TORONTO — A total of 240 executives from the foodservice and hospitality industry turned out last night at the Fairmont Royal York to recognize the legacy and celebrate the future of the Ontario Hostelry Institute.
The evening, which was emceed by Jason Cheskes, celebrated key individuals who have been instrumental to the legacy of the group. Among the trio honoured were John Arena, founder of the OHI in the late 1970s and former owner of Winston’s — one of Toronto’s longest-standing restaurants — whose vision to create an institute that would aid in the professionalism of the industry was crucial in launching the group; Charles Grieco who helped build the group over the last three decades, starting the Gold Awards and co-founding the Top 30 under 30 (now under the stewardship of Kostuch Media Ltd.,); and Katrin Zeuner, who helped run the OHI and the Canadian Hospitality Foundation (now part of Restaurants Canada) under the tutelage of Grieco. Sadly, earlier this year, Grieco passed away. Margaret Grieco, Charles’ wife and three of their sons were on hand to accept the honour recognizing Charles’ efforts.
With the recent passing of Grieco, the Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association (ORHMA), under the leadership of Tony Elenis, has now taken on the stewardship of the OHI, renaming it the Ontario Hospitality Institute and creating a new vision for it. As part of its vision, the OHI will be reflecting alignment with both the lodging and foodservice segments, with a purpose of supporting the advancement of future workforce needs and further development of the industry’s professionalism. According to a release by OHI, “A big part of what we will be undertaking will include financial support of students and student programs as well as outreach efforts to recruit more youth into our industry.”