They're the hosts, servers, sommeliers and bartenders that can make a dining experience truly magic.

Jen Mansell Bartender and ServerL’Ufficio

“The best part of my job is the guests. When things are spontaneous and joyful and people are really engaging with each other along the bar, there’ll be a chain reaction where someone will spy something or overhear something that someone else is doing. There’s a camaraderie that happens that brings people together.”

Julie Sopuck General Manager, Burdock and Co.

“I was actually a regular at the bar first before I started working here. It was sort of my neighbourhood haunt. I came in, got to know the staff, and drank natural wine for the first time in my life. I had that engagement that I now love to facilitate. I just completely fell in love…I’ve been here for four years and now I’m the GM, which is kind of my dream job.”

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Eryn Dorman Sommelier, The Mackenzie Room

“My first day at the restaurant, I was stuck with a party of 16 and they all wanted separate cheques and then decided, ‘I’m going to take care of this person’s and I want to pay a third of that bottle,’ and it became a mathematical nightmare. So I spent the next hour just arranging bills only to go back and find out ‘Oh no, I want this instead.’ That was my trial by fire. Afterward, one of our GMs came up to me and said, ‘You killed it tonight. You handled it beautifully—welcome to the Mackenzie Room.’”

Michael Ziff Host, St. Lawrence

“I was identified as someone who really liked the industry early on, and I was mentored for about five years by the same person who took me to different restaurants with him and inspired me to learn more and understand the foundations of hospitality. I still do certain things that he taught me to do the way I open the wine. You know what it is? It’s my presence at the table with guests.”

Restaurant Awards 2018 ▸▸▸