Are Canadian Restaurants An Underground Band? The World Restaurant Awards Are HERE!

Whether or not you follow or even understand what a Michelin star has to do with food is irrelevant thanks to The World Restaurant Awards which recently dropped their lists of the global leaders in our space.

There are a number of categories which the committee in charge considered, from Ethical Thinking Restaurant of the Year to No Reservations Required. They’ve seemingly covered off all of the appropriate categories to be considered when looking to hilight those who are out there just smashing it.

The award winners will be announced in Paris on February 18th 2019 (Who is going?) and judging by the list of finalist in each category it is going to be one heck of a party with some of the industries most influential and creative minds.

While it’s beyond exciting for me to scroll through this list and find some gems I hadn’t even heard of before (Russ & Daughters out of New York up for Enduring Classics) I am saddened by the sparse representation of Canadian culinary leaders. Only 6 out of over 200 finalists. What does this mean? Are we doing something wrong as an industry here in Canada? Is this a negative, only 6 finalists?

This is a positive, and a massive opportunity for us as an industry, nation wide!

The reality of the situation reminds me of the analogy I find myself using quite often on the podcast. The analogy of that great band you see in a small bar on a random Tuesday night, and they are really really good. Their sound is unique, yet laced with some familiarities. They work as a tight unit, but it is their missteps that make them more fun to watch. They have the potential to blow the roof off a large stadium, but right now only you and 54 other people know about them.

That is food in Canada right now.

We are, holistically, creating some great “music” it just isn’t on everyones radar yet, and I emphasize YET. While we are blessed with a great lead singer in Joe Beef, a slick bass player in the team from Raymonds, a crazy good lead guitarist in Chez Nous Wine Bar, and a funky drummer in Fisherman Lobster Clubhouse that always keeps a unique and catchy beat, we still aren’t topping iTunes singles for the week.

We ARE doing the right things, we just need to keep doing what we do well. Honest, approachable food. From the land, seas and lakes, hi-lighting the abundance that our country gifts to us. We just need to get out of our own way.

We need to turn up the volume on our best tracks and expose the world to the art we are creating.

So while I am wanting to see more of a Canadian contingent at this years awards, I know that we will get there, and I will do whatever I can to help that cause.

If you are a restaurant owner, head chef, bartender, server, or even a hostess take pride in what you do day in and day out. You never know when you could be “playing” for the right person at the right time who didn’t even realize you could jam like that.

Keep rockin’ Canada.