TORONTO — At last night’s CAFP (Canadian Association of Food Professionals) Top Management Night Gala and Fundraiser held in Toronto, Cara Operations Ltd. took home Foodservice and Hospitality’s Hans Bueschkens Award of Merit for its charitable efforts in the communities served by its 14 brands.
Since first presenting this award more than two decades ago, F&H has honoured a wide spectrum of companies who have shown outstanding service, dedication and social advancement of the Canadian hospitality industry within the communities they serve.
In 2016, Cara Operations channeled its charitable efforts into contributing $150,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of Canada through corporate donations, internal head-office events and programs and brand-specific initiatives.
“We chose the Boys and Girls Club of Canada because it was a cause [that resonated] in the communities,” said Jennifer Knight, Recruiting manager and member of Cara’s corporate charity committee. “It’s an initiative that starts at the top, goes all the way to bottom and back up to the top.”
Knight, whose passion for the cause was evident in her acceptance speech, told the crowd of more than 100 foodservice professionals of the letters the Cara team received from the families they had helped. “I’m so incredibly proud to be a part of this,” she said.
Knight was joined on stage by Carolyn Saunders, Brand Manager, Swiss Chalet Marketing at Cara who talked about the $135,000 the company for the Red Cross during the Alberta wildfires through a combination of corporate donations and guests donating at store level.
Brian McCafferty, president of Apetito Canada Ltd. received the prestigious Food Executive of the Year Award, sponsored by CAFP Toronto Branch. The former NHL hockey player, who made his professional debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise, began his foodservice career with Cuddy Food Products before moving to High Liner Foodservice where he spent 10 years. McCafferty joined Apetito Canada in 2009 as executive vice-president, Sales and Marketing before being named president in 2013.
Toronto restaurateur Zane Caplansky delivered the keynote address, entertaining the crowd with stories about how his craving for a good smoked-meat sandwich led to the rise of Caplansky’s Delicatessen, as well as stints on television and radio. “I went online and I bought a smoker on Amazon,” he said. “Then I bought a book about smoking. I literally Googled [it and then] went to Bulk Barn.”
He also got serious, recounting the hardships he encountered along the way — from a failed .com business venture and the end of his marriage to an expensive (and damaging) legal battle with his restaurant’s landlord.
“I remember a quote from Thomas E¬¬dison,” said Caplansky. “He said ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’”
The event, sponsored by Aramark, Dana Hospitality and Kim Communications, ended with a raffle, which raised more than $2,000 for the CAFP student bursary program.