Award went to Meghan Todd of Acadia University. Next year’s conference will be held in May in Fredericton, NB. Meghan Todd (right) being presented the National Gold Plate Award by Brian Emmerton.
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Wildfire goes Cosmopolitan in downtown Toronto By Colleen Isherwood, Senior contributing editor TORONTO—Wildfire Steakhouse and Wine BarhasbeenaneighbourhoodfixtureonYonge Streetbetween LawrenceandYork Millsfor12 years,andnowownerJodyNesshasbroughthis well-known eatery to the downtown CosmopolitanHotelonColborneStreet.Nextonhis agendaistospreadWildfiretoOshawa,ON,this summer,andBarriebytheendoftheyear. Wildfire Cosmopolitan took shape quickly, SarahLieberman,Ness’executiveassistant,told ORN. “TherestaurantusedtobecalledEight.We tookoverownershipinJanuary,andhadafast turnaroundincludingeverythingfromfloorsto walls. The renovations were done in 12 days— theonlythingthatwasn’trenovatedwasthebartop,”shesaid. TherestauranthaditssoftopeningonFeb.2, andgrandopeningonApril3. There are many similarities between the North York and downtown locations—both serve steak and lobster, signature ribs and piri piriPortugueseinspiredchicken. But,Liebermanpointedout,theoriginallocationismuchlarger,with220seatsasopposed tojust90attheCosmopolitan. “Ithasadifferentfeel,”shesaidoftheCosmopolitan location. “At the original location there is more dark cherry wood; it’s more traditional.Thisoneismorerusticurbanchicwith barnboard.” WhilethereisalivelobstertankattheNorth York location, there’s no space for one at the smallerCosmopolitanlocation.
Lobster, ribs and piri piri chicken Specialities at both places include double baconwrappedfiletwithCubanlobstertailfor $64 (8 oz.) or $69 (10 oz.), and Wildfire back ribswithhandcutfriesandseasonalvegetables ($34). Another favourite, piri piri half chicken churrascowithgarlicmashedpotatoesandseasonalvegetables,costs$27. NessistheexecutivechefforWildfire,coming up with the original recipes. He has hired JoshLauderaskitchenmanagerattheCosmopolitanlocation. Askedaboutthemostpopulardishes,Lauder mentions the top cut sirloin, short ribs and rib-eye.“Wehavetheabilitytobringinatomahawk—aribsteakupto56oz.withagiantbone attached. It’s a showpiece—generally you share it. There’s more demand than you’d think,” he added.
After-work nibbles Lauder has come up with seven different itemsasbarnibblesfortheafter-workcrowdat Wildfire’sCosmopolitanlocation. One of the most notable is his meat loaf cupcakes—agrilledvegetableandgroundtenderloin meatball served with a chipotle carrot puree.Lauderdabsalittlelimechipotleketchup on top of the meatball and finishes it off with piped cumin mashed potato, beef demi-glaze andbaconbits. “They’readorable—theylooklikelittlecupcakeswhenthey’redone,”saysLieberman. Another favourite is mushroom ragout—a mushroom combination done with fine herbs and garlic and reduced in whipping cream. Lauder uses sweet hen-of-the-wood mush-
roomsandoysterandshiitakemushrooms. Ness,whohostsandproducesWine Portfolio, a wine, food and lifestyle show on CNBC World,hasapassionforwine.AttheNorthYork location,hehas900selectionsonthewinelist and6,000bottlesinstock. “Here,there’saselectionofabout100wines, including wines by the glass,” said Lieberman. “Therearemorebeerdrinkershere.” A look at the wine list shows seven whites, 10redsandonesparklingwinebytheglass,at pricesrangingfrom$9to$19. Mixed drinks include the Five Star Cosmo, consisting of Pravda Vodka, Grand Marnier, cranberry juice and lime for $12; and Toronto VicewhichincludesIceVodka,icewine,ginger andmangonectar.AWildfireSignatureCaesar containsspices,steakhousesauce,garlic,clamato,tigershrimp,olive,hotpepperandapearl onion. “Workinghereinthefinancialdistrict,we’re looking to build our lunch business—to have guests bring clients here to stop in for a brief lunch,”notedLieberman.
Working with Cosmo TheCosmopolitanHotelandWildfireSteakhouseandBararetwocompletelyseparatebusinesses,buttheyworktogetherwell,sheadds. “Ifwegrow,theygrow.Weworktogetherto marketeachother—we’rebothoneachother’s websites,andwe’reincludedinalotofe-blasts. TherearejointVIPspecialsatthehotelandrestaurant,”Liebermannoted. 8 Colborne St., Toronto, 416-350-8188, www. wildfiresteakhouse.com, @wildfiretoronto.
Josh Lauder, kitchen manager.
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O N TA R I O R E S TAU R A N T N E W S
Dec oDi ng th e D ata
the value equation By James Fok, NPD Group Over time, Canadian full service restaurants— casual dining in particular—have been vulnerable to consumers’ tendency to downgrade to restaurants with lower meal costs. Historically that trade down has been to lower-priced, quick service restaurants as consumers look to manage spending. Recently, the new kid on the block “fast casual” has also been the beneficiary of customers choosing to trade down, driven by a lower price point while promoting higher quality food items, similar to casual dining.
Primary reason for visiting Consumers tell us they visit restaurants for a variety of reasons. CREST combines data on consumer attitudes and behaviours into nine “needs states” (beyond convenience), describing features that influence the visit decision. We found the “value equation” is a key motivator in driving restaurant traffic. Weak traffic suggests that casual dining outlets are not delivering against customer expectations related to the value equation.
Perceptions of value A review of traffic distribution by average check range for supper reveals where the bulk of the traffic falls by price point. Consumers
are paying considerably more for their meal than they were five years ago. At supper, nearly 50 per cent of consumers are paying more than $20, up from 37 per cent in 2009. Casual dining operators must find ways to manage their menus to promote the value equation, recognizing that consumers are willing to pay more for menu items they perceive to be higher quality or innovative. Both of these factors are critical in permitting meal costs that are more in line with menu offerings that hit consumers’ value expectations.
Deals impact on value perception Offering deals has been a visit driver for casual dining concepts in Canada and there is little doubt that promotions have helped to curb traffic losses during and subsequent to the recession. Casual dining outlets ramped up their promotional offers, reaching an all-time high in 2013 at 23 per cent of all visits. Consumers express higher levels of satisfaction with their visit in terms of “good value for the money” and “affordable to eat there often” when a deal is involved. A rating of “excellent” on these two key visit satisfaction measures is consistently higher when a deal is used. However, we must remember that non-deal visits account for a much higher share of visits at 77 per cent. Today, when issues such as building and
Source: NPD Group/CREST
retaining a loyal customer base are necessary to maintaining and growing share position, high scores on these satisfaction measures are needed to drive traffic.
