Trevor Lui Disrupts Foodservice Industry to Ignite Change


By Nicole Di Tomasso

TORONTO — During this year’s Terroir Symposium, held across two weeks (Nov. 8 to 10 and 15 to 17), discussions about improving the restaurant model began with Renee Lalonde from Terroir Hospitality and Trevor Lui, co-creator of HighBell Group and co-founder of Quell Now Inc., who represents and advocates for BIPOC talent in the food-and-drink space. Diversity, equity, inclusion must be the foundation of any business to provide opportunities to those who haven’t been given a shot. Lui said the most important first step is acknowledgement.

“[Quell] was born out of necessity, lived experiences and frustration. From a timing perspective, we haven’t seen as strong an emphasis on social justice in the last year as we have in the past. I look at our industry and where I think it can be [versus] where we are today, and we have a lot of work to do,” said Lui. “The great thing about it is, in a very short time, we now have the public, businesses and major corporations that are starting to acknowledge that the system is broken and they want to be part of fixing it. We’re a company that doesn’t shy away from difficult conversations because those have to be had. We’re much more open about our experiences, how they’ve shaped our lives and in many ways shaped our industry.”

As a food leader, Lui said understanding locality and diversity of food is an extension of how resources and people are viewed. Moving forward, the story of where our food comes from and who puts their hands on it along the food supply chain is one that needs to be told more widely.

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