March 04, 2021
The BC restaurant and foodservice industry is full of outstanding women. From the front of house to back of house, women lead with strength, integrity and positivity. This year for International Women’s Day, we asked our foodie friends to help us shout out our local restaurant heroes and the response we received was amazing!
The kind words we received speak for themselves, here are 17 women that we are celebrating this year described by their friends and colleagues:
Lynda Larouche - Restaurant Owner at Argo Café, Vancouver
“Lynda has always had a progressive attitude in the different roles she's held. Over her career she encouraged and guided many young Chefs, as well as others in the supply side of the foodservice industry. I'm proud to consider Lynda a friend as she's taught me how to enjoy food, cook food, and expand my life through food. ” – Annette Leigh
Onille Pitogo – Executive Chef at the Pendray Inn and Tea House, Victoria
“Chef Pitogo leads the Pendray Inn and Tea House through excellence in quality and personal integrity. She is considered a model leader throughout the company as she sets a strong and positive tone for everyone around her. Her team feel valued in her presence and her colleagues share a sense of pride to work alongside her each day.” – Julian Canton
Sara Cszik - Restaurant Manager at Earls Test Kitchen, Vancouver
“Sara is relentless and delivers a great experience for everyone in her business. She is passionate about hospitality, people, and the guest experience. She believes that by creating an environment that is fun and safe her people will thrive.” - Patrick Miller
Darice Page - Server at Forage, Vancouver
“Our guests have had the pleasure of Darice‘s service at Forage since the day we opened 8 1/2 years ago. Darice always ensures the guests in our restaurant feel welcomed by her giving spirit, cared for by her detailed service, and wowed by her passion & knowledge of food and beverage - especially local products.
This mother of two impresses us every day with her motivation and energy for hospitality all while working multiple jobs (@jarrdelivery), embarking on creative projects, and making the world a better place.
She is kind, generous, collaborative, and creative. A true example of an amazing human being. Today, on a day we celebrate women, we are proud to celebrate her.” – Margot Baloro
Courtney Koga - Co-Owner of CrAsian Food Truck, Provisions Kitchen & Catering and BoxcAr Kitchen, Kelowna
“Our team would like to recognize Courtney Koga, co-owner of the CrAsian Food Truck, Provisions Kitchen & Catering and BoxcAr Kitchen. Simply put, it is difficult to not be inspired by Courtney’s excitement for food: her passion for the way in which it brings us all together and the possibilities it provides are displayed in her actions each and every day. Born and raised in Kelowna, she believes food should be fun and is continually incorporating this attitude throughout her various operations to create unique experiences within her hometown. Her visions are endless, and we are constantly in awe/immensely appreciative of the effortless efforts she makes for both our team and our community.” - Meiko Koga
Ashley Laidlaw - Pub Manager at Black Bear Neighbourhood Pub, North Vancouver
“Ashley has been with us as a Server, Bartender and Pub Manager since 2009.
Always putting the well-being of the business first through professional service, she is always guest-focused and leads by example in setting the bar for all the other front of house staff to follow - her work ethic is beyond reproach.
We are very fortunate to have her as part of the team and she has a loyal following of guests as well.” – Grant Dawson
Katie Lush - General Manager at Container Brewing, Vancouver
“Katie's service philosophy is all about putting customers first and making sure that everyone feels welcome. She really likes to get to know our patrons and understand them.
Our regular customers feel beyond welcome, and it's no small part due to how Katie treats them. Katie has an amazing memory, and somehow manages to remember customer's names even if they have only visited us once!” - Dan Webster
Jill Jarrett - BNA Brewing Co. & Eatery, Kelowna
“I want to recognize Jill Jarrett of BNA Brewing Co. & Eatery: AKA the "Jill of all Trades". If you could only have one person to help run a business in this industry it should be Jill. Every task thrown her way is handled with such proficiency it makes the job seem easy. Don't be mistaken. Jill starts the day with her "to-do" list, continues to grow it, and yet still manages to accomplish and achieve most things all in a day's work. It's those rare people like Jill who somehow seem to create more hours in a day.