Addressing the need While a variety of consumer needs must be met, the one that has the greatest leverage on traffic recovery is the value equation. Featuring and promoting meals in price ranges perceived
as delivering the greatest value may be difficult in today’s marketplace, especially in light of forecasted high food cost inflation. The challenge is to understand what resonates most strongly with your customers and use that knowledge to develop winning price strategies and effective marketing programs. James Fok is a foodservice client development manager for NPD Group.
CASL: spam canary in the consumer mine
By Larry Mogelonsky, www.lma.ca The world of email marketing is about to undergo yet another earth-shattering change. Well, at least in Canada it is. In case you aren’t aware of the latest parliamentary actions, it’s critical that you circle, star and double underline the day of Tuesday, July 1, 2014 because
that is when the first of three overtures of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) takes effect. Designed with the intention of protecting Canadian consumers, it has vast and profound consequences for those using electronic marketing. The new law essentially functions as the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 on steroids, requiring users to expressly opt-in for solicitor emails, whereas before this was regulated via an unsubscribe, or opt-out, functionality. A business must now have this consent or a documented, pre-existing business to consumer relationship prior to any consumer electronic message. This pertains to all digital materials sent by or accessed by computer systems within Canada. The second phase takes effect six months later on Jan. 15, 2015, focusing on provisions related to program installations for computers, tablets, smartphones and any other softwarebased device, helping thwart malicious downloads. The final phase, effective July 1, 2017, aims to enable statutory private rights of action against spammers. With enforcement by agencies as well as the courts, noncompliance fines will range from $200 per message to upwards of $10 million with robust capacity for personal as well as class action proceedings. Importantly, because of its emphasis on computer systems physically located within
Canadian borders, it restrains both Canadian hospitality companies as well as foreign operators looking to penetrate the Canadian market. If iterations of CASL catch on in other larger markets, it will make email and mobile marketing for hotels and restaurants a very thorny game to play without accruing penalties. When the jig is up, so to speak, marketers will have to look to other channels to effectively build relationships with consumers, even those where the rates of return aren’t nearly as lucrative as harvested subscriber lists or snail mail. The likely candidate will be social media or a budgetary resurgence for retargeting advertisements. Perhaps this will mark a renaissance for the more physical sales tactics such as tradeshows or magazines. July is just around the corner. Everyone values their electronic marketing activity, but now you need to take steps to validate your databases. If you have established B2C relationships with, for example, past guests, then you have no worries. However, if you are unsure how your database has been obtained, you may want to distribute confirmations requesting that individuals verify their acceptance of your communications. Cleaning up databases has always been important; now it’s essential. I see this as the beginning of the end for
spam and its marketing capabilities. As this, along with any subsequent action in other countries, will reduce your company’s supposed sales funnel, it’s critical that you make every B2C opportunity count. The future will favour conversion rate over reach. In the meantime, whether you are in Canada, the U.S. or overseas, you had better get together a compliance team to audit your current operations and implement necessary changes prior to July 1. Larry Mogelonsky is the president and founder of LMA Communications Inc. (www.lma.ca), a full service communications agency focused on the hospitality industry since 1991. Larry is also a registered professional engineer, an associate of G7 Hospitality and author of Are You an Ostrich or a Llama? and Llamas Rule.
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Madisons New York Grill & Bar.
COMING EVENTS May 12: Terroir Hospitality Industry Symposium, Arcadian Court, Toronto. www.terroirsymposium.com
May 29: Kampai Toronto (sake festival). The Historic Distillery District, Toronto. kampaitoronto.com
June 2&3: ORHMA 15th Annual General Meeting and 11th Annual Provinical Golf Tournament. www.orhma.com
May 17–20: National Restaurant Association Show, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL. show.restaurant.org
May 29-31: Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference. Fredericton, NB. www.canadianbrewingawards.com
June 6: 80th anniversary Food & Allied Industries Golf Tournament. www.foodandalliedgolf.ca
May 24: We Care Gala & Awards Dinner, International Centre, Mississauga, ON. www.friendsofwecare.org
May 28–June 2: CCFCC National Convention 2014, Gatineau Convention Center, Gatineau, QC. www.ccfcc.ca
June 13–21: Ontario Craft Beer Week. Various locations in the province. www.ocbweek.ca
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MTY buys Madisons, moves into casual dining MONTREAL—MTY Food Group announced April 10 that its subsidiary MTY Tiki Ming Enterprises Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire the Madisons New York Grill & Bar concept in Canada for $13 million. This is the franchisor and operator of multiple quick service concepts’ first foray into the casual dining segment. According to a release, the acquisition will be made via a new subsidiary, which will be 90 per cent owned by MTY with the other 10 per cent owned by the new vicepresident of the brand, Gilles Pépin, who facilitated the transaction. The deal is scheduled to close by June 10. “We are pleased to make our entry in the casual dining segment through a brand as reputable as Madisons,” said MTY CEO Stanley Ma in a release. “This opens the door to a segment of the foodservice [industry] that has been very strong in the last few years and that is expected to continue its strong performance in the future.” Chief financial officer Eric Lefebvre said while the company has been focused on QSR—noting that its Tutti Futti brand does have table service in the breakfast day part—MTY was actively looking to acquire a franchise in the casual dining segment. Madisons has 14 franchised restaurants in Quebec. System wide sales were $40 million for the 2013 calendar year. “Madisons is very profitable. There is a lot of potential, first in Quebec, but also outside of Quebec,” Lefebvre told ORN. “It’s a good way for us to take our first steps into casual dining.” He said there is still a lot of room for expansion of the brand in the province and MTY is not putting a timeline on moving outside of Quebec. “It’s the type of restaurant that would do well pretty much anywhere we want to launch it, if it’s executed properly, in the rest of Canada or even the U.S. for that matter,” said Lefebvre. Following the transaction, the operations of the franchisor will be relocated to MTY’s existing offices in Ville St-Laurent, Quebec. The closing of the transaction remains subject to several closing conditions as well as standard regulatory approvals. U.S. operations are excluded from the transaction.
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A spiked milkshake, Senator Restaurant.
Raising the bar: HOW TO MANAGE A PROFITABLE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE PROGRAM By Jonathan Zettel, assistant editor
rom culinary cocktails to local craft beer and Ontario wines, bars across the province have been serving up creative concoctions and using tried-and-true methods to captivate guests and boost sales. This month, ORN takes an in-depth look at the industry to find ways for bar operators to increase profits.
