RESTAURANTS CANADA AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE 

Published janvier 17, 2024

Restaurants Canada Awards of Excellence celebrate professionals who embody the best of our industry through their extraordinary vision, leadership and skill, and their unwavering spirit. The Awards are not only a celebration of extraordinary achievement, they are also a milestone that marks the industry’s progress and keeps us moving forward, together. 

These awards are much more than a formal recognition—they inspire, ignite ambition and set a benchmark for excellence. The Awards ceremony takes place each year at RC Show, before an engaged audience of industry peers. This recognition is not just about honouring current success; it inspires the entire foodservice community to reach further and think differently, pushing the envelope of leadership, creativity and operational excellence.  

The prestige of being nominated or winning one of these awards can significantly enhance a winner’s public image, extending beyond the award ceremony, offering visibility and the potential for further growth. It can also attract attention from media, potential partners, and industry leaders, creating opportunities for those recognized to stand out in a competitive market. 

Each award category underscores crucial industry values—from culinary skill to social advocacy, and leadership to ingenuity.  

While several of the award category nominees are selected by a judging panel, the Culinary and Emerging Leader Award nominee lists are solicited through industry peer nomination process.

Nominations by appointed industry panel: 

LEADERSHIP AWARD OF EXCELLENCE 
Honouring those who have made an indelible mark and game-changing contribution to the Canadian foodservice landscape, helping others grow to reach new heights and potential.  

Presented by PEPSICO

LEGACY AWARD OF EXCELLENCE 
Honouring those whose careers inspired, elevated and transformed the Canadian foodservice industry, leaving a lasting blueprint for generations to follow.  

Presented by DIVERSEY

Environmental Stewardship Award of Recognition 
Recognizing a pioneering Canadian company for their leadership and commitment to initiatives that aim to significantly reduce the environmental footprint of the foodservice industry.  

Presented by TOO GOOD TO GO

INNOVATION AWARD OF EXCELLENCE 
Honouring individuals and companies that challenge the status quo, using ingenuity and vision to develop game-changing products and services that drive foodservice forward. 

Honouring those who harmonize culinary expertise with unparalleled creativity, celebrating a wide array of flavours and cuisines while prioritizing sustainability, and a consistent commitment to high-quality culinary service. This nominee not only possesses exceptional culinary expertise but also demonstrates the ability to inspire and guide a team, innovate within the industry, and contribute to the overall growth and development of their team members. 

Presented by Air Canada

EMERGING LEADER AWARD OF EXCELLENCE 
Peer nominations close on February 23, 2024  

Honouring those who, from early on in their career, have embraced foodservice as their passion and vocation, reaching new heights of personal potential, while blazing a new path for others to follow and thrive.  

Presented by Groupex Canada

Legacy Award of Excellence 2023 

Peter Oliver, Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality 

The 2023 Restaurants Canada Legacy Award of Excellence was posthumously awarded to Peter Oliver for his exceptional contributions to the foodservice landscape in Canada. Peter’s passion, devotion and inspiration are the foundation of the legacy he has left behind through Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality.  

Leadership Award of Excellence 2023 

Gregory Roberts, owner and CEO of Mary Brown’s Chicken and MBI Brands Inc 

Gregory was recognized for embracing new opportunities and taking inventive approaches to common industry issues. In addition to creating and encouraging an environment that fosters agile, out-of-the-box thinking, Roberts continues to invest back into the communities Mary Brown’s serves, demonstrating that when heart and hustle go hand in hand, anything is possible. 

Social Advocacy Award of Excellence 2023 

Sharon Hapton, CEO and Founder of Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers  

Sharon’s dedication and hard work turned an individual effort into a national not-for-profit movement that has provided three million “Hugs in a Bowl” to feed people in need across Canada and the U.S. Her exceptional and giving spirit led to a charitable initiative that nurtures both bodies and spirits. Hapton’s vision for a more generous world represents the best of social advocacy and an original recipe for long lasting change. 

Innovation Service Award of Excellence 2023 

Janice Bartley, Founder and Executive Director of Foodpreneur Lab 

Janice was recognized for her actions to address systemic issues facing underrepresented business talent in the food sector. Foodpreneur Lab serves and supports Black entrepreneurs by providing the resources, training and mentorship they need to access the Canadian food market and grow. This influential platform and incubator promotes emerging F&B innovators and offers exciting initiatives like the Black Diaspora. 

Sam Kashani, Country Director, Canada of Too Good to Go 

Too Good to Go is an innovative app that addresses the problem of food waste. Bridging the gap between food providers with extra stock on hand and customers in need of meals, the app has saved thousands of dollars for small businesses and consumers alike, prevented greenhouse gas emissions, and directly tackled the global problem of food waste. In a time of increasing food insecurity, Too Good to Go has connected consumers with delicious meals while increasing margins for operators. 

Chef Tre was recognized for his bold, boundless passion and continuing efforts to bring an elevated culinary experience to every plate. Sanderson set a new and consistent standard of excellence with creativity, ambition, beautiful presentation and, most importantly, delicious food. A top-tier chef and true culinary leader, Sanderson’s many contributions, from his work at top restaurants to his triumph on Top Chef Canada, have blazed a brilliant trail for future chefs to follow. 

Chef Imrun Texeira 

Chef Imrun was recognized for blazing a new, entrepreneurial path for industry talent and working to change the industry for the better. As founder of Wanderlust Private Dining, Imrun has set a new standard of excellence not only for show-stopping dishes but for his leadership, creativity and ambition while advocating for better working conditions across the industry. He is also a Canadian Ambassador for The Burnt Chef Project, where he continues to work to eradicate mental health stigma in the hospitality industry. 


Nominee Criteria 

Nominees MUST: 

  • Be an active Canadian foodservice professional of any recognized industry specialization. 
  • Comport themselves with the highest level of respect for the industry and for all others, at all times. 
  • Be positively endorsed by industry peers and leaders. 
  • Be 19+ years of age. 

Nominees SHOULD: 

  • Demonstrate exceptional leadership potential and accomplishments early in their careers. 
  • Consistently convey passion and belief in the potential of the industry. 
  • Reflect the ability to inspire and influence others, communicate effectively, and exhibit the capacity to make sound decisions. 
  • Demonstrate creativity and innovation in their approach to solving problems or achieving goals within their professional roles. 
  • Show a commitment to continuous learning and development, which may involve pursuing further education, attending relevant workshops or conferences, and/or seeking opportunities for growth. 
  • Have developed successful projects, made significant contributions, or had a measurable, positive impact on the restaurant and foodservice sector that illustrate a vision for the future of the industry. 

Presented by Groupex Canada

Nominee Criteria 

Nominees MUST: 

  • Be an active Canadian back-of-house professional in any of the following specializations: Executive Chef, Sous Chef, Pastry Chef, Kitchen Leader. 
  • Comport themselves with the highest level of respect for the industry and for all others, at all times. 
  • Be positively regarded/endorsed by industry peers and leaders. 
  • Be 19+ years of age. 

Nominees SHOULD: 

  • Demonstrate or represent an establishment or entrepreneurial business of distinction, innovation and/or community influence within the culinary arts, including contributions to culinary culture, trends, and the broader food industry;
  • Have successfully completed or earned the educational background, certifications, or other equivalent credentials/experience that demonstrate the nominee’s dedication to continuous learning and mastery of culinary arts; 
  • Consistently prioritize sustainability, progressive, ethically driven leadership, and demonstrate a dedication to responsible culinary practices.

Presented by Air Canada

Jess Landesman

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