Lower Mainland Professionals to be recognized
Aug 16, 2019 bcrfauser01

The Restaurant Hall of Fame celebrates those who have made significant contributions to the restaurant business and to grow our industry’s professionalism. “Our province is blessed with considerable talent. This year’s group of inductees has worked tirelessly on behalf of the industry and their leadership inside and outside of the industry makes them incredible role models,” says Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association (BCRFA).

The 2019 Lower Mainland Hall of Fame inductees will be honoured on October 7, 2019:

– Susan Mendelson is chef/owner of The Lazy Gourmet (Vancouver), one of Vancouver’s first catering companies, and the author of many successful cookbooks for kids and adults around the world. Susan’s passion for great tastes and presenting impeccable food for events of every size and scope has influenced a generation of cooks and entrepreneurs. Her commitment to elevating the tastes and service that we are known for here in BC is something we are pleased to celebrate.

– Frank di Benedetto and Bruce Fox have both driven restaurant growth on a large scale. Their passion for this industry and for promoting the potential of careers in restaurants make them each perfect for the Hall of Fame.

As owner of FDF Brandz (Vancouver), Frank operates over 175 locations of Ricky’s Family Restaurants, FatBurger, Famoso Pizzeria and ABC Family Restaurants. Since his first job at McDonald’s in Prince George in 1969, Frank has driven growth and introduced new burger concepts to the province. We recognize his appetite for development and commitment to innovation.

Bruce is responsible for bringing over 200 franchisees into the restaurant community. Bruce is super passionate about helping great people find business success in restaurants. Through his career with Boston Pizza, Opa! Souvalaki, Good Earth Café and now Browns Restaurant Group, Bruce has helped pair brands with locations and people to give BC consumers great dining choices.

– Meeru Dhalwala, co-owner/chef of Vij’s and Rangoli Restaurants (Vancouver), is being inducted for her excellence as a chef and mentor. Meeru runs one of the only all woman kitchens in the province. She mentors home cooks trained in the traditional Indian ways to brings them into her restaurant kitchens. She has changed the face of Indian cooking in Canada through her inspired menus and her cookbooks geared to the everyday cook.

– Barb Finley is a chef, educator and the founder of Project Chef. We are inducting her for her leadership in bringing the love of healthy local food and cooking to children and families at schools in Vancouver. Barb’s ability to translate the love of wholesome, nutritious meals to the next generation in a hands on way is helping to make our industry stronger and helping professionals connect with the next generation.

“The individuals being inducted in 2019 are true professionals whose generosity of spirit and strength of passion and contribution make the BC Restaurant industry world class,” says Bob Parrotta, Chair of the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame. “We couldn’t be more honoured to recognize the diverse efforts and accomplishments of the 2019 inductees. These people set a high benchmark for future years.”

Early bird tickets for the October 7 gala are now available for purchase online or by phone: 604-669-2239

2019 Hall of Fame Inductees from the Island Announced Today
Aug 15, 2019 bcrfauser01

The BC Restaurant and Food Services Association today announces the Vancouver Island inductees into the 2019 BC Restaurant Hall of Fame. The two consummate professionals who have earned the province’s highest honour for hospitality professionals are Ronald St. Pierre of Locals Restaurant (Comox Valley) and Gary Hynes of Eat Magazine (Victoria).

Ronald St. Pierre, owner/chef of Locals Restaurant, is being honoured as a Local Champion. St. Pierre’s commitment to local is proudly displayed on his seasonal menus, his wine list and in his supplier relationships. With this award, we are celebrating his steadfast belief that locally sourced food tastes better, lasts longer, has an economic benefit and provides for a unique customer experience. “Ronald’s leadership in provided a local food and beverage experience that can be measured in blocks and miles to the plate makes us proud to recognize his constant pursuit of excellence and passion,” says BCRFA President and CEO Ian Tostenson. “His hard work connects us with the bounty of our province and that makes us all proud British Columbians.”

Gary Hynes is being post-humously inducted as a Friend of the Industry. As editor and publisher of EAT Magazine for 19 years, Gary worked to tell the stories of the people in front of and behind the plate. He liked to bring out the best in people and to inspire others in British Columbia to eat well and to celebrate the bounty of our province through the lens of the restaurants, farmers and producers. A passionate cook and writer, Gary owned and ran an award winning inn and restaurant before he moved to the Island. He knew every aspect of the restaurant trade.

“We are recognizing Gary because he did what he loved and he inspired countless others to excel in their craft and to bring the best to the table,” says Hall of Fame chairperson Bob Parrotta of Butchart Gardens. “Gary’s contribution to our industry is measured in EAT’s amazing following and his ability to profile others above himself. He is missed by foodies on the Island and around the province.”

This year’s Island inductees are amazing people who share their passion and pass along their love of food and hospitality freely.