Rule #1: don’ t pour money down the drain We have all seen it: beer foam being spooned off the top of a pint into the drain; bartenders free-pouring vodka, counting internally to five or six for a single shot; unchecked free drinks for friends and regular customers; and bottles tipped or full trays flipped with glasses of wine spilling to the floor. While each instance on its own may seem small, when you add them up on a continuous basis, it’s an easy translation—this is money being poured
Experts say bartenders must account for every ounce to maintain a profitable bar.
down the drain. According to Vanessa De Caria, chief operating officer and Ontario regional director of BevIntel, some bar owners are losing between 14 and 28 per cent of their beverage inventory and, if kept unchecked, it could mean significant losses for the business. “You have to take inventory to understand where your losses are,” De Caria tells ORN. Whether it is spillage, broken bottles, or bottles missing from the order sheet, De Caria says everything in the bar needs to be accounted for. “Software is not going to prevent loss at your bar, you really need to control assets with unit analysis,” she says. Staying on top of sales and being invested on a daily basis are key. “We’re truth merchants,” De Caria says. “We’re keeping honest people honest.”
Shaken, not stirred Inside the Senator Restaurant, located the heart of Toronto’s downtown core, glass jars of infused liquor sit behind the diner-style bar. As part of the newly created cocktail list, there’s vodka infused with ginseng and gin infused with Earl Grey tea which are mixed with ingredients such as organic milk and maple syrup, hand-squeezed orange juice and honey straight from the owner’s apiary. “A lot of what we’ve done with the cocktails is to allow us to have conversations with customers,” says general manager Peter Moscone, who has been with the company for a year. Prior to completely revamping the cocktail list, Moscone says the restaurant served a Canadian Russian (rye, coffee liqueur, milk and maple syrup) to test the waters and see how a well-crafted, premium ingredient cocktail would sell. The result, Moscone says, was resounding approval from the customer base prompting a move to hire a bartender and create a full cocktail list. “I think the cocktail program is a really good representation of the philosophy of who we are and what we do,” says Moscone who points
to the popularity of the program as being directly tied to the use of local, premium products. “We have 40 suppliers, most places only have one.” Nearly all the Tim Morse, the Senator Restaurant. recipes on the cocktail menu are original creations ury channel, Jordan Stacey, Absoby bartender Tim Morse, who was lut brand ambassador and Kirsten hired on full time for the launch of Devitt, senior manager, on premise the cocktail program. According to trade marketing—consumers are Morse, flare bartending used to be moving to more premium offerconsidered the highest quality of a ings across all major categories. “Bars and bartenders are bebartender, but this is no longer the coming increasingly more interestcase. “In Toronto, it’s more about in- ed in where spirit products come novation,” says Morse, adding bar- from and how they are made,” the tenders are venturing to New York report states. “They really enjoy and bringing trends north with using products that are craft or small batch and are intrigued by original twists. It’s a movement echoed in a traditional or previously underreport from Corby Spirits and used spirits.” The report also notes a resurWine: “Innovation has become a key growth lever in the industry gence of Canadian whisky through through format, ingredient and flavoured and premium options. The reports says beer cocktails are category expansions.” According to the report—a “now gaining traction with a larger collaboration by Stuart Shap- audience” and allow operators to iro, senior manager, insights and boost spirit sales in the summer, strategic planning, Kelley Burns- during a period when beer sales are Coady, commercial manager, lux- higher and spirit sales slump.
M AY 2 01 4
A view from Flat Rock Cellars. (Courtesy)
According to a Statistics Canada report released in early April, nationwide wine sales are up nearly five per cent from 2012. While beer (which showed a slight 0.1 per cent decrease in sales) remains the most popular alcoholic beverage in Canada, wine continues to grow its profit share. Over the last ten years, wine sales have grown from 24 to 32 per cent of the overall market. In 2013, sales totaled $6.8 billion. This growth, says Edward Madronich, president of Flat Rock
Cellars, is partially due to growing interest among baby boomers, but adds it also speaks to a growing culture of food and wine. “We haven’t been doing it for a 100 years,” says Madronich. “I think we are developing the food and wine culture and, obviously, when we develop that culture we’ll consume more wine.” Madronich says one of the biggest trends right now is the move to a localized wine list. He says he is hearing stories of sales dramatically
improving after operators moved away from Old World wines. “One restaurateur doubled wine sales by going to Ontario-only wines,” he says, noting wine is one local agricultural product you can have on your menu all year round. “There’s a financial incentive for restaurants to draw more revenue because people understand the value and the cost of local wines,” Madronich says. Neil Robinson, general manager of the Charcoal Steakhouse in Kitchener, ON, says building a relationship with local wineries is a key to a healthy wine program. “You really want to be able to tell a story with every product,” says Robinson. While more people may be asking for local wines, he also points out it is extremely important to ensure staff is trained. Robinson says he has sent staff to the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) in order to help build a wine culture in his restaurant. Robinson also mentioned a growing trend—which has been popular in Europe for some time and widely available on the West Coast—to offer wine on tap.
Rules and Regulations 1. MUSIC IS NOT FREE. Under the Canadian Copyright Law, restaurants require licences to play recorded and live music within the establishment. According to Marie-Josie Dupre, director of industry relations with SOCAN, restaurants playing background music—despite whether or not the music has previously been paid for—would require a minimum license of $95 per year. Fees increase based on how pivotal music is for an operation, for example, if a venue plays live music, fees will increase. “It’s the way that music creators are paid for creating songs,” Dupre says, adding licences allow operators to play international music as well because SOCAN has reciprocal deals with similar international associations. Restaurants can also participate in SOCAN’s recently launched License to Play (L2P) program, which provides a sticker for the establishment’s front window. 2. LLBO IS NO MORE. Some restaurants across the province display the acronym LLBO—which stands for the Liquor License Board of Ontario—on the storefront to notify customers the establishment serves alcohol. The LLBO no longer exists and was replaced in 1998 by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). The AGCO can provide operators with storefront stickers to inform customers the establishment serves alcohol. 3. INFUSING LIQUOR IS LEGAL. According to Jeff Keay, director of communications with the AGCO, “licensees can infuse their alcohol to use in cocktail mixes, provided it is labelled and not done in the original liquor bottle.” Keay also notes bars that reduce liquors with other ingredients to create syrups for cocktails “should be fine,” as long as the alcohol is purchased under the liquor licence. 4. TRAIN SMARTER SERVERS. Leslie Smith, executive director of Smart Serve Ontario, says the key differentiator of any establishment is education. “The best way to ensure the best experience for your customer is to make sure your staff—everyone who works in the place—know what they are doing and are well trained,” Smith says. Most managers assume servers come into the restaurant armed with a Smart Serve certification, however Smith points out the really good operators will reinforce the principles of the program on a shift-by-shift basis. “There’s too much at stake for everyone’s personal safety not to be doing that,” Smith says.
