OpenTable presents: 10 Inspiring Top Chefs Across Canada

Written by Kelly Merritt December 28, 2018

Pockets of Canadian culinary brilliance have gone from gastronomic museum pieces to full-blown eating destinations, especially in its cities. From the western provinces producing the ultimate red meat-driven menus and Ontario’s wine country to Quebec, where European and French cooking influences send gourmands into a dither, the following kitchen stars are blazing their own paths. These connoisseurs of flavor are like bottle rockets, putting the pow, bam, and boom in dazzling dishes that engage diners. Hyper-appreciative of their local producers yet enthusiastic to experiment with fine imported ingredients, these chefs have perfected the art of applying technique to what’s available. Here are a few menus by 10 over-achieving chefs to try in Canada’s cities. Not near any of these chefs’ eateries? We can help you find the right restaurant in your city on


Daniel Vézina and Raphaël Vézina, LaurieRaphael, Québec City, Canada

The father and son duo of Daniel Vézina and Raphaël Vézina have a lot to celebrate over a long and storied hospitality career. The team hosted a television show that aired on Zest titled L’Effet Vezina between 2010 and 2015. Daniel Vezina is devoted to the reduction of food waste, which he chronicled in his 2015 book, La Cuisine Reflechie: Bien Manger Sans Gaspiller. Their restaurant LaurieRaphael is like an edible art museum – their dishes reflective of the passion the family shares for cooking and fine ingredients. The thematic menu is a journey in five stages, ‘new arrival’ in honor of nature and hearth, ‘heritage and traditions’ inclusive of nostalgic culinary memories, ‘cuisines and classics’ in homage to the founding principles of gastronomy, ‘flavor transmission,’ and ‘season’s mark’ paying tribute to Québec’s rich land history. The duo is quoted as saying, “The apple does not fall far from the tree but moves away enough to celebrate the creation of the father while letting the son overcome,” complimenting the continuity of Daniel’s recipes re-envisioned by Raphaël.


A few notable dishes among many include pot prawn ceviche with miso and lime dressing, Valentine radish, and turnip, and bass escabeche with sea urchin espuma and fresh vegetables; foie gras emulsified bean stew with blood orange, seared foie gras, and mustard sprouts; sablefish with celeriac consommé, mushroom duxelles, and spinach; partridge with Jerusalem artichoke; and seared Boileau deer with stuffed cabbage, confit, mashed potatoes, and Espelette pepper gravy. The ‘five themes’ tasting menu is comprised of 11 courses and the chefs can accommodate vegetarians with a seven-course menu as well. Make a reservation at LaurieRaphael.


Alex Chen, Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, Vancouver, British Columbia

When it comes to accolades, few can compare to Alex Chen. The executive chef of Signature Restaurants helped open the downtown hotspot of Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar just a few years ago after leading the Canadian culinary team to a top-10 finish at the 2013 edition of the prestigious Bocuse d’Or in Lyon, France. Chen, who continues to oversee kitchen operations at Boulevard, also won the 2018 Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna, British Columbia, and went on to defeat chef Hugh Acheson in Iron Chef Canadajust this past November.


His diners are too busy scarfing down his signature parfait of wild British Columbia shellfish ‘chowder’ to care much for awards, along with his Northern Divine Caviar and Bull Kelp brioche. Other notable dishes to try include wild sidestripe shrimp with chilled melon and fennel gazpacho and Iberico cabecero; braised beef short rib with millet risotto, granny smith apple, and celeriac fondant; and seared ling cod with mushroom relish, bonito crème fraiche, and ham hock dashi. Make a reservation at Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar.


Alan Ferrer, Minami Restaurant, Vancouver, British Columbia

As the corporate kitchen chef of Aburi Restaurants and executive chef of Minami Restaurant in the Yaletown district, Alan Ferrer has perhaps the most enviable job of any sushi chef in Canada. After all, someone has to make sure the mountains of premium Aburi Oshi sushi are sheer perfection. Minami is so much more than the typical sushi experience – Ferrer represents the next generation of Oshi Sushi in dishes like Minami’s signature salmon Oshi sushi, enhanced with premium toppings and garnishes. The plating is like art, not just rolls or sashimi thrown together on a plate.