Early bird tickets are now available for purchase online or by phone: 604-669-2239

Hall of Fame Okanagan Inductees Announced
Aug 14, 2019 bcrfauser01

The 2019 Hall of Fame inductees includes two leaders from the Okanagan: Manuel Ferreira and Stephen Cipes. They will join our industries leaders from the Okanagan previously in the Hall of Fame: Chefs Bernard Casavant and Chef Rod Butters (RauDZ Restaurant Group), Christine Coletta (Okanagan Crush Pad), Franco Coccaro (La Bussola), Sandra Oldfield (Elysian Projects) and Harry McWatters (Encore Vineyards).

This year’s Okanagan inductees are being inducted for their leadership and dedication to making the BC restaurant and food service industries world class.

Manuel Ferreira, restaurateur, is being inducted in the Active Restaurateur Category. Manny is the proprietor of Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek (Oliver) and former owner of Le Gavroche (Vancouver). As a career restaurateur, Manny is recognized for his commitment to staff training and to ensuring the highest quality dining experience for his guests. After a career in Vancouver, Manny came to the Okanagan and through his dedication, succeeded in elevating hospitality in the Okanagan by pairing his strong wine knowledge with his leadership in the front of house. By inducting Manny into the Hall of Fame, we recognize his ability to share his passion and to foster faith in his clients and his suppliers.

Stephen Cipes, founder/owner, Summerhill Pyramid Winery (Kelowna), is being inducted as a Local Champion for providing holistic hospitality in his winery and his restaurant. Ever since Stephen Cipes first came to the Okanagan in 1986, when it was still very early in the development of the British Columbia wine industry, his determination to champion sustainability and organic agriculture, has helped him forge a unique path to success. We are recognizing him for his leadership as an advocate of the land and for bringing sustainable wines and flavours to the restaurant table.

“Manny and Stephen make us proud to recognize their excellence, professionalism and determination through induction into the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame,” says Ian Tostenson, President and CEO of the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association (BCRFA). “The restaurant industry is something that must always change and grow. I am honoured to celebrate leaders like these, who specialize in training the next generation, who pass on their passion through their pride and hard work and who so strongly connect with the bounty of our province.”

Tickets are on sale now: Buy Tickets

Ridesharing in the News
Aug 13, 2019 bcrfauser01

Our president and CEO Ian Tostenson was invited to be part of Conversations That Matter, a partner program for the Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University.

See the whole story here:



The BCRFA’s Dual Intent Program
Aug 08, 2019 bcrfauser01

Are you interested in helping skilled workers come to Canada?


The BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association might just have what you are looking for.

The Express Entry Dual Intent program is a pathway to permanent immigration to Canada.  It allows skilled foreign workers to apply for a 24 month, temporary work permit while having a permanent residency application in process.

This program allows BC restaurants to fill jobs that require experienced individuals. In return, skilled workers get the support of their employer while they pursue permanent residency status.

As per the immigration regulations for the dual entry program, all foreign workers must have a culinary diploma or hospitality management education in their field of work, and 5 years experience in the role they are applying for in Canada.  In addition, the foreign worker is required to demonstrate English language proficiency by undergoing IELTS exam.

Benefits of hiring under Express Entry Dual Intent program for skilled jobs:

  • Streamlined application process governed by experts in the field.
  • We screen all applicants and ensure the foreign workers have all the necessary training, qualifications, and experience to perform the work in Canada.
  • The number of applications is not capped, you can apply for as many workers as you require.
  • The wages you offer the candidates is the median wage in your area.
  • A minimum of 30 hours per week must be guaranteed.
  • No need to provide accommodation or travel costs.

The BCRFA program is unique:

  • We have teamed up with Brij Rathi Consultancy to bring you the best possible resources for hiring foreign workers. The consultants explain and provide advice on the temporary foreign worker program that fits your needs.
  • We advertise and recruit on your behalf.
  • We complete and submit the application form and all required documents.
  • We communicate with ESDC/services Canada on the employer’s behalf and represent the employer during the application process.
  • Our team are members are in good standing of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council. They are undergoing the recent BC certification process and will be certified under the new code when it comes into force.

The positions you can hire under this program are:

  • Line cooks, first cooks and second cooks.
  • Restaurants supervisors and managers.
  • Banquet supervisors and managers.
  • Event coordinators, any other hospitality supervisor roles.


  • All of the candidates have at least five years experience in high volume restaurants and hotels. Training can then be focused on a specific position, workplace familiarity, and orientation, rather than basic job training.



  • $1800 plus tax per worker includes the government’s $1000 Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) fee.
  • Processing time: 4-5 months.

Work period:

  • Initial work visa is 24 months.
  • 24 to 30 months subject to the applications for permanent residency for the Express Entry program.

Our commitment:

  • Our comprehensive recruitment system and rigorous screening process ensure you get the right person for the role.

For more information please reach out to Ian Tostenson (itostenson@bcrfa.com) or Brij Rathi  (brathi@brijrathi.com).