For the love of beer When Erin Gamelin opened Stout Irish Pub three years ago in Toronto’s Cabbagetown, she made it clear from day one the bar would only sell craft beer and called on the Ontario Craft Brewers to connect with local breweries. “We’re a bar called Stout and we don’t even sell Guinness,” Gamelin said, adding there was some backlash from customers in the beginning, but says that controversy ultimately played in the pub’s favour. While taps across the province are still dominated by the big three brewers, Gamelin argues it is more profitable to deal exclusively with craft brewers. “I don’t understand why other restaurateurs don’t look at the price difference,” she says. According to Gamelin, craft beer is usually less expensive per keg and can lead to significant savings over time. With 21 taps and more than 100 bottle selections, nearly 80 per cent of the bar’s sales come from beer. For operators looking to change up the taps, Gamelin recommends seeking out a local brewery and opening a dialogue to find something that might work in an establishment. Mirella Amato, master cicerone (beer sommelier) and author of recently published Beerology, says making sure staff is properly educated is even more important than determining what types of beer your customers might want. “With the trend of craft beer being so big,”
she says, “a lot of establishments are bringing in those beers but they haven’t taken the time to educate their staff and customers and without that missing piece it is very difficult to move those beers.” Amato says staff should have an understanding of basic beer types and be confident in recommending something from the draft selection. “Having knowledgeable staff will draw people in,” she says. Amato says it is also important to educate customers: ensure menus have clear descriptions and alcohol contents so customers can make informed decisions; and run events to connect customers with local brewers, so they can learn the story of where the beer is coming from. She says beer needs to be treated well which means keeping beer lines and beer glasses clean. “Unfortunately, there’s a huge margin between clean and beer clean,” Amato says. It’s something Jeff Rogowsky, director of sales for Ontario and Western Canada, UBC Group, knows all too well, pointing to some horror stories he’s come across in his five years working on draft systems. “It’s all hidden away from customers and it’s literally coming out of a
black hole,” Rogowsky says. According to Rogowsky, it is important for operators to understand how the draft system is supposed to run. “Installing draft beer systems is not a professional or licensed trade like a carpenter or an electrician, so you don’t have any set standards across the industry, which is a huge problem in Canada.” As with installation, there are no standards for how often beer lines must be cleaned, Rogowsky says. Companies such as Betterbeer. com are trying to create a standard for clean draft systems. “The bacteria that can develop in your beer system can make you sick, but it’s not the sort of strain that can kill
you … which is why there isn’t more of a standard,” Rogowsky says. Rogowsky says knowing the material used in the beer system is important because historically some installations use chrome-plated brass faucets. Over time, the chrome plating can wear away. Rogowsky recommends moving to stainless steel to avoid offflavouring the beer.
Erin Gamelin, owner of Stout Irish Pub. Photo by Roger Carlsen Photography.
O N TA R I O R E S TAU R A N T N E W S
BeverageNews A MONTHLY REPORT ON THE BEVERAGE INDUSTRY
CCOVI takes over Cuvée By Leslie Wu NIAGARA FALLS, ON—There was a passing of the glass at this year’s Cuvée celebration, when it was announced that the 26-year-old event would now be organized by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) rather than the Niagara Community Foundation, the co-ordinator for the past 11 years. The event featured 50 Ontario wineries pouring their winemaker’s choice picks at the Grand Ballroom at the Fallsview Casino Resort in late February. Local chefs at the Grand Tasting Gala, including Ray Taylor from Fallsview Casino Resort, Frank Dodd from Trius Winery Restaurant at Hillebrand and chef professors, culinary students and members of the Canadian Junior Culinary Olympic Team, prepped a constant stream of small plates for
attendees. During the evening, the Cuvée Award of Excellence in Viticulture was presented to Ron Koop of Koop Farms Limited. Tony Aspler was on hand to give his namesake Tony Aspler Cuvée Award of Excellence to Moray Tawse from Tawse Winery. Brian Hutchings, Brock University’s vice-president of finance and administration, called the CCOVI’s new role a natural fit, since it supports students and researchers who will help the industry grow in future years. Both history and its role in shaping future generations was still a theme on the minds of the winemakers and other industry professionals that gathered the following day at Brock University for the Experts Tasting, an annual trade event examining varietal themes and techniques. As the assembled guests challenged themselves with blind tast-
ings and celebrated the event’s 25-year history, some of those recognized with VQA Promoters’ Awards took the opportunity to acknowledge the next wave of winemaking talent in Ontario. “There’s more young people in the industry than before, asking the right questions,” said lifetime achievement award winner and viticulturist Lloyd Schmidt. Other award winners included chef Erik Peacock, Wellington Court Restaurant, for hospitality, wine writer David Lawrason for media, and LCBO writer/researcher David Churchill, whose posthumous award was received by wife Rose to a standing ovation in the room. Next year’s Cuvée—which will include a weekend of events with wineries and Niagara restaurants—will fund student bursaries and wine-related research.
Right: Tony Aspler (pictured) was on hand to give his namesake award to to Moray Tawse from Tawse Winery. Bottom: Wine writer David Lawrason won a VQA Promoters’ Award.
A refreshing tasting
in a tall can, made with real tequila.
(licensee price) (includes taxes and refundable deposit)
Now available at the LCBO
ACTUAL SIZE • GLUTEN FREE PRICE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE
Above: Mary Delany pouring Bachelder Wismer Vineyard Chardonnay 2011.
For further details, please contact Churchill Cellars Ltd. At 416-368-5108 or visit www.churchillcellars.com
New sommelier scholarships created by Wolf Blass winery TORONTO—Wolf Blass announced the creation of the Wolfgang Blass Scholarship through The Guild of Sommeliers. The scholarship supports sommelier education and professional development. The Guild estimated that 10 Canadian candidates could be awarded a $795 scholarship this year to help cover costs of travel and fees for the Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced exam and course. According to a release, candidates must live and work in Canada and demonstrate financial need and professional merit. Winery founder Wolf Blass said he was honoured to partner with the Guild of Sommeliers: “I am thrilled to support individuals who demonstrate passion and dedication
within the wine industry. Canada, in particular, holds great memories for me, and I’m very proud to give back to a country that has warmly embraced our wines for over thirty years.” The Guild said in a statement it is grateful for the support promoting sommelier education. The advanced sommelier course is a three-day long program taught by master sommeliers that explores the CMS standards in beverage sales and service. It is designed to help prepare candidates for sitting the associated exam. The exam consists of a three-day assessment given in three segments: a blind tasting of six wines, a written theory examination and a practical service examination.