Expect to find organic petit green herbs, green pea-shiso, and red cabbage purées. Just a few of Ferrer’s premium toppings choices include Hokkaido Hotate and Botan ebi, mentaiko aioli, seasonal microgreens, Albacore tuna and Ōtoro, tobiko oroshi ponzu, yuzu zest,, Japanese Wagyu, hickory- smoked bacon, wasabi negi relish, and kiku flower. Make a reservation at Minami.


Ryan Lister, Liberty Commons, Toronto, Ontario

An example of where to eat if you love beer, the dishes on the menu at Liberty Commons don’t just pair well with beer — they honor it. An enterprising chef de cuisine at this contemporary brewpub and BBQ eatery, Lister regularly infuses dishes with some sort of beer. For example, his rarebit mac n’ cauliflower features rarebit made with Big Rock’s porter brew. The mantra of ‘good food and good beer in good company’ is alive and well at Liberty Commons. Lister was raised watching his dad brew beer out in the shed of his native seaside town of Weymouth, England. He dreamt of opening his own brewpub one day, based on the pub food and pints he loved back in the United Kingdom.


The menu is inspired by the British classics but transformed into a more refined comfort food experience with dishes like jalapeño and cheddar pierogies with fried shallots, sour cream, beet, and horseradish chutney and Yorkie pudding and corn chip nachos with smoked avocado, salsa, jalapeños, cheddar, and BBQ brisket burnt ends. Make a reservation at Liberty Commons.


Ricardo Valverde, Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio, Vancouver, British Columbia

This enterprising chef can trace his fascination with food back to early childhood in his native Lima, Peru. Yearning to learn more about west coast flavors, Ricardo Valverde moved to Vancouver decades ago, where his passion eventually came to life in Vancouver’s Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio. This French cooking enthusiast received his culinary, pastry/baking, and hospitality management diplomas at Dubrulle French Culinary Institute of Canada, and it shows in some of this vibrant city’s tastiest dishes.


Sophisticated diners will recognize the combination of Valverde’s Peruvian roots, Japanese techniques, and French cooking styles working seamlessly with local ingredients. Guests praise his Ancora glacier with his daily selection of oysters on the half shell, spicy ponzu, ceviche tartare tasting, crab causa, Salt Spring Island mussel Peruvian escabeche, poached prawns, and sashimi, while his grilled octopus anticucho with miso panca, smoked potato espuma, and chalaca and the Peruvian classic of rice and duck, choclo, pickled shallots, huancaina sauce, and seco norteño jus earn high marks as well. Make a reservation at Ancora Waterfront Dining.


Miheer Shete, Jump, Toronto, Ontario

Chef Miheer Shete grew up on authentic Indian food in Mumbai, relishing dishes like green chili masala dosa from Guru Lakshmi. This winner of Chopped Canada in the first season finale has gone on to helm Toronto’s Jump. But it’s more than just the flavor profile that has lifted chef Shete’s Jump to new heights. He studied under French master chef Jose Gutierrez and cooked at Michelin-starred restaurants in the U.K. before coming to Canada in 2010.


Those skills are reflected in dishes like braised lamb shank with parsnips, turnips, pearl barley, and roasted garlic gremolata and the Bay Street Buddha bowl with chickpea frittata, sprouted lentils, buckwheat, stewed peppers, edamame, and hemp seeds. Don’t miss the molasses-brined duck breast with green beans, bean sprouts, fried wild rice, and ginger scallion sauce. Make a reservation at JUMP.


