Robust tradeshow, topical seminars at Connect Show

VANCOUVER—A bustling tradeshow with 350 booths, plus expanded liquor, coffee and local produce sections marked Connect Food + Drink + Lodging Show, held Nov. 3-4 at the Vancouver Convention Centre West.

Elias Chu (with trophy) won the BC Junior Top Chef prize at the recent Connect Food + Drink + Lodging show.

Elias Chu (with trophy) won the BC Junior Top Chef prize at the recent Connect Food + Drink + Lodging show.

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By Colleen Isherwood, editor

VANCOUVER—A bustling tradeshow with 350 booths, plus expanded liquor, coffee and local produce sections marked Connect Food + Drink + Lodging Show, held Nov. 3-4 at the Vancouver Convention Centre West. At this year's show there were over 4,100 registered visitors and almost 1,300 registered exhibitors/exhibit staff.

The BC Chef Association held its 2nd annual BC Junior Top Chef competition and BC Iron Chef Competition at the show. 

Keith Pears of Delta Hotel & Conference Centre Burnaby won the Iron Chef competition.

Keith Pears of Delta Hotel & Conference Centre Burnaby won the Iron Chef competition.

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Elias Chu of Beach Grove Golf Club won the junior competition on Nov. 3 and Keith Pears of Ebo Restaurant and head chef for Delta Hotels and Conference Centre in Burnaby was the Iron Chef winner on Nov. 4.

Meanwhile, seminars dealt with topics such as BC’s worker shortage and crisis communications at the BC Tourism & Hospitality Summit, held in conjunction with the Connect Show.

Arlene Keis, CEO of go2hr, told summit delegates that  British Columbia’s 1.2 million baby boomers, who are now approaching retirement, are the best-kept secret when it comes to solving the province’s hospitality industry worker shortage. “They don’t care about the big bucks; and they don’t care about working full time because they want to spend time with the grandkids. And they will show up for work!”

The province will need 108,383 full time equivalent tourism industry workers by 2020, and if the status quo continues, there will be a shortage of 14,006 workers. Three occupation categories: F&B servers, food counter attendants and kitchen helpers; chefs and cooks; and restaurant and foodservice managers will experience the greatest demand and account for 35,000 positions.

Keis suggested recruiting from under-represented groups. Aboriginal youth are the only growing demographic in the province, and often they don’t want to leave their homes, meaning opportunities for tourism operators in certain areas.

Some jobs can be adapted to suit people with disabilities, Keis said. For example, people with developmental disabilities can learn repetitive tasks working as kitchen helpers and dishwashers.

For more on Keis' remarks go to https://canadianlodgingnews.com/lodging/news/baby-boomers-key-to-bc-worker-shortage-problems

Crisis Communication panel, left to right, Wendy Magnes, Destination BC, Deirdre Campbell, Tartan Group and Lynn Gervais, TopTable Group.

Crisis Communication panel, left to right, Wendy Magnes, Destination BC, Deirdre Campbell, Tartan Group and Lynn Gervais, TopTable Group.

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Crisis communications panel speaker Lynn Gervais of TopTable Group has dealt with disasters including guest deaths, staff injuries, food poisoning, construction defects, and a facility that hosted major events without a license.

“You can’t plan a crisis when it is happening,” she said. “Would you consider buying seatbelts and airbags for your car while sliding toward a wall at top speed?” she asked.

Top BC tourism and hospitality students were honoured at LinkBC’s 8th Annual Case Competition Awards Ceremony at the summit.

The winners for the JOEY Restaurant Group human resources case study were Thompson Rivers University and Royal Roads. Their hypothetical case study involved finding 600 top culinary chefs over the next three years. For photos go to https://canadianlodgingnews.com/lodging/news/linkbc-student-case-study-award-winners