M AY 2 01 4
BeverageNews A MONTHLY REPORT ON THE BEVERAGE INDUSTRY
Iron Arse Ale for cancer
Enforcing liquor laws Br i e f s
OT TAWA — Big Rig Brewery has released a limited edition Iron Arse Ale with all proceeds going to the Ride for Dad charity. Ride for Dad—which has raised more than $3 million in the Ottawa area alone—supports prostate cancer research and raising public awareness about early diagnosis. “It’s a fantastic organization,” brewmaster Lon Ladell told ORN. “There’s not enough organizations like that and Big Rig is proud to be a part of it.” The beer, named after Ride for Dad’s Iron Arse barbeque sauce, will be sold in 64-ounce growlers and 22-ounce bombers, through Big Rig’s retail store. Iron Arse Ale is a 5.2 per cent ABV amber ale. On April 29, Ride for Dad kicked off its season at the brewery.
Ontario Brewing Awards TORONTO—The 11th annual Ontario Brewing Awards were announced on April 4 at The Gladstone Hotel in Toronto. More than 45 breweries from across the province entered 251 different beers, which were evaluated in a blind tasting by a team of certified beer judges. Roger Mittag, founder of Beerlicious, hosted the event and said it was exciting to see 13 new breweries enter the competition. “I’m thrilled to see the amount of entries in really complex categories like strong beer, barrel-aged and also American Pale Ale and IPA,” Mittag said in an email. Muskoka Brewery’s Cream Ale was named Beer of the Year and The Publican House Brewery took home Newcomer of the Year for its Publican House. A complete list of winners is available on www.ontariorestaurantnews.com.
Wine sales up, beer sales down slightly: StatsCan OTTAWA—Canadians are drinking more wine and spirits and less beer, according to Statistics Canada. The report gathered data from controlled alcohol sales nationwide and showed a 2.2 per cent rise in spending to $21.4 billion for the year. Beer remains the number one alcoholic beverage consumed by Canadians with $9.1 billion sold last year, but is down 0.1 per cent from 2012. Wine sales grew by 4.9 per cent in 2013 with total sales of $6.8 billion. Liquor sales increased with a 2.9 per cent gain for a total of $5.4 billion, with liqueur sales showing the greatest increase.
TORONTO—The Alcohol and Gaming Commision of Ontario (AGCO) has told the city of Toronto it will no longer enforce some conditions for the maintenance of a liquor licence. According to an article in the Toronto Star on April 8, AGCO will no longer enforce litter and noise, among other violations. “We have expressed our concern to the city of Toronto that some conditions don’t really fall within our expertise and mandate to enforce the Liquor Licence Act,” AGCO spokesperson Jeff Keay said in an email to ORN, adding the changes were “not new” and part of “ongoing discussions.” According to Keay, the AGCO tends to focus on: intoxication, service to minors, hours of operation, overcrowding and violent/ illegal behaviour. Councillor Gord Perks told the Toronto Star only the AGCO has the “teeth” to deal with problem owners because, although city inspectors can enforce bylaws, the penalties are small.
As a result of the AGCO move on policing policies, city council passed a motion on April 1, which would make it more difficult to get a licence. “Because the province has walked away from its responsibility, everyone who wants a liquor licence in Toronto is going to have to go through the meat grinder,” Perks told the Toronto Star. “Even if you just want to sell a sandwich and a beer, you’re going to be treated the same as the guy opening a nightclub for 400 people.” New licensees will have to obtain a letter of approval from their local MPP and attend the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Safe Bars program, the Toronto Star reported. The AGCO said it remains committed to striking a balance among all parties, licensees, municipalities and within communities to ensure compliance with regulations. “We will continue to collaborate with the city of Toronto and other Ontario municipalities,” Keay said.
Coca-Cola’s Windsor, ON, distribution centre.
Coca-Cola opens in Windsor WINDSOR, ON—Coca-Cola Canada opened a new distribution centre in Windsor, ON, in February. According to an April release, the new facility will allow the beverage company to better serve the city and the Greater Essex area. “Coca-Cola is pleased to be creating jobs and investment in Windsor at our new distribution centre. We are a global company, but we know our strength comes from the com-
munities we serve,” Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada president John Guarino said in the release. The distribution centre employs 15 and is open five days a week, shipping to more than 1,000 customers in municipalities including Tilbury, Leamington, Kingsville and Belle River. The company has signed a 10year lease on the 6,000-square-foot facility located at 3215 Electricity Dr.
SETTING THE TABLE Current trends in plating, menus, accessories and other key tabletop elements
By Don Douloff
hen creating tabletops that pop, it’s crucial to remember one rule of thumb: the eye eats first. Even before customers have taken a bite or a sip, your tabletop has made an impression and, if properly conceived, has started the dining experience on the right note. “Restaurants are having a lot of fun and stepping outside the box,” Tableware Solutions Ltd. president Bill Horosko told ORN. “Our lifestyle has created the demand for a higher perceived value on every aspect, and the restaurateur is not isolated in this fact. Everyone is trying to outdo the other.” According to Horosko, adding another dimension to service “is not overly expensive”—good news for restaurateurs’ bottom lines. Olive wood appetizer platter. (Photo courtesy of Tableware Solutions)
ON THE MENU When it comes to menus, the physical document is taking on inventive formats, reflecting customers’ changing needs, expectations and the experience restaurateurs aim to deliver. With the rise of mobile devices, people have become more accustomed to high-density information presented clearly in a small format, says Chad Roberts, creative director at Chad Roberts Design, a Toronto graphic design studio with a number of restaurants in its portfolio. “Traditionally, a large, imposing menu has indicated quality and sophistication,” Roberts told ORN. “We’re finding that today a large menu is seen as overbearing and creates an expectation of high prices. Large menus are also cumbersome and can inhibit socializing and conversation around the table
Wooden plank bar menu, from Menu-plus.
due to their size,” he said. In contrast, menus that are smaller, visually engaging and concise “feel informal and approachable and communicate quality through execution,” says Roberts. In the same way that a chef opts to let fresh, top-notch ingredients carry a dish, a small well-designed menu “conveys a sense of understated confidence.” Roberts says date-stamped daily menus are also trendy, which “imply that a chef is in tune with seasonal availability and is constantly creating new dishes based on currently available ingredients.” Date stamping can also foster a more unique experience, since a particular menu may only be available the day customers visit. This adds an element of unpredictability to return visits and makes successive meals more of
Geraldine’s menu, by Chad Roberts Design.