Christine Sandford, Biera-Ritchie Market, Edmonton, Alberta

Biera is a brewpub in Edmonton’s Ritchie Market – but don’t let the vernacular fool you. Christine Sandford is an all-star craftswoman who knows how to infuse beer into some of Alberta’s finest dishes. She developed many of her skills on the road and brought them back to Biera, where she focuses the menu on foods that pair well with beers, including desserts like her hops-based sorbet. Even the temperamental dough Sandford makes, a scrumptious sourdough bread, is based on recipes she learned in Belgium, authentic in the extreme since Sandford takes the weather into account when baking it. Preserved goods are a favorite in her kitchen, which she prepares before winter hits.


Her cultured in-house butter is a must-try, along with any of her dishes cooked over charcoal, like pork shoulder on the bone, carved off and served with chewy dried and rehydrated beets and rhubarb and glazed in meadowsweet verjus. Sandford also makes her own vinegars, including beer vinegar and lemon geranium vinegar. Diners flock to Biera’s snack hour for small plates and, of course, beer. Make a reservation at Biera-Ritchie Market.


Jason Parsons, Peller Estates Winery and Restaurant, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

The name Jason Parsons has become synonymous with all things ice wine and all things gourmet in this part of Canada. The personable chef who loves fresh herbs (particularly basil, lemon thyme, and curry thyme) has appeared regularly as a guest expert on the talk show CityLine and makes guests feel at home at the eatery within Peller Estates Winery.


Much of the ingredient base he uses in his cooking come from Canada and, more specifically, whenever possible, Ontario. The restaurant has been Feast On Certified since 2015. Diners rave about Parsons’ veal sweetbreads with a cornmeal crust, lobster linguini with Sur Lie Chardonnay cream sauce, and wild boar with red pearl onions, chanterelles, and shallot cider jus. Make a reservation at Peller Estates Winery and Restaurant.


Mathieu Masson-Duceppe, Jellyfish, Montreal, Québec

No story on city chefs would be complete without including Montreal’s Mathieu Masson-Duceppe, who has so much fun in the kitchen it shows on every plate. This young chef’s restaurant Jellyfish reflects Masson-Duceppe’s lifelong love of travel, bringing together the best of what he learned in France and Asia with fine dining as only Montreal can display.


At Jellyfish, Masson-Duceppe crafts a marriage of raw and oven-cooked dishes, including starters like salmon belly with salmon caviar and egg roll chip and the bao bun fried soft shell crab with kewpie sake mayo and cucumbers. Diners’ favorite entrees include charcoal-cooked Gaspor piglet with spicy banana ketchup, cilantro sour cream, fried onion ring, and herbs, and confit duck thigh with carrot, orange, and coconut milk. Masson-Duceppe is one of the foremost chefs when it comes to celebrating veggies, so vegetarians will find a welcoming menu at Jellyfish, painted with his signature combination of Chinese and Latino flavors. Make a reservation at Jellyfish.

Kelly Merritt is an author and freelance journalist specializing in culinary travel. Follow her on Twitter @kellywrites + Instagram @kellymerrittwrites + Facebook at KellyMerrittWrites.

Photo credits: Nataschia Wielink (Peller); Cindy La (Miheer Shete); KK Law (Alex Chen)

6 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Restaurant POS

After more than a few years of restaurant experience, you might have designed the perfect menu, hired all the right staff, and collected a group of die-hard regulars. But if your point of sale (POS) is still a traditional legacy system, you could be missing out on essential management tools that help you run a better restaurant.

Your POS should be working to streamline, speed-up, and simplify your operations. But older systems can slow you and your staff down, adding unnecessary steps and making it harder to deliver the kind of experience that gives you:

  • Return customers

  • Word of mouth recommendations

  • Glowing online reviews

  • Positive social media feedback

And since 91% of diners choose new restaurants based on recommendations from friends, 68% from positive online reviews, and 41% from positive social media buzz, you want to make sure your dining experience goes off without a hitch. That starts with your POS.


Here are six signs you need to trade in that old POS system for an iPad POS:

1. Your Server Stations Always Have a Line-up

With a traditional POS system, servers have to jot down orders with pen and paper at the table, then race to the server station to place the order. If an item is 86’d, they have to go back to the table, tell the customer that item is no longer available, and get a new order from the (now disgruntled) customer. And, when there’s a sudden rush, your servers end up waiting in line to punch in their orders. All of these things mean there’s a significant delay between a customer placing an order and the kitchen receiving it. Food takes longer to get to the table.

