Attending the Simcoe Hospitality Awards is a wonderful way to support local.
This event is dedicated to sharing fabulous food and libations with likeminded individuals as they recognize those who make a difference in the industry. Toasting the best of the best, celebrating while enjoying an evening of fun and raising scholarship money for Georgian College Hospitality, Tourism and Recreation students, is a great example of a symbiotic relationship where everyone works together and benefits abound.
Venue locations alternate; the setting in Collingwood at the Living Water Resort & Spa offered spectacular waterfront views.
The room was filled with gratitude; it set a tone that sparkled with the silver. Sincere thanks were offered; from students to faculty, hungry guests to chefs competing for the Silver Plate award. Industry recognized contributions from sponsors, sponsors acknowledged the hard work of faculty and students, we all applauded the economic benefits for tourism.
While the Simcoe Hospitality Awards are about recognition, it’s the time for those in the industry to celebrate their own. As we toasted and talked, we discovered the interconnectedness of our roles.
This is local support in action as the Georgian College students of today become the chefs, recreation facilitators and tourism ambassadors for our community’s tomorrow.
Chef Daniel Clements shared with me that the majority of the students are “home grown” and once they graduate a full 40% stay to work locally. Experiential learning is the best kind and partnering between the college and local industry provides student opportunities to hone their skills in real situations.
Chances are good that if you ate, golfed, participated in a recreational activity, attended an event or stayed at a nearby resort you were guided by the capable hands of a Georgian College graduate.
We ate well.
The Georgian College Alumni Association was the Cocktail Sponsor while Georgian culinary students whet our appetite with a varied selection of appealing hors d’oeuvres.
Libations were courtesy of Peller Estates Winery and The Collingwood Brewery.
Dinner was served marché style; with the chefs competing for the Silver Plate Award, everyone brought their A game.
Executive Chef John K. Cordeaux from Casino Rama presented; Smoked Lake Huron Organic Ruby Red Trout, Crushed Purple Potato, Heirloom Carrot and Horseradish Puree, Pickled Mushrooms, Citrus Thyme Vinaigrette and for dessert Raspberry Macaroon Surprise.
The surprise being that I could easily have devoured another macaroon!
Last year’s winner, Chef Erica Harvey of Elegant Edge Catering took us on a tropical journey with a taste of the Caribbean. Serving; Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Papaya Mango & Scotch Bonnet Salsa, Savoury Yucca Fritter with a Key Lime White Chocolate Truffle, Buttered Pastry, Fresh Raspberry and a tropical Amorous to sip.
Chef Marc Bery of the Living Water Resort & Spa offered; Dates, Double Smoked Bacon & Braised Alberta Beef Short Ribs, Sambuca Flambé Prawns and Chocolate dipped Rosemary & Raisin Shortbread.
Chef Derek Mayes of the Best Western Plus Mariposa prepared a Duo of Local Duck; Currant and Apple Cider glazed Smoked Duck nestled on Mustard Spiced Arugula micro greens, pan seared Duck, Spiedini Barley, Maple cured Lamb Bacon Barley Pilaf with fragrant Orange and Chive glaze and Pistachio crusted coronet stuffed with Salted Caramel and Cappuccino Gelato.
Chef James Day of the Nottawasaga Inn Resort proudly presented; Maple Whiskey Pork Belly, Tuxedo Bean Ragout, Rainbow Root vegetable Caviar & Sweet Pea Puree.
Before the awards ceremony began, each table was presented with a gorgeous wooden cheese board holding a magnificent selection of gourmet cheese, fruit and chocolate from Barrie’s beloved Fromagerie, J’adore.
Rogers TV hostess Jennifer Gordon took the microphone to introduce the dignitaries, speeches started, and the award portion of the evening began.
Contented diners rose to the occasion with appreciative applause when their team members’ names were announced.
Downtown Barrie was well represented in the nominees for PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS.
Favourite Server – Rob McGibbon – Kenzington Burger Bar, Barrie
Favourite Bartender – Sarah Williams – Queens Nightclub, Barrie
Favourite Restaurant – Big Chris BBQ Smokehouse, Barrie
Favourite Accommodations Facility – Casino Rama
Favourite Hospitality & Tourism Ambassador – Lori Hough- Cranberry Village
Favourite Recreational/Tourism Facility –Casino Rama
Hospitality Manager of the Year Award – Melanie Montroy – Casino Rama
Local Chef of the Year Award – John K. Cordeaux – Casino Rama
Industry Recognition Award – Larry Law – Cranberry Village
FOODSERVICE & HOSPITALITY SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR
Ryan Traversy – Peller Estates
HEART OF THE HOUSE – LEGACY AWARD
Chef Daniel Clement explained this is the pinnacle of the industry and in an unprecedented move the choice was to award all three finalists. Thunderous applause!
Ken Chynoweth –Casino Rama
Nancy Monk –Nottawasaga Inn Resort
Debbie Pevrill – Cranberry Golf Resort
SILVER PLATE AWARD
This award was selected by those present and dining; the winner with home field advantage was Chef Marc Bery of the Living Water Resort & Spa. As I type I am craving his chocolate dipped shortbread!
During the ceremony two Georgian College students, former recipients of scholarship funds were invited to speak about the impact this had on their studies.
Breanne Garven and Miranda Rawn spoke with candor, sharing how the funds allowed them to travel and extend their knowledge and experience. The scholarship money lessened pressure and allowed them to focus on their studies.
Over the last four years the Simcoe Hospitality Awards have raised almost $50,000 for scholarships!
First hand voices addressing the purpose of the evening, this is why we support the event, the great food and conversation season the evening, but the charitable cause is our true sustenance.
That is supporting local at its finest.
See you next year!