an event, Roberts says. As more restaurants attempt to find a middle ground between casual and fine dining, secret menus have emerged as a way to cater to high-value customers without alienating more casual diners, he said. “Secret” menus could, for instance, prevent sticker shock on higher-priced items that may alienate some guests, since these items would be moved to a smaller menu available only by request. The result: a main menu that caters to casual guests and another menu that creates a feeling of individual attention and exclusivity for patrons interested in a higher price point, says Roberts. Restaurant operators could further enhance the distinctiveness of the experience by setting the two menus apart via different-coloured folders and varied graphic elements. Roberts also points out “the recent focus on small and shared
plates has resulted in a growing number of restaurants adopting a menu-as-order-form format.” The order form design could, for instance, be used for specialized menu offerings such as the seafood listing, updated daily as availability changes, with one copy presented to each table along with the regular dinner and cocktail menus. Roberts adds presenting only one menu to each table encourages guests to order shared plates and promotes a communal dining atmosphere. Jean Francois Goldschmitt, owner of Menu-plus, a Quebec-based menu design company, says heavy covers have fallen out of fashion, in favour of those that are “light and soft, leather like.” New leatherette is almost non-scratchable, nothing sticks to it and even pen ink can be washed off. Goldschmitt is also seeing a “big comeback of colour printed menu covers with a clear-plastic Lexan no-scratch finish.”
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PLATING UP SUCCESS “Restaurants are accessorizing, adding another dimension to the tabletop,” says Tableware Solutions’ Horosko. “The quality of ingredients is important, but restaurateurs are augmenting that with presentation,” he says, noting this is happening at the full range of restaurants, from chains to fine dining operations. Staple products, such as traditional white plates, remain, but instead of just adding different shapes or colours, restaurants are “adding different products—ceramic with earthenware, or ceramic with a stainless-steel fry basket, or adding cast iron into the mix.” Even the traditional white plate is changing and often sports softer, rounder edges for a warmer, more casual presentation, says Horosko. Sarah Rodriguez, marketing coordinator for Texas-based serving ware supplier G.E.T. Enterprises, LLC, pointed out that “as food costs rise, restaurants are looking for ways to minimize food waste and save money without rising prices.” Hence, the popularity of slanted-rim cascading bowls, in varied sizes, that “make portions look fuller without piling on extra food and costs.” Pairing entrées with side dishes is becoming increasingly popular, says Rodriguez. “Co-ordinating plates
and bowls served together emphasizes the value of combo orders.” Also showing up on tables are contemporary coupe shapes (featuring slightly up-curved rims) complementing everything from appetizers to entrées and desserts, she says. Sustainability is playing a role in tabletops, Rodriguez notes, citing eco-friendly bamboo-fibre dinnerware featuring the look and feel of traditional, high-quality melamine. While white dinnerware continues to be a mainstay, “classic white and cream dinner plates are being accented with side dishes featuring different shapes and bold colours,” says Susan Dountas, director of foodservice marketing for Libbey Foodservice, an Ohio-based specialist in tableware and glassware. Dinnerware reflecting rustic textures, unusual shapes and the look of hand painting is also on the radar. “To help their establishment stand out from the competition, restaurant owners are adding distinctive elements to their tabletop,” she says. Since new designs in dinnerware and glassware align with food and beverage trends, “the farm-to-table movement of using locally sourced foods requires dinnerware that showcases fresh produce, herbs and other ingredients,” says Dountas.
Contemporary combo plate. (Photo courtesy of G.E.T. Enterprises)
“Rustic textured dinnerware with organic shapes complements fresh, colourful ingredients.” Further echoing the continuing trend to farmhouse room decor, tabletops are chock-a-block with mini cast-iron and copper pans and tiny, lidded dutch oven-style pots (“from oven to table”), says Brae Mason, general manager of Toronto’s Nella Cucina kitchenware store. Mason noted the popularity of retro, rustic-style wooden platters— in reclaimed Ontario maple, plantation teak and acacia wood—for presenting charcuterie, cheeses and other first courses, as well as mains and desserts.
LAY IT ON THE TABLE
Alchemist-style glass cocktail beaker. (Photo courtesy of Tableware Solutions)
RAISING A GLASS Wood is also playing a part in clever and visually arresting beer presentation, thanks to tasting planks. Often paddle-shaped and outfitted with a short handle, they feature small holes, into which are placed tasting-sized glasses filled with three or four of the customer’s brews of choice—say, a lager, brown, cream ale and stout, said Menu-plus graphic designer Anick Sabourin. Tasting planks are designed primarily for pubs and microbreweries that offer several beers on tap or offer their own microbrewery beers, she said. Glassware is also getting into the rustic, farmhouse act, particularly when it comes to water decanters,
Acacia steak board. (Photo courtesy of Tableware Solutions)
often seen as rubber stopper-capped bottles or old-fashioned milk bottles, says Nella Cucina’s Mason. Water decanters featuring a wide opening still have their supporters, since they’re easy to clean and allow chefs to make their own signature flavoured water, says Paula Tekela, president and owner of Drink to Your Health, the Markham, ONbased company which introduced filtered Q water to the industry in 2009. “Restaurants love to co-brand vessels to give their personal touch.” In addition to glass, top-grade stainless steel is the healthiest option since it does not leach, she says. Remaining popular for serving
drinks, appetizers and desserts are rustic-themed Mason jars, says Mason, who adds the trend to use jars is not new, but is not going away. Vintage-inspired glassware, says Dountas, “lends a retro feel to cocktail presentations.” “Selecting the proper glassware for signature drinks not only elevates the presentation of the beverage, but adds to the perceived value worthy of a premium price point,” she adds. At the leading edge of cocktail presentation are alchemist-style glass beakers, says Horosko. “We’ve pre-sold a lot of these to several chain restaurants.”