With an iPad POS, you can give servers a hand-held POS to take orders right at the table. No line ups. No standing around. Plus, any menu changes (i.e. 86’d items) can be communicated immediately, reducing the frustration for customers.

2. Your Software Hasn’t Been Updated in Over a Year

Is your system still using the same software all these years later? It makes sense. Legacy software is expensive and inconvenient to update. But running your business on outdated software can make your operations slower and less efficient than what’s possible on the more powerful systems available today.

Subscription-based iPad POS systems give you free access to regular, automatic updates that release new features and improved functionality. You never have to worry about staying up-to-date with changes to the industry or new trends.

3. Your Servers Aren’t Reaching Their Upsell Targets

An easy way to increase your average check size is through add-ons and upselling. But it’s also easy for servers to forget this step.

Using an iPad POS can make sure they don’t. Required modifiers prompt servers to ask about things like gravy when someone orders fries, or chicken when someone orders a caesar salad. And, when taking orders tableside, you can tempt customers into an extra dessert or fancy cocktail with mouth-watering photos directly on the iPad.

4. Your Servers Forget to Add Modifications to Orders

If a lot of your food is being sent back because it was supposed to have bacon or not supposed to have cheese, it’s costing you time, money, and customers. But the issue might be with your POS system – not your staff.

With an iPad POS, you can reduce these errors by letting your servers take orders right at the table. They don’t have to worry about memorizing modifications, forgetting allergies, or deciphering chicken scratch on their notepad.

5. Your Servers and Customers Complain About Splitting Checks

At the end of a meal, customers shouldn’t be afraid to ask for separate checks – and servers shouldn’t be reluctant to give them. But many legacy systems make it difficult and time-consuming to split checks.

But with a modern POS system, you can separate checks – and even items – with a few easy taps. In seconds, you can separate by seat number, evenly by number of guests, or however the customer requests it.

6. Staff Have to Juggle Multiple Tablets for Online Ordering

Third-party online ordering apps – like Uber Eats and DoorDash – offer convenience to customers and a new revenue stream for restaurants. But with a legacy system, your staff might be stuck managing a separate tablet for each app and manually entering orders from those tablets to your POS. Did you know 5% of all manually entered orders contain at least one error? That could end up costing you $4,000 per year in lost revenue!* Not to mention the extra time it takes.

A modern POS can provide an integration that acts as a bridge between your third-party online ordering platform and your POS. The integration takes third-party orders and streamlines them directly into your POS, so you don’t have to manage more than one system or manually enter orders.


Make sure you’re creating the right kind of buzz in the industry, with an iPad POS that helps streamline, speed-up, and simplify your operations.

*Based on TouchBistro’s estimate of a restaurant’s average annual online ordering revenue.

TouchBistro is an iPad POS and integrated payments solution built for restaurant people, by restaurant people. It helps thousands of restaurateurs across the world run better businesses and makes managing a restaurant easier.

How do you green a building that stands 553.33 metres tall

We all know that every little bit counts when it comes to making sustainable choices to help reduce our footprint on the environment, which is why the CN Tower has made changes to how they operate, in order to help reduce their impact.  

As a world-class attraction, they need to be a leader in sustainability and show that venues of all sizes can implement change, to make change.  The CN Tower sees over 1.9 million guests and serves more than 350,000 diners in a year, numbers like that make a dramatic impact.


Compostable products

They have implemented small yet important changes like moving to paper straws and to products made with compostable materials for their cups, lids, takeout containers and disposable cutlery.

Onsite Gardens

While certainly not able to supply all of what they need in-house, their onsite gardens do make a difference. 

Did you even know
the CN Tower had gardens?

Probably not, so they’re looking to change that. The Culinary Gardens’ main objective is education, as we highlight some of what can successfully be grown here in Toronto, including a range of herbs, fruits and vegetables.  Much of what they grow does get used in 360 Restaurant.

