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By Rebecca MackenzieYesterday at the Premier�s Agri-Food Summit in Toronto, OCTA was in the crowd hearing the inspirational stories of Ontario farmers, growers, producers, and processors.A� Their innovations and achievements across the province did not go unnoticed. After a great breakfast of whole wheat bagels, soy butter, carrot and apple muffins, apple juice, organic milk, fresh apples, lassi yogurt smoothies and cereal � all from Ontario � the day got off to a prompt start with Premier Dalton McGuinty addressing summit guests to present his annual award. The recipients of the Premier�s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence went to Willowgrove Farms in Perth, Ont. The inspiring story of the Hill family�s desire to produce the healthiest and freshest pork possible touched the audience. With tears in her eyes, Rosie accepted the award with her husband Paul and two young children. The Minister�s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence was given to the Duizer Family of Duizer Farms. The unique robotic milking system they use on the farm ensures farmer Arie Duizer can spend time away from the barn and with his family. Arie and his wife Lisa accepted the award from OMAFRA Minister Carol Mitchell with big smiles. The Ontario-theme continued during the day with a Foodland Ontario update presented by business development branch director George Borovilos, and a local food panel discussion featuring Burkhard Mausberg of the Greenbelt Foundation, Sandy Houston of the Metcalf Foundation, John Scott of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers and Alison Blay-Palmer from Wilfred Laurier University. For lunch a spread of provincial goodies graced the plates of summit guests. Woolwich feta cheese, Ontario greenhouse veggies, Algoma apples, Quality Cheese brie, Silverstein ciabatta bread, Willowgrove pork, and Mapleton�s organic ice cream all made an appearance on the menu. In the afternoon two informative sessions � Growing Market Opportunities and Food Manufacturing/Sourcing Locally – captured particpants� attentions. It was great to see how much emphasis was put on supporting local growers and producers at the summit. A�Guests were engaged to think critically about ways to integrate Ontario products into their daily operations. A�Most of all, those in the room were witness to great discussions about the rewards, and challenges, of working with local items. At the end of the day guests, including Premier Dalton McGuinty, visited the Legislative Dining room for OCTA�s Taste of Ontario Reception. Overall, the day was a great success and one that surely cemented our province�s commitment to supporting those working in its agri-food industry.
By Rebecca MackenzieThe legacy continues… Excellence, passion, achievement and success continue to be the mandate of the Ontario Hostelry Institute. The 2011 OHI Gold Awards Dinner will again take place Thursday, April 14th at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto. As a result, the Ontario Hostelry Institute each year honours the celebrated achievements of our industry professionals, and raises critically needed funds for scholarships. Our Gold Awards recognize those top hospitality industry achievers whose commitment to excellence enhances the image of Ontario among thousands of diners, travellers and vacationers each year. The 2011 Ontario Hostelry Institute (OHI) Gold Awardees have been announced by J. Charles Grieco, OHI Chair and President. The Gold Award presentations will be made at the OHI’s Gala Gold Awards Dinner and Auction on Thursday, April 14 at the Four Seasons Hotel, Toronto, ON. Awardees are: The Chairman’s OHI Gold Award will be given to Kathleen Taylor, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts Chairman’s Lifetime Achievement Gold Award Chef Jamie Kennedy, owner of Gilead and recently names to the Order of Canada Gold Award – Foodservice Chain Operator Mark Pacinda, President and COO, Boston Pizza Gold Award – Independent Restaurateur Armando Mano, Owner and General Manager, Centro Restaurant, Lounge & Catering Gold Award – Hotelier Andy Loges, General Manager, Hilton Toronto Airport Hotel & Suites Gold Award – Educator Michael Olson, Chef Professor at Niagara Culinary Institute Gold Award – Media/Publishing Karen Gelbart, Food Television Gold Award – Chef Jonathan Gushue , Executive Chef, Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa Gold Award – Supplier Fatos Pristine, owner the Cheese Boutique
By Rebecca Mackenzie
Savour Ottawa took home the Culinary Tourism Leadership Award while the Savour Stratford Perth County Festival took home the Culinary Tourism Experience Award.
Also of note are our runners up:
For Leadership – Savour Stratford Perth County
For Experience – Sensational Elora, The Blue Mountain Village Apple Pie Trail
Many thanks are again extended to our 2010 award judges: Suzanne Caskie of George Brown College, Barb Shopland of 2Gener8 Solutions Inc., Charles Grieco of the Ontario Hostelry Institute, and Suresh Doss of Spotlight Toronto.
We will be posting images and video from the awards celebration at Deerhurst, along with detailed information about our award winners over the next two weeks in a special Awards section on our website.
Stay tuned for more 2010 Ontario Culinary Tourism Award coverage.