At the upscale end of the restaurant spectrum, “there’s attention to detail like never before,” says Mason. “There’s less on the table, but it’s high-end.” As examples, she points to highend Peugeot salt and pepper mills and Riedel crystal stemware. Retro mixing-and-matching is also popular, often via vintage glasses, plates and stainless-steel sugar bowls. “Creativity is at an all-time high and the rule is: there are no rules,” she notes. Ingenuity also applies to tabletop lighting, which has seen a strong resurgence, according to Thaddeus Smith, corporate communications manager at Sterno Candle Lamp, based in California. “During the recession, restaurants were looking for ways to save money by taking candles away,” says Smith. “As the economy has come back, tabletop lighting is something that everyone wants to be a part of, especially in the evening service, since it adds so much to the ambience.” One widely used style of candle lamp is the interchangeable type, in which different inserts, available in a wide assortment of colours and shapes, are placed in the lamp’s inner sleeve, he says. Among interchangeable lamps, hourglass and cylinder shapes are
popular, as are flame-based styles, incorporating, for example, a liquid wax cartridge. Some flameless styles are also being used. Restaurateurs are capitalizing on the wide array of designs and inserts and using table lamps to alter their dining room’s mood in a number of ways, Smith says. In establishments that restrict open flames, battery operated LED-powered lamps offer a stylish solution, says Smith. Despite being flameless, LED lamps provide a natural feel. On top of that, restaurateurs can change the intensity of illumination via remote control. Despite the trend towards elaborate table lamps, votive candles have not lost their allure, he said. “Nothing is as elegant as a simple votive candle,” he says. “The idea of dining around a flame is as old as the caveman. It’s part of our culture.”
(Photo courtesy of Sterno Candle Lamp).
O N TA R I O R E S TAU R A N T N E W S
TMF opens new kitchen STONEY CREEK, ON—The Meat Factory (TMF) opened a $1.4 million culinary kitchen in mid-April at its Stoney Creek facilities. Located at 46 Community Ave., the space is a place for TMF’s partners to work on new menu items with corporate chef William Wallace or on their own. Wallace said many major chains don’t have corporate kitchens and chefs end up doing ideation in a working restaurant, which can be tight and problematic. “It’s an opportunity to showcase what we do, so TMF can be forefront in their minds when creating their menus,” Wallace told ORN. TMF also allows its foodservice partners to come use the 2,500-square-foot kitchen and boardroom, which has a capacity of between 75 and 100 people, for company meetings, demonstrations or to simply do some baking or work on sauces. “We have to give a little bit back to the community that has supported us,” said chairman and chief executive officer Lou Albanese, who founded the company in 1978. He added that TMF is working to partner with Ontario culinary schools to provide 10 scholarships, introduce students to people in the industry and allow them the opportunity to work with corporate chefs. A lot of thought went into designing the kitchen, which includes an 18 by 24 foot Halton hood on the ceiling, Rational cooking cen-
tre, a 36-inch chrome top griddle and grill, a digitally programmable double-door drop fridge, freezer and defroster, a salamander, sixtop, conventional oven and a full dish pit. “The room has a huge wow factor,” said Wallace. Although deep-frying is not part of TMF’s core business, a double basket fryer is included in the new kitchen. Wallace noted that they also have a pizza oven and a Convotherm oven in storage in case that is what other chefs use. “We wanted to make sure that as many partners as possible could come use this kitchen,” said Dameion Albanese, TMF executive vice-president. Wallace added the idea was to be able to mimic any process customers might use and, with equipment on wheels, interchange items as required. State-of-the-art audio and video installations allow sessions to be recorded and projected on two 72-inch televisions or a ninefoot projector scene. The system also supports the ability to create webinars and instructional videos. “The room can’t just be functional; it has to be visually stunning,” said Lou Albanese, who has collected old cookbooks and antique kitchen tools—such as a hand-crank Birko meat slicer replica and a five-foot coffee grinder which would have been used in a general store—to display in the kitchen area.
From left: TMF executive vice-president Dameion Albanese, founder and CEO Lou Albanese and corporate chef William Wallace. Bottom left: TMF culinary kitchen. Bottom right: Antique five-foot coffee grinder.
PED sees pork prices soar
From left: Dave MacTavish, executive vice-president of UNIPCO; Vince Mancari, national sales manager, Nikolaos Fine Foods, Bounlome “Boom” Pravong, UNIPCO Sales Representative 2013; and Eric Sloan, UNIPCO president and CEO.
UNIPCO 2014 tradeshow MONCTON, NB—UNIPCO held its annual trade show and annual general meeting at Casino New Brunswick on March 25. More than 80 exhibitors set up at the trade show, which president and chief executive officer Eric Sloan said was well attended. “The show encourages manufacturers to show new products to the restaurateurs to see first-hand before setting menus for their busy summer season,” Sloan said in an email. Restaurants Canada president and CEO
Garth Whyte delivered the keynote address at the AGM speaking about the state of the restaurant industry in the Maritimes. “UNIPCO reported a very strong year both in member growth and rebate returns,” Sloan said. The member-owned foodservice purchasing system awarded Bounlome “Boom” Pravong UNIPCO’s 2013 sales representative of the year and Capital Paper was named supplier of the year.
Quebec cheese takes tops at Canadian Cheese Awards TORONTO—The inaugural Canadian Cheese Awards winners were announced at a reception and tasting gala April 7 at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market North. Georgs Kolesnikovs, founder of the annual Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Prince Edward County, ON, launched the awards to celebrate natural and artisanal cheese made from cow, sheep, goat and water buffalo milk. Seventy-six producers from across Canada submitted 291 cheeses in the contest. Eleven judges selected winners in a blind
tasting held at the University of Guelph in late February. Winners were awarded in 16 main categories organized by type, five regional categories and nine special categories. Fromagerie FX Pichet’s Le Baluchon, made in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, QC, took home the top prize of Cheese of the Year. Best Ontario Cheese went to Bella Casa Mascarpone from Quality Cheese in Vaughan, ON, which also won in the categories of Best Fresh Cheese and Best Cow’s Milk Cheese. More on: www.canadianrestaurantnews.com.
TORONTO—Ontario pork prices have risen “dramatically” over the past two months as a direct result of the PED Virus, according to an industry expert. “It seems to have taken a breather and prices seem to have eased back over the last three weeks,” Kevin Grier, senior market analyst for the George Morris Centre told ORN on April 25, adding that “prices have come up dramatically in the last two months,” overall. Grier said prices were firm going into 2014 and he thought restaurants and retailers were going to be buying a lot of pork. In January, the first cases of the porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus were reported in Ontario. “The primary reason [for the price increase] is this pig disease,” Grier said. PED virus poses no risk to human health but is usually fatal for young piglets. The dis-
ease is significantly reducing the number of hogs slaughtered, driving prices higher. According to the Globe and Mail, PED virus killed about 6 per cent of the U.S. pig population since being discovered a year ago. In Canada, the virus has spread through contact with feces in Quebec, Manitoba and P.E.I. but has largely been concentrated in Ontario where 35 farms have reported cases. According to the CBC, exposed sows can develop immunity to the virus and pass it on to their offspring, which could bring an end to the epidemic. As for putting bacon on the menu, Grier said, “The wildcard is we really don’t know what the summer will have in store for us.” Grier said restaurateurs can also “look forward to a long-term trend of high beef prices,” because farmers will hold back female cattle for reproduction, bringing fewer heads to market.
