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2015 SHA
Event Photos


Simcoe ORHMA Celebrates Third Annual Hospitality Awards 
Press Release: April 30 2015

Municipal leaders, hospitality professionals, educators and students gathered on April 22 at the Best Western Plus Mariposa Inn to celebrate the stars of Simcoe County and to raise scholarship funds for hospitality and tourism students at Georgian College.  Simcoe County includes the towns of Collingwood, Midland,-Penetang, Orillia, Barrie, Borden Alliston and Bradford.

“We are very pleased with the continued success of the Gala and the support from the hospitality community in Simcoe County,” stated ORHMA Founding Simcoe Chair John Cunningham of Georgian College.The celebration started with a cocktail reception hosted by Georgian College’s Alumni Association with hor d’ourvre’s prepared and served by Georgian’s Culinary and hotel and resort students. The meal featured marche’ style serving stations featuring the signature dishes from the area’s top chefs. Guests voted on their favourite station for the Silver Plate Award, which was won by Chef Erika Brouwer of Elegant Edge Catering. Roger’s Daytime program hosts Will Nash and Melanie Case served as MCs for the special event. 

Also making a special appearance at this year’s Gala was celebrity Chef Michael Smith. Chef Smith worked with Georgian College’s Culinary students serving up hors d’ourvres during the cocktail reception and later shared his experience in preparing and promoting local foods and the people relationships that emerge through local collaboration and support.  According to Gala co-chair Sylvia Biffis, “the ultimate goal each year is to host a fantastic culinary event and raise scholarship funds to support Georgian College Hospitality and Tourism students”.We have been very successful and over the last three years, having raised over $42,000 in scholarships.”The award candidates were nominated and voted on by both public and industry peers through a web and social media campaign. Over 5500 people cast a total of 20000 votes across many industry categories for this event.

The candidates for these awards are nominated by and later voted on by the public:
Favourite Server Award:
Lisa Dilworth – Big Chris BBQ (Barrie)
Favourite Bartender Award
Ryan Zaroski – The Ranch (Barrie)
Favourite Restaurant Award
Big Chris BBQ (Barrie)
Favourite Accommodations Award
Casino Rama Hotel (Rama)
Hospitality & Tourism Ambassador Award 
Sara Thorogood, Best Western Plus Mariposa Inn & Conference Centre (Orillia)
Favourite Recreational/Tourism Facility Award 
Casino Rama (Rama)
The candidates for these awards are nominated and voted upon by the public. The top three candidates
in each category are then voted on by the ORHMA Simcoe Board.

Hospitality Manager Award
Don Buckle – Cranberry Golf Resort and Living Water Resort (Collingwood)
Local Chef Award
Derek Mayes – Grape and Olive Wine and Martini Bistro (Orillia)
Industry Recognition Award
Helen Cooper – Casino Rama (Rama)
Food Service and Hospitality Supplier Award
Kari Smith -Elite Party Rentals (Barrie)
Heart of House Award
David White – Holiday Inn Barrie Hotel and Conference Centre (Barrie)
Voted 2015 Silver Plate Award Winner
Chef Erika Brouwer of Elegant Edge Catering


The ORHMA Gala was established in 2013 by the Founding Co-Chairs Sylvia Biffis (Nottawasaga Inn) and Chef Daniel Clements (Georgian College) in an effort to strengthen Simcoe’s hospitality community, recognize its industry stars and to provide much needed funds to support Georgian students pursuing studies in hospitality and tourism. Since 2013 the Gala has raised over $42,000 for student scholarships at Georgian College. Past Gala venues have included Casino Rama and the Nottawasaga Inn.The ORHMA Simcoe Region was founded by Georgian Hospitality and Tourism faculty member John Cunningham in 2008 to build community and strengthen the voice of the hospitality industry to address issues that impact our industry. The ORHMA is Canada’s largest provincial hospitality association and represents approximately 30,000 businesses in Ontario.

For more information about the Annual Gala or the ORHMA Simcoe Region contact:
Daniel Clements at:
John Cunningham: 
For more information on Provincial hospitality efforts visit