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Shout Out to the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame

Earlier this week, the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame (BCRHF), an annual gala hosted by the British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association, celebrated its latest inductees at a fancy soirée at the Italian Cultural Centre.

The BCRHF has been honouring individuals and brands who contribute positively to the industry since 2004. British Columbia’s restaurant scene is stacked with forward-thinking, creative, innovative and hospitable folks who do so much for the hospitality industry – it’s nice to see them recognized! Here are the results:

Lifetime Achievement

This award recognizes individuals with at least 10 years of documented accomplishments in the hospitality industry, who have made a “significant impact on a large number of individuals and organizations in the hospitality industry. All nominees must have attained a high level of excellence and brought honour to the British Columbia hospitality industry through ongoing dedication to the development of the hospitality industry in British Columbia. Candidates must exemplify good character and dedication.” This year’s Lifetime Achievement awards went to:

Kelly Gordon, Romers / Steamship

James Iranzad, Gooseneck Hospitality

Claudio Ranallo, La piazza Dario’s restaurant

Industry Pioneer

Whether retired or still active, Industry Pioneer award recipients have committed their lives to upholding unparalleled professionalism in the restaurant and hospitality sectors. “These individuals will be recognized for making their businesses a special experience for customers and for elevating the restaurant scene through their lifetime of achievements.” For 2023, individuals recognized were:

Ron Slinger, The Black Bear Neighbourhood Pub

David Wong, Six Mile Pub

Local Champion

Local Champions are those who have been a big supporters of local BC food and drinks throughout their careers, whether they’re retired, active, or have passed away. These people stand out for choosing great ingredients, working closely with local farmers, and making their restaurant unique and special for customers. They are proud of where they’re from and show it in their dishes. In 2023, this line-up inlcuded:

Robert Cassels, Saveur Restaurant – Victoria

Ross Derrick, Broken Anchor Hospitality – Kelowna / Big White

Gino Di Domenico, Tacofino – Tofino / Vancouver

Jesse McCleery, Pilgrimme – Gulf Islands

Karen Roland and Chef R.D. Stewart – Red Door Bistro – Whistler

Active Restaurateur

This category gives props to a handful of ‘exceptional restaurateurs’ who are currently active in the BC restaurant industry. This year, the BCRHF recognized:

Neil Aisenstat, Hy’s of Canada

Michael Doyle, Aquilini Group

Audrey Surrao, RauDZ Creative Concepts Ltd.

Lily Verney-Downey & Warren Barr, Pluvio Restaurant

Friend of the Industry

This occasional award is given to someone who has greatly impacted the hospitality industry in British Columbia. This could be a media person, educator, or politician. This year, the BCRHF gave a shout out to someone who helps the restaurant industry navigate the sometimes confusing world of Provincial liquor licensing logic:

Bert Hick, Rising Tide Consultants

Women in Hospitality

The evening also recognized women who have significantly impacted BC’s hospitality sector. As explained by BCRHF, inductees in this category are women who “work in marketing, human resources, operations or finance who contributes to the success of the restaurant industry through their leadership, experience, dedication and commitment in ways that are not always visible to the dining public”:

Kelsey Oudendag, Okanagan College / RauDZ Creative Concepts Ltd.

Jennifer Rossi, Kitchen Table Group

Cathy Tostenson, White Spot Hospitality

Donna Wadsworth, Savoury City Catering

Leading Employee/Manager

This award is for those amazing workers, whether they’re Front of House or Back of House, who really know how to lead a team and boost the image of careers in restaurants. Winners in this category are people who make their workplace feel like home, treat everybody right, and help their crew grow and get the recognition they deserve:

Andy Crimp, Cardero’s

Ken Nakano, Inn at Laurel Point

Celestino Posteraro, Cioppino’s

Supplier

Individuals in this category are those who always have the back of BC’s restaurant scene by providing the very best of what our province has to offer in their products:

Chris Brown, Arterra Wines Canada

Yvonne (Koo) Leong, Koo Produce

Get to Know the Gastown Izakaya Giving Vancouver’s After-Hours Scene Exactly What it Wants

Oku Izakaya is quickly carving out its niche as the go-to spot for hospitality folks looking for a post-shift destination to chill and decompress.

Embrace Spring with a Walking Tour of Mount Pleasant’s Boulevard Gardens

Saba Farmand, a local landscape architect and the person behind Blvd Gardens of East Vancouver, is back with his popular series of Earth Day Boulevard Garden Walking Tours, April 13th, 14th and 19th.

Turn Up for the Inaugural Tequila & Agave Festival, Vancouver!

Although the main Grand Tasting event is sold out, there are still several other opportunities to get in on the action. For your convenience, we've rounded up a list of the festival's satellite and industry-centred events - don't wait to grab your tickets!

Get Sorted with Tickets to BC Distilled Festival, Happening This Week

This year, the festival relocates to new digs at the Italian Cultural Centre, and features 30 of British Columbia's premier distilleries (as well as a selection of non-alcoholic options).