Milestones joins Ocean Wise VANCOUVER—Milestones Grill + Bar has joined the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program. The move will allow the chain to denote Ocean Wise sustainable seafood on its menu. “This was a really quick decision,” Niki Papaioannou, director of marketing, said in an interview. “We are really trying to share this message to encourage other people,” she added. According to Papaioannou, the company paid about $3,000 as a membership fee and is able to use the Ocean Wise logo on its website and menu to inform customers of the relationship. Currently, Milestones offers sustainably
sourced Pacific cod from Alaska and B.C. and sustainably farmed mussels from Prince Edward Island. Restaurants in B.C. also offer sustainable salmon. “The debut of Milestones Grill + Bar as a new Ocean Wise partner is a significant step forward in providing an increased number of sustainable seafood options for consumers, as they are now being offered at each restaurant location right across Canada,” Robin Poirier, Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise account representative for Eastern Canada, said in a release. Many restaurants across Canada—including the Cactus Club, Earls, Joeys Restaurant Group, Chop Steakhouse and the Pickle Barrel—also participate in the program.
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Chef Murray Hall.
Finalists, 2014 USA Pear Competition.
Chef Murray Hall has won the International Association of Conference Centres’ (IACC) 11th annual Copper Skillet. Chef Hall won the right to represent Canada at the competition after winning the national competition for the fifth straight year. This year’s Copper Skillet was held at the IACC’s 33rd annual conference at the Pacific Palms Resort near Los Angeles, Calif. Chefs were presented with a mystery basket, which included baby octopus, hanger steak, bream, asparagus, Swiss chard, peppers, green beans, tomatoes, pears, mushrooms, shallots and potatoes. Each chef was given 15 minutes to plan their dish and 30 minutes to cook. Chef Hall—who is the corporate chef for the BMO Financial Group Institute for Learning in Toronto—created a mushroom risotto, seared hanger steak with asparagus and balsamic-vinegar reduction, pan-seared bream with tomatoes and Swiss chard. Ennio Renon has died at the age of 82. In 1994, Renon founded Ennio’s Pasta House with his daughter Annabella Dietrich in Waterloo, ON, and the business grew to a second restaurant in Kitchener, ON, employing 80 people.
According to the The Record, Renon grew up in northern Italy and developed a passion for cooking while working in mines in Belgium where he cooked meals. Prior to opening a restaurant, he owned a tiling business. Ennio is survived by his wife Rosa, children Maurice Renon, Angelina Lowry, Annabella Dietrich and Attilio Renon, two siblings and his grandchildren and greatgrandchildren.
Michelle McAllen, an 18-year-old student from the New Brunswick Community College St. Andrews, has won the national finals for the 2014 USA Pears “Pear Excellence” Canadian Culinary Student Recipe Competition. The event was held on April 8 at The Dirty Apron Cooking School. McAllen competed against four other regional finalists to win with her dish of crusted pork tenderloin stuffed with caramelized pears, prosciutto cups with pear and an acorn squash and white chocolate puree. Melissa Evans, Vancouver Island University, Janine Sumner Traverse, The Paterson GlobalFoods Institute at Red River College, Samantha Katharine Hudon-Sue, LaSalle College and Joel Carta, Centennial College Progress Campus also competed. This was the seventh year for the national recipe contest. Cathy Loblaw, senior director for McDonald’s Canada, was one of five honoured at the Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) Women Making Their Mark list.
The other honourees included: Maureen Lynch, sales and operations leader for Rich Products Corporation; Tracy Treadwell, operations director for Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc.; Kellogg Company director of customer marketing Susan Wasco; and Felicia White, Church’s Chicken director of national field training. The list, introduced last year and sponsored by Brinker International, aims to recognize upand-coming leaders. “These five women all serve as guiding lights within their companies, and within the greater industry at large. The future is bright if these honourees are any indication of where the industry in heading,” Laurie Burns, outgoing WFF chair and Darden Restaurants chief development officer, said in a release. The women were recognized in late March at the 2014 Annual Leadership Development Conference held in Dallas, Texas. Julie Lim, national account executive and director of product development chain accounts for Royal Cup, Inc., was recognized by WFF and Campbell Soup Company as the 2014 Volunteer of the Year. Aurora Health Care vice-president of food and nutrition and environmental services Lisa Schairer was the recipient of the 2014 Sewell Scholarship awarded by WWF and Sysco. Catherine Kayser, market president of Sysco’s Northeast broadline operations, was honoured as the 2014 Leadership Award recipient, sponsored by Ecolab. Christina Tos is the new director of foodservice for Finica Food Specialties Ltd., an importer and distributor of specialty artisan cheese and gourmet food items. Tos, who has more than 25 years of experience in the food industry, started in the role on April 8. She brings experience from the foodservice, grocery and alternate channels to the new position. Tos spent the last 14 years working with Kozy Shack Enterprises, most recently as national sales manager, Canada.
productS Fresh fish
Four new High Liner products have hit the market: the Atlantic cod fillets are trans-fat free, low in saturated fat and come in four to six and six to eight ounce portions: the skinless, boneless four-ounce Basa Loins are farmraised and BAP certified; the new Krunchie Basa fillets can be deep-fried or oven-baked; and the Mirabel black tiger and Pacific white shrimp are now available in various sizes. For more information visit: www.highlinerfoodservice.com.
Chefsheet is a website with companion app for counting and managing restaurant inventory. Users can count items in unlimited locations, track price changes over time, enter food and drink menus and receive real-time reports. The mobile version is available for iPhone and Android. For more information visit: www. chefsheet.com.
Canned margarita Independent Distillers Canada has announced the launch of Dos Locos at the LCBO as of May. The tequila lime margarita drink will be sold in 440ml cans for $2.95 retail and $2.97 for licensees. According to a release from the company, the drink has sold well in Western Canada and has a growth rate of 89 per cent. For more information visit: www.independentdistillers.ca.
Get sliced Vollrath has introduced two new slicers: the Redco fruit slicer and the Redco cucumber slicer. The 28-blade fruit slicer has a one-stroke operation and, according to the company, will eliminate 75 per cent of the time spent cutting fruit by hand. The fruit slicer can be used to cut pineapple, cantaloupe and honeydew melon, among other fruits. The cucumber slicer slices cucumbers lengthwise and cores them at the same time. Both of the new slicers will be on display at the National Restaurant Association show in Chicago, IL at the Vollrath booth. For more information visit: www.vollrath.com.
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