Meet the Winners of the Ontario Hostelry Institute’s 2018 Top 30 Under 30


27, assistant manager/bar manager, Canteen, Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality

Jarid Barnes believes there are no shortcuts to becoming a great manager. He takes time to know each of the staff he oversees, viewing them as individuals with something unique to contribute to the team. And, he’s learned why keeping a close eye on the numbers is important, “I firmly believe in developing a management style with heart, while demonstrating a business style grounded in facts and figures.”

At Ryerson University, Barnes earned his Bachelor of Commerce, specializing in Hospitality and Tourism Management. While in school, he worked as a delegation liaison officer during the G20 Summit in Toronto in 2010 — a position requiring resourcefulness and flexibility. In 2012, he joined Toronto’s Jump Restaurant as a server assistant and server, where he fell in love with wine and whisky. In 2014, Barnes joined the team responsible for opening the Delta Hotel in Toronto, working as the income auditor with the Accounting and Finance department and liaising with food-and-beverage outlets within the hotel.

Since 2016, Barnes has thrown himself into the role of assistant manager and bar manger with Oliver & Bonacini’s Canteen, where his food, wine and whisky knowledge has come in handy in helping increase beverage sales while reducing costs while helping coach Canteen’s staff on the ever-changing world of beer, wine and cocktails.

29, chef professor, Humber College

Last year, Stephanie Mirabelli was asked to design and produce a multi-tiered cake for the Red Carpet at the Oscar ceremonies.

Mirabelli’s skills, creativity and work ethic have been recognized by many in the baking and pastry industry in Canada. As the pastry chef at Francesca Bakery, she was responsible for the conceptualization and final design of new entremets put into production and was known as the go-to person for cake repairs and design improvements. At Dolcini, a boutique bakery, she was responsible for daily operations — from making mousses, sponge, cookies and squares, to producing cakes and pastries for private functions and corporate events. She created cakes and desserts for clients such as as the National Congress of Italian Canadians, Ferrari, Lamborghini, the Toronto Blue Jays and the National Golf Club of Canada.

In 2014, she was named head pastry chef at Pinnacle Caterers, where she managed three pastry chefs in a high-volume kitchen and oversaw the daily operation of the pastry team.

In September 2017, Mirabelli took on the role of chef professor at Humber College, teaching a new generation of pastry and baking chefs the skills and techniques they will need to succeed.

27, sous chef, Planta, Toronto

After completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and Mathematics, Maggie Skelton enrolled in the Culinary Management program at Liaison College in 2012. The one-year program saw the Toronto native complete school just as Chase Hospitality Group (CHG) — then a new restaurant company — was launching The Chase Fish and Oyster.

Over the next two-and-a-half years, she worked her way through the restaurant’s ranks — learning under chef Nigel Finely — before transitioning to CHG’s Little Fin to take on the role of Operations manager. During her time at The Chase Fish and Oyster, the young chef also completed a stint at NYC’s Dirt Candy, where she was part of the restaurant’s opening team following the move to a larger space. This experience helped foster Skelton’s passion for plant-based cuisine — making her a natural fit for her next position with CHG.

In 2017, Skelton became sous chef at Toronto’s Planta restaurant, where she is responsible for ordering, scheduling, budgeting, menu planning, recipe development and training. “When the sous chef position at Planta opened up [last] April, I immediately thought of Maggie,” says the restaurant’s executive chef David Lee. “Her energy and passion for plant-based cuisine brought a great amount of positive energy to the team.”

24, senior sous chef, Il Covo, Toronto

Sarah Fiore grew up cooking beside her grandmother and started her first restaurant job at age 11. As part of the Riveria Parc Program, she was one of a few high-school students selected for the co-op culinary program. She was placed at Buca Osteria & Enoteca, where she so impressed chef Rob Gentile he offered her a job at the end of her placement. While still in high school, Fiore completed a Cake Decorating and Design certificate with the Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts.

While studying for her Culinary Skills certificate at George Brown College in 2013 — on a full scholarship — she continued honing her skills at Buca. In 2014 she was promoted to sous chef at the newly opened Buca Osteria and Bar.

Last year, Fiore — along with chef Ryan Campbell, former chef de cuisine at Buca — opened Il Covo, where she is senior sous chef — overseeing the creation of pastry and savoury items.

28, chef, L’Unità Restaurant, Toronto

Kicking off her hospitality career at age 14 — Angela Villalta took the first step in pursuing her life-long dream of becoming a chef. She went on to study Culinary Management at George Brown College and complete post-graduate Italian programs at both the ALMA International School of Italian Cuisine in Italy and George Brown.

During her time in Italy, Villalta worked at the Michelin-starred Al Castello di Alessandro Boglione before returning to Toronto, where she entered the city’s culinary scene as junior sous chef of Scarpetta Restaurant. The young chef rose through the kitchen ranks with each subsequent position and, within a few years of completing her education, had begun leading kitchens: taking on the role of chef de cuisine at Toronto’s Bestellen. She landed a job as chef of Beacon Restaurant Concepts — which, at the time, operated four restaurants in Toronto — and later headed the kitchen at Quanto Basta.

Now, as chef of L’Unità, Villalta manages the 75-seat Italian restaurant’s kitchen staff and off-site events and is responsible for creating the establishment’s à la carte and special menus. And, as part of an expanding company, this chef is still on the rise.

“Our [plan] for Angela is for her to become a culinary director within our growing restaurant company and to work with her for as long as she wishes to be a part of our team,” says David Minicucci, president, L’Unità Restaurant.

29, chef de cuisine, Campagnolo, Toronto

For Stephen Baidacoff, being gifted his first cookbook — Susur: A Culinary Life — ultimately inspired him to pursue a culinary career. He went on to study at George Brown College, where he completed a culinary management diploma, as well as the post-graduate Italian Culinary Program. During his studies, the young chef bolstered his formal education by working in professional kitchens, including Lee in Toronto and Il Postale in Perugia, Italy.

Baidacoff gained further international experience through his time working in Michelin-starred restaurants in Hong Kong, New York and Denmark, as well as Relais & Châteaux’s Hotel Crillon Le Brave in Provence, France. He also boasts experience as a competitive chef, having participated in such competitions as the Nella Cucina “Discovered Chefs” Competition, Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship competition and the Canadian Culinary Championship (as sous chef to Eric Hanson).

Now, with 11 years of culinary experience under his belt, Baidacoff’s wide-ranging culinary experience also includes catering, teaching and consulting.

In his current position as chef de cuisine at Toronto’s Campagnolo, Baidacoff is responsible for coordinating the kitchen staff and managing the restaurant’s daily operations. Additionally, he has played a key role in planning for a revamp and renovation of the restaurant space, including designing a new menu outline and dining format for the restaurant.

29, director of Operations, La Prep and Chaska

Sid Grover always wanted to take the lead on projects and has pushed himself to do just that. Grover completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Hotel and Food Administration in 2016 at the University of Guelph, followed by an MBA in 2017.

Following graduation, Grover spent more than 10 years with Canada’s Wonderland — first as a supervisor and then as Operations manager — where he was responsible for hiring and training more than a thousand seasonal associates every year, meeting top-line yearly budgets of $33 million and ensuring a culture of employee improvement and customer satisfaction.

In 2015, Grover joined the University of Toronto as Foodservice director, responsible for the more than $11-million food operation covering the university’s campus retail brand and catering operations.

In October, he became director of Operations with La Prep and Chaska — a new Indian street-food concept for the QSR market. For both brands, he reports to the company’s CEO and is in charge of developing brand initiatives to drive growth and overseeing new locations in Canada.

By Danielle Schalk and Tom Venetis

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