Waste Diversion

In 2018 the CN Tower installed an ORCA, an innovative food waste solution system. ORCA technology simply mimics a natural digestion process. It works using the same principles that our body, and other living organisms are governed by. ORCA creates the perfect thermophilic biological environment for the microorganisms to digest food waste into a liquid. ORCA uses mostly air, along with water and microbiology to turn the food waste from the base kitchen for 360 Restaurant, into an environmentally safe liquid that goes down the drain and is disposed of using the existing sanitary sewer infrastructure.  This reduces the amount of food waste that is stored onsite, which reduces the creation of fruit flies in the environment, and reduces the amount of food waste that needs to be picked up and transported.

Due to this technology their environmental footprint has been reduced in the following ways:

  • 11.24 tons of food waste was diverted

  • 6,350 litres of diesel fuel were not used

  • Reduced methane gas by 7.31kg

  • Reduced carbon dioxide by 9.89 tons

Food and Beverage Program

Another way they are making a difference is in their food and beverage choices.

The CN Tower undertook the task of reviewing all suppliers, and where possible made the change to a local supplier or had existing suppliers source local ingredients. From the Tower, you can see many of their suppliers or the regions where they are located. By listing a local supplier on their menu, they are showing their guests the trust they have in this partner, showing their commitment to being a leader in the local movement and encouraging their guests to go out and explore what these suppliers offer. By sourcing more local ingredients, 360 is making a major economic impact locally.

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By making a conscious effort to be locally driven, they are providing their suppliers with a level of comfort they can be proud of.  With that pride, comes the reassurance that makes theirpartners want to promote their connection with us. They encourage Ontario farmers, grape growers, wineries and breweries to continue to produce great products to share with us, so that they may share them with their guests. The CN Tower has the ability to purchase entire production runs which allows the supplier to feel confident in their product and their association with us, and to perhaps give them the opportunity to focus on growing other aspects of their business.

Several years ago, the CN Tower made the decision to feature Ontario craft beers only. 360 also instituted a wine mandate to feature more local, artisanal, limited supply, and hard to find Ontario wines.  Each 360 menu item is paired with an Ontario VQA wine, and VQA wines account for 80% of their total wine sales. But they don’t stop at beer and wine, they have also developed a Canadian focused cocktail list with all cocktails being driven by a Canadian based spirit.

The result of these and a variety of other efforts, has been a FeastOn Certification for 360 Restaurant. 360 Restaurant also recently received the Greenest Choice TO award for a FeastON Certified Restaurant. They have also focused on choices available in sustainable seafood and are now Ocean Wise certified. Just another way in which they are being recognized for upholding the highest standards of environmentally-responsible foodservice.  Through these changes they are showing their industry and guests that a 400-seat restaurant with clientele from around the world, can have a local mandate.

Sharing the amazing stories behind their local suppliers with their guests is key, so in order to ensure their staff are equipped with these great stories, they invite our suppliers to come onsite for an interactive Q&A with staff.

They will continue to find ways to lessen their environmental impact, but in the mean time we encourage you to come and experience what they have done so far.

Q&A with Chef Ryan Lister, Chef de Cuisine at Liberty Commons

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Can you describe the concept behind Liberty Commons?

Liberty Commons is a proper Canadian gastropub in the heart of Liberty Village. We try our best to work with local farms, Canadian fisheries and other farms across the country. We serve seasonal, humble yet well-thought-out food that pairs great with Big Rock Brewery beers made in our in-pub micro brewery. All this is combined with stellar service. If you’re stopping by for a pint of craft beer, a pre-game burger or a sit-down dinner, you’ll go home feeling satisfied and well taken care of.

Liberty Commons is big on two things — great beer and great, hearty food. Is this an amalgamation of your own personal approach to hospitality?