Thanks Jill! We're forever grateful to have someone like you around to co-operate our businesses together!” - Courtney Koga
Sandy Grant - General Manager at the Water St Cafe, Vancouver
"Sandy truly is an incredible GM. She's worked with owners Eli and Alan for about a decade and through it all has been loyal, hard-working, and supportive of her teams. As we open our second location at the Qualicum Beach Cafe, Sandy has done an amazing job not only holding down the fort at Water St Cafe, but she's an integral part of our success thus far in 2021. We are so proud to call this superwoman our General Manager!" - Kaitlyn Brennan
Amy Turner - General Manager at the Qualicum Beach Cafe, Qualicum Beach
"Opening a new restaurant from the ground up is never easy. However, with Amy as our GM, the Qualicum Beach Cafe has flourished in its first few weeks. Her positivity, professionalism, and approachable demeanor have allowed our new team to grow. Furthermore, she's established herself as a key player within the restaurant group. We are truly thankful and consider ourselves privileged, to call Amy our GM!" - Kaitlyn Brennan
Bryanne Wiebe - Service Manager at Shelter Restaurant, Tofino BC
“Whether managing the floor, serving tables, or slinging drinks behind the bar, Bry always ensures a memorable experience for any guest. As a passionate leader of our team, Bry truly shines in her ability to bring joy to others with her infectious smile and positive attitude.
Bry started at Shelter in 2015 as support staff. Through her talent, dedication, and unwavering work ethic, she has gone from busser to server, to bartender, to bar manager, to service manager. She now looks after scheduling up to 50 staff members and ensures all our front of house staff are well looked after and are providing the best service possible to our guests. Bry is an integral part of Shelter Restaurant and we just love having her on the team!” - Tesja White
Alana Bazant – Dining Room Manager at Gotham Steakhouse & Bar, Vancouver
"Alana is an intelligent, energetic hospitality professional who is truly passionate about creating memorable guest experiences.
Her intuitive management style and exceptional people skills create a great atmosphere for staff to thrive and guests to truly enjoy their time at Gotham.
Alana’s positive attitude is infectious, and she is an integral part of our team. Her strong and compassionate leadership style creates a fantastic working environment for staff, and her passion for elevating guests ‘experiences make her an incredible ambassador for our restaurant." -
Angelique Vie - Bar Manager at Jack's Pizza & Liquor, Kelowna
"Angie has this perfect balance of sophistication and approachability to her service philosophy. Her ability to showcase our concept through flavour combinations behind the bar, guest education and personable service are second to none.
Angie is a proud advocate of positive mental health within our industry and often discusses her own challenges and opportunities through her social media channels in hopes of inspiring and motivating others. She is also one of the very few female bartenders in Kelowna and in such a male-dominated space, Angie continues to deliver that feminine touch that often lacks. Her confidence and persona is often a focal point of the Jack's experience." - Brian Atkinson
Milen Fessahaye - Joey, Burnaby
“Milen always makes guests feel welcome and treats everyone like a guest in her own home and always makes sure the guest comes first. The amount of times Milen’s name has been mentioned in online reviews is amazing!” - Andrew Nasr
Nina Janjic - Guest Services Manager at Joey Shipyards, North Vancouver
“Nina knows how to make guests feel welcome the moment they walk in the door. She trains her team to lead with genuine warmth and care and offers world class experiences that makes guests feel like old friends at the end of their visit.
As the Guest Services Manager at Joey Shipyards, she leads our company with one of the best guest service teams and is now playing a big role in the future of our guest service program. Nina we are so proud of who you are as a leader and a friend to so many and how you continue to put smiles on everyone's face (even with a mask on)! She embodies genuine warmth and care at the highest level, and we are very lucky to have her a part of our organization.” - Andrew Nasr
Stephanie Noel - Development Chef at Hawksworth Restaurant Group, Vancouver
“Stephanie wants to let the products she's using speak for themselves and showcase the craftsmanship of the grower, farmer, forager and artisan.
We are proud of Stephanie because of her limitless talent and creativity in the kitchen. With her can-do attitude, she turns every idea into a reality.” - David Hawksworth
Jessamyn Box - Sommelier at Nightingale, Vancouver
“In serving wine Jessamyn is most interested in pairing guests with the perfect bottle, so she always finds out what they drink at home first. Then based on the guests' tastes, she usually introduces them to a grape/ country/ region that they have never tried before. It keeps wine fun and exploratory.
Jessamyn has been an integral Nightingale team member for over 3 years as a distinguished sommelier. Jessamyn is also a loving wife, a busy mother of two, and a talented abstract painter - and she does it all with a smile on her face!” - Chris Rielly