Ten Things We Learned at the 2018 Terroir Symposium

On April 23rd, the world’s foremost minds in hospitality and tourism came together in Toronto for the 12th annual Terroir Symposium, an annual event meant for knowledge sharing, networking and of course, plenty of food & drink! JDP_4471 This year, the theme was Terroirnomics: The Powerful Economics of Local. We featured some inspiring thought-leaders to discuss how they leverage what comes from their lands, lakes and oceans to boost their local economy. Were you one of the lucky delegates to experience Terroir 2018? We’ve put together the top ten things we learned April 23, 2018 at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). Enjoy!

20180423_083326 - copy1  Collaboration is key.

Throughout the day, we saw chefs and farmers; artisans and bartenders; producers and marketers, making connections and sharing stories of successful, thoughtful global initiatives. It was inspiring. Our favorite collaborations? Chef Anna Mae from Durham College (Bistro ’67) & Chef Renee Bellefeuille from the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) nailed it for the Taste of Durham breakfast, presented by Durham Region. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at these drool-worth butter tart doughnuts in the Terroir highlights. How could we forget the Great Ontario Collaboration by Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. and Great Lakes Brewery? These two incredible breweries came together to create ‘Yours To Discover’, an ‘Ontario Pale Ale’ using hops from VQH Farms (Eden, Ontario), Barn Owl Malt (Belleville, Ontario), and yeast from Escarpment Labs (Guelph, Ontario). We can’t wait to enjoy this bright, crisp brew on a patio soon! 

2  Don’t forget your roots.

Elena Arzak from three Michelin-starred Restaurante Arzak in San Sebastian, Spain kicked off the day with an inspiring talk highlighting the importance of tradition, terroir, sustainability and innovation in food. The room was under a spell as she recounted stories of her childhood, the business and the place that helped make her who she is today. It’s this connection to place that fundamentally makes terroir so special.

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3  Ontario wine is a beautiful thing.

VQA Wines of Ontario were being represented by talented winemakers and sommeliers in almost all programming. We learned about how Cab Franc is having a comeback at home and beyond. We got a taste of complex wines created by women in a master class facilitated by inspiring women in the wine industry. There were dozens of examples of unique, terroir driven wines being poured by passionate makers all day. You could not help but be inspired by the sheer diversity of what our province has to offer.

4   “Passion drives authenticity” – Dennis Prescott

Dennis Prescott’s words during the panel ‘A Food Pic Is Worth A Thousand Words‘ really hit home with us. If you were able to witness some of the conversations at Terroir 2018, you would agree that all of our speakers did a dynamite job of representing their respective industries. Audience members felt inspired to incorporate the knowledge and awareness into their own professional and personal lives. 
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5  Get out and explore Toronto’s ‘burbs, right now.

Suresh Doss is a master in curating unique food experiences featuring global flavours from our own backyard. We thank him for introducing us to the humble, talented chefs of the World Food Court lunch. We’ve been dreaming of these dishes for weeks. If you haven’t caught a glimpse of the shawarma, laksa or roti, make sure you plan a visit to one of these locations soon!

6  Workplace wellness is worth it.

Achieving a work-life balance is a win-win for everyone involved. Industry leaders gathered to speak to the importance of employee education, development and support, while discussing their best practices in creating positive, team-driven and high-performing cultures.  Some highlights included LIZZIE MOORE of Oceanstone Seaside Resort in Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia speaking to work life balance, PHIL MONDOR of Tourism HR Canada, sharing resources available to the industry and CHRISTA BRUNEAU of Feast Café Bistro in Winnipeg, Manitoba on supporting junior staff in their growth and learning.

DSC_17887  You should really support local.

As you know, we are long-time champions of this message. Terroir 2018 speakers like Diane Hodgins from Fogo Island Inn, Bob Desautels from The Neighbourhood Group and Isabel Soares from Fruta Feia made it look easy in their talks, but they also left us inspired. Their success in achieving the quadruple bottom line — focusing on supporting their people, planet, profit and purpose — has given us so many ideas!

8  Be kind to our lakes, rivers and oceans.

Keeping the conversation going on sustainable seafood year after year is important to the Terroir message. This year, Executive Chef Ned Bell from Ocean Wise was joined by Ocean Wise ambassadors Sonia Strobel of Skipper Otto, Maxime Daigle of La Maison BeauSoleil and Hana Nelson of aFISHionado, to discuss the importance of environmental, economic and social sustainability in the seafood industry. Our takeaway from this session, and the conversations at the Welcome Reception were simple, but powerful. It’s not as hard as you think to work directly with fisherfolk and small purchasing changes can make a monumental impact.

9  Don’t be afraid to create and innovate.

Whether it’s about creating a new event that celebrates your terroir or finding that niche to support your local food economy (like Peter Burt from Newfoundland Salt Company!), don’t be afraid to get your creative juices flowing and put your passion into work. There are hundreds of people out there looking to create lasting relationships and build the community. All you need to do is say hi!

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10  An awkward conversation will not kill you.

Terroir 2018 was brought to a close by food writer & editor, Kat Kinsman. She challenged Terroir delegates to question their natural instincts and be open to talking about mental health — their own and that of others. Too many people in the hospitality industry have been affected by this silent disease and it’s about time to face it head on. 

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SAVE THE DATE! TERROIR SYMPOSIUM MAY 6th, 2019 AT THE CARLU

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