Definitely. Growing up on the south coast of England and living in London, I would find myself popping down to the pub with my mates to have a couple cheeky pints and some good pub grub. Great food doesn’t have to be accompanied by fancy tablecloths, wine and dress shoes. Some of my favourite food memories are of drinking English cask ales wearing a hoodie and a pair of Converse, so I definitely believe in “great beer and great, hearty food.” That being said, good pub food isn’t easy. It takes a lot of maturity to serve humble food, and paying attention to the little details and to the quality of your ingredients matters. This is something I try to instill in my sous chefs and cooks.

We hear that you love cooking with vegetables, at home and at Liberty Commons. Can you tell us more about that?

Not all people know this about me, but I enjoy eating vegetables more than meat and fish. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not a vegetarian, I just enjoy the flavour and seasonality of veggies more. My dad tells stories of when I was a baby and my mum shoveled mashed swede and carrots in my mouth, so maybe that explains it! And growing up, my parents and grandparents would always serve us lots of vegetables and we had no choice but to eat them.

Sunday lunches always consisted of meat, gravy, Yorkshire puddings and around seven vegetable side dishes. Roasted parsnips — my favourite vegetable in the world — Nan’s roast potatoes, mashed swede, stewed carrots, cauliflower cheese, peas, leeks, broccoli… The list was always changing. We always eagerly anticipated Grandad’s home-grown runner beans in the summer, which inspired me to use lots of vegetables both in the pub and at home. Working in multiple fine-dining restaurants in the UK and at Canoe here in Canada only made me love preparing vegetables more. Always my favourite part of the dish!


How do you integrate vegetables into a pub environment?

At the pub we use vegetables in lots of different ways. Our salad station is probably features the most. Our salads are full of roasted, charred, raw, pickled, preserved and fresh vegetables. I also use veggies to help elevate meat- or fish-forward dishes. I also like using vegetables to lighten up a dish — like adding acidity with a pickle, body or creaminess with a purée, or just adding a few shaved vegetables for colour and freshness.


Chefs are great drivers of change, and we’ve been seeing the plant-based movement emerge over the last couple years. What are your thoughts on that?

I think chefs are trying to take more care when cooking with plant-based foods. I don’t think it’s going to overtake the meat gluttons’ desires anytime soon, but chefs are becoming more creative with fruit and vegetable preparations. I wish everyone would eat a few more vegetables and a little less meat every day — not only for a healthy and balanced diet, but so that the meat production industry can put more energy into ethically raising and creating tastier meat. Canada has an abundance of amazing vegetables, fruit and grains. The more we try to eat local and give constructive feedback, the more information and resources farmers have to produce tastier and more nutritious foods for us.

What are your favourite vegetable-focused dishes to serve your guests at Liberty Commons?

I have a couple. Some of my cooks and I got to go to Norfolk County last summer with 100km Foods to visit a few farms. As a corn lover, Welsh Bros. corn farm was really cool, but the highlight for us was Round Plains Plantation. The farmers down there grow many vegetables, but at the time we went they had just planted sweet potato and peanuts side by side. Apparently they both like to grow in the same soil. This little fact inspired us to create a new dish at Liberty Commons a couple months later: slow-cooked sweet potato tossed in Pristine Gourmet sunflower oil and smoked with Tamarack Farms applewood, and served with Round Plains peanut putter, spiced peanuts, Osprey Bluffs honey, radishes and mixed spicy greens from the New Farm. It was amazing.

Another vegetable-focused favourite is our Saskatoon Lentil Biriyani. As an Englishman I love Indian food. This dish uses spices and rice from India mixed with Canadian lentils, cauliflower, onions, tomatoes, celeriac, carrots and rutabaga. It’s served piping hot in a stone bowl similar to bibimbap, and garnished with fresh cilantro, a fermented lime pickle sauce, raisins and almonds. Wow! Suddenly we’re eating delicious, nutritious vegetarian — even vegan — food without needing a huge slab of animal protein to fuel us through the day. That’s why I love vegetables.

