The Ontario Foodservice Designation Program began this year ready to bring a selection of great opportunities to the table.A�
First, the opportunity to consult with stakeholders from across Ontario on what a designation system for restaurants could both look like and accomplish–and not to mention, the opportunity to determine how best to combine authenticity protection with education and awareness, and promotion and marketing.A�
But ultimately, it’s the opportunity to work towards developing a program with the following objectives that really makes this exciting:
- Create and support Ontario�s culinary identity
- Increase the ease of buying and dining on Ontario food and beverages
- Celebrate champions in the foodservice industry sourcing Ontario products
- Bring further awareness to Ontario�s strong agricultural sectors, and
- Compliment and support the Foodland Ontario program
With the setting complete, we have carefully selected and prepared the meat and potatoes of the program to ensure that you get to enjoy with confidence Ontario�s great restaurants and unique tastes of place.
How does this work?A� Restaurants of all shapes and sizes–think everything from food trucks to fine-dining–who are PROCURING Ontario food and drink, and PARTNERING and PARTICIPATING in complementary programming and activities, can apply to become ?Certified Tastes of Ontario.?A�
All they need to do is show that they are committed to the program manifesto:
- To procure Ontario food and beverage whenever possible;
- To track and trace Ontario food and beverage purchases as close to the point of origin as possible;
- To identify the provenance of Ontario food and beverages on the menu;
- To develop Ontario�s culinary identity by celebrating regional tastes and championing local, seasonal ingredients; and
- To educate the public about Ontario food and beverage and to bring further awareness to its strong agricultural sectors
With the criteria set, we needed a name. What is a program without a name? How best do we celebrate champions of Ontario food and drink?A� Well, at the Ontario Culinary Tourism Summit on 13 November, Feast ON was officially introduced.
Since then, the Feast ON team has been working hard to make sure that everything is ready to go live for applications on 1 January 2014.
Some of the things we�ve been up to include:
- Promoting the program at the 2013 Ontario Tourism Association Summit in Toronto, hosted by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario, 13-14 November
- Partnering with the Greenbelt Fund and industry to host a panel session entitled ?Taking Stock: Developing Your Recipe for Ontario Food Culture in Foodservice,? at Sustain Ontario�s Bring Food Home conference in Windsor, 17-19 November
- Presenting Feast ON at the Hills of Headwaters Partners in Tourism Summit in Caledon, 25 November
- Introducing everyone at the Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference in Kingston to Feast ON, 3 December
- Presenting Feast ON to the Muskoka & District Chefs Association and the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel & Motel Association (Simcoe County), at Georgian College in Barrie, 9 December
- Posting an opportunity for individuals and organizations across the province to become Feast ON Community Connectors, 21 November
- Continuing to work with great partners, such as Foodland Ontario, Ontariofresh.ca, Ocean Wise, and Wine Country Ontario
So in the spirit of Feast ON–as you celebrate this season–think about how you can include Ontario food and beverages on your holiday menus.