OHI Presents 2017 Gold Awards in Toronto


TORONTO – Ontario’s hospitality industry was celebrated last week at the annual Gold Awards presented by the Ontario Hostelry Institute. The evening featured a lineup of winners who inspired attendees with their passion and stories of success. A total of seven awards were presented in categories that ranged from Foodservice Chain of the Year to Artisan of the Year.

In accepting his award for Hotelier of the Year, Ameer Wakil credited his team of 550 associates at the White Oaks Resort in Niagara-on-the-Lake for the success he’s achieved. He also acknowledged the support of his wife and “three amazing children, who, he said always said “Dad, yes you can.”

Craig Youdale won in the Educator of the Year award, telling the audience that “We are all educating and passing on what we know to others.” A&W’s Paul Hollands won in the category of Chain Operator. Hollands told audience that “the restaurant industry is the toughest to operate in. It’s an industry of 1,000 details — if you get any one of those details wrong, it can kill you.”

Chef of the Year honours went to Jason Bangerter, chef of Langdon Hall. Bangerter recalled how he entered the industry in 1994, working at Toronto’s King Edward Hotel. “I remember walking into the kitchen and asking the chef, “How do I become a great chef?” The advice clearly worked as Bangerter has achieved an illustrious career working at such restaurants as Auberge Du Pommier before landing at the highly acclaimed Langdon Hall in Cambridge, Ont. He thanked owners Bill and Mary Bennett, “for creating the most magical place.”

Chef/owner Mark Lepine from Ottawa’s Atelier Restaurant won as Independent Restaurateur of the Year. The Supplier of the Year award was given to John Bill of Honest Weight. Unfortunately, Bill who has been hospitalized in recent months, was not on hand to accept the award.

Owen Roberts, president of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists at the University of Guelph won a Gold Award in the category of media.

Lastly, Norman Hardie, who got his start as sommelier at Toronto’s Four Seasons’ Hotel, accepted his award for Artisan Supplier of the Year for developing Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard in Prince Edward County, Ont. He told attendees “Challenge yourself, get out of your comfort zone, work in hard places…and come out with experience.” After travelling the world and learning from other great vintners, Hardie concluded by saying the “The greatest soil and terroir are right here.”

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Rosanna Caira is the editor and publisher of Kostuch Media’s Foodservice and Hospitality, and Hotelier magazines. In her capacity as editor of Canada’s two leading hospitality publications, Rosanna directs the editorial and graphic content of both publications, and is responsible for the editorial vision of the magazines, its five websites as well as the varied tertiary products including e-newsletters, supplements and special projects. In addition to her editorial duties, Rosanna also serves as publisher of the company, directing the strategic development of the Sales and Marketing, Production and Circulation departments. Rosanna is the face of the magazines, representing the publications at industry functions and speaking engagements. She serves on various committees and Boards, including the Board of Directors of the Canadian Hospitality Foundation. She is a recipient of the Ontario Hostelry’s Gold Award in the media category. In 2006, Rosanna was voted one of the 32 most successful women of Italian heritage in Canada. Rosanna is a graduate of Toronto’s York University, where she obtained a BA degree in English literature.

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