5 Tips for improving workplace mental health

It’s easy to be consumed by the hospitality industry when your entire life is work.  The industry often leaves us without balance or a focus on overall wellness and  mental well being. Our generation is in crisis and there is a silent epidemic of  mental malnutrition in the workplace. Based on our 2019 survey of 400  respondents in Ontario, 87% of hospitality workers said yes to living with mental  health and addiction challenges.    

If you suffer from a heart attack or break a bone the obvious course of action is  to go to the doctor but people seem to neglect healing and recovery when it  comes to their mental health. Although most don’t live with a mental illness, all  of us are affected by our mental wellness. We all have to care for our own  mental health in the same way as our physical health. This becomes difficult for  most people in the hospitality industry who work outside of the 9-5 hours. Many  often have high-pressure jobs in small to medium-sized businesses where the  fundamentals needed for a supportive work environment are neglected or  unavailable.    


The good news is that there are steps we can all take for creating positive  mental health habits in and outside of work. Here are 5 tips that can help you  and your staff and the best part is that they’re free!   

  1. Exercise. We all need it and running up and down stairs isn’t enough.  Sometimes it’s as simple as taking a walk or riding your bike to work. To  help encourage your team, reach out to a local gym and request a  corporate discount for your staff. 

  2. Take a Break! You don’t have to smoke to go outside for fresh air.  Sometimes, getting outside for 10-15 minutes is enough to hit the reset  button and get out of the constant push of service. As a manager, hold  yourself accountable to the Ministry of Labor laws and ensure that your  staff are taking their breaks regularly.  

  3. Nourish your Body. We’ve all been there: an entire day goes by and you  haven’t eaten or consumed enough water at all. We need to place  value in making sure that we eat, and the people around us eat as well.  We spend our days taking care of guests and need to take care of our  work family first.   

  4. Avoid Drugs & Alcohol at Work. It’s not a secret that substance abuse is  prevalent in our industry. Management has an influence to lead by  example and the opportunity to offer staff alternative rewards besides a  post-work drink.  

  5. Resources. Posting mental health and addiction resources publicly for staff  and encouraging a dialogue sets a tone for a positive work culture.   

Sometimes the most powerful habits aren’t ones that cost a lot of money. The  goal is about shifting the focus and effort to taking care of yourself and the  people around you. These habits can help create not only higher retention in  staff but also a more productive, efficient and (most importantly), a happier and  healthier team.  

Not 9 to 5 is a Canadian organization focused on mental health and addiction in the  hospitality, food and beverage industry. We encourage change for a healthier mental  wellbeing for both employers and employees by normalizing the struggle, decreasing  stigma & connecting to resources. Stay tuned for our Better Practice Guide being  launched as a free downloadable PDF at Terroir 2019.

50 Years of Canada’s Favourite Cocktail

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Caesar. Restaurant manager Walter Chell at Calgary Inn in Calgary, AB first concocted the cocktail in 1969 when he was tasked to create a signature drink to commemorate the opening of an Italian restaurant in the hotel. Inspired by his Italian roots and recollection of the Venetian dish Spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with tomato sauce and clams), Chell combined vodka with clam and tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, and a variety of spices to make his signature spicy cocktail. Today, that spice is provided by a few dashes of the Caesar’s classic ingredient – TABASCO® Sauce.

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Order a Caesar outside of Canada and you may be met with blank stares, but here in Canada it’s become an iconic part of Canadian heritage. Over 350 million Caesars are consumed in Canada each year, and it was named Canada’s National Cocktail by Parliament in 2010. Join us in celebrating the Caesar’s 50th Anniversary at Terroir 2019 with TABASCO® Foodservice Canada, who will have a table set up to make-your-own ultimate Caesar. And if this article is already making you thirsty, follow the recipe below for a quick Caesar fix!



1 teaspoon TABASCO® brand Original Red Sauce

1/2 cup Smithworks® Vodka

1 1/2 cups clam & tomato juice

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons olive juice (optional)


Celery salt to rim glasses

2 celery sticks

2 lime wedges


Mix ingredients together. Divide between two 8-ounce ice-filled highball glasses rimmed with celery salt. Stir with celery sticks. Garnish with lime.