CHF holds its first Red Door Gala

CHF Award Winners.

TORONTO — The Canadian Hospitality Foundation (CHF) held its first Red Door Benefit Gala at Hotel X on Feb. 29. While the CHF has been around since 1962, this is the first year Restaurants Canada has taken over the event. It attracted 270 attendees to Hotel X at Exhibition Park, which hosted the event for the first time.

While the attendees didn’t get a chance to hear from all the award winners, their representative, Aida Yahyapour, a culinary management student at Humber College, got up on stage to be interviewed by longtime City TV personality Kevin Frankish, who is now teaching at Seneca College. Aida’s goal is to open a new restaurant with her classmate and husband, Imre. Frankish appealed to the audience for job offers, and got some from the floor! One of the most dramatic moments of the evening came when Frankish called on the audience to chip in loonies and toonies to help the students, and came up with $280.

Frankish noted that depression, anxiety and stress are prevalent among today’s students, especially in the last year or two. It’s not just technology but their uncertain future that causes this stress.

“We are here because we care about the hospitality industry — want to leave it in good hands. [The CHF] has raised millions over the years, and we have never needed it more than now,” Frankish said. 

“In order to attract and retain our talent we must improve the image of our industry,” noted Restaurants Canada president and CEO Shanna Munro, and to set the stage, the CHF has a new look, and has launched The Red Door Scholarship Program.

“The Red Door Scholarship Program is designed to advance our industry’s workforce through lifelong careers,” Munro said. “Red Door Scholars will receive tuition support, relevant externship, mentorship and placement post-graduation. This scholarship will be the most sought after program in our industry in Canada.

“Our industry must to work together to make hospitality a lifelong career, and together we can build career partnerships long term,” she said.