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2015 Top Restaurants in Canada Voting Academy » Canada's Top 50 Restaurants List

2015 Top Restaurants in Canada Voting Academy

British Columbia


Adrian Brijbassi (Regional Chair), Vancouver (@AdrianBrijbassi)

Adrian is the founder of Vacay.ca and a digital media expert. He founded the Top 50 Restaurants in Canada to celebrate Canadian culinary achievements. He is an award-winning writer and also the Manager of Social Media & Advocacy for the Canadian Tourism Commission. Twitter: @AdrianBrijbassi


Ethan Adeland, Vancouver (@EthanAdeland)

Ethan began food blogging in 2009 and Feeding Ethan is where he shares his food- and travel-related stories and photos. He is now Managing Director (and co-founder) of Food Bloggers of Canada. It's home to a vibrant and active network of almost 2000 food bloggers across Canada. He is always on the lookout for his next meal and is equally happy in a cash-only restaurant or one with pristine white linens.


Michelle Hopkins, Vancouver (@michellenewsy)

Michelle is a frequent contributor to Vacay.ca and is also a corporate writer with extensive experience in travel and food writing.

Matt MacIsaac, Vancouver and Tofino

Matt is an owner of Tacofino, the popular food truck in Vancouver, Tofino and Victoria, and of Commissary restaurant in East Vancouver. He is also a founding partner of MMCAP Fund Inc.

Lee Man, Vancouver (@cnklhd)

Lee is a food writer for Vancouver Magazine who is widely recognized as a leading expert in Chinese cuisine in Canada.


Shawn Soole, Victoria (@liquidrev)

Shawn established his reputation as one of the nation’s leading bartenders while working at Clive’s in Victoria. He is now a drinks contributor to Eat Magazine and an all-round hospitality consultant.


Kasey Wilson, Vancouver

Kasey is the co-host of the Best of Food and Wine Show on AM 650 radio and is a member of the British Columbia Restaurant Hall of Fame. She has worked as the food editor of Wine Access magazine and has written for numerous publications.


Peter Faist (@JustPeteTO)

Peter is a food devotee, wine enthusiast, and bon vivant. ‎He shuns the word foodie and often travels in search of memorable dining experiences. He attended George Brown Culinary Institute in Toronto and completed his first year of training, seeking only to further expand his culinary knowledge.

While living in Toronto, Peter organized events to showcase local talent, including a reception in honour of Prince Charles, and fundraisers in support of various charitable initiatives. He also appeared on "The Illegal Eater" on their Toronto episode.

Having recently relocated to Vancouver, Peter is eagerly exploring it's culinary landscape.



Rod Charles, Toronto (@rodalcharles)

Rod is the deputy editor at Vacay.ca and a judge for the Ontario Culinary Awards. He is the former travel editor at the Huffington Post Canada.


Arlene Stein, Toronto (@ArleneStein)

Arlene is the director of the Terroir Symposium, an annual gathering of the global food industry in Toronto. She co-founded Terroir in 2006.


Ayngelina Brogan, Toronto (@Ayngelina)

Ayngelina publishes the culinary travel site BaconisMagic.ca, which has been named a Top 10 Food Travel Site on USA Today, featured in Grazia Magazine, coined "the Foodista" by Glamour Paris.


Rebecca LeHeup, Toronto/Prince Edward County (@OntarioCulinary)

Rebecca loves Ontario and is passionate about the interrelation between food, agriculture, arts and culture. She is the Executive Director for Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance, where she has helped develop Prince Edward County’s award winning Taste Trail and OCTA’s Feast ON program, and contributes to the Canadian Tourism Commission Brand Experience Advisory Committee, Terroir Hospitality Symposium, and the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation.


Josh Josephson, Toronto (@joshjosephson)

Dr Josephson is a retired research optometrist, CEO of Josephson Opticians Limited, and serves as a director of No NO, Inc., a clinical-stage biotherapeutics company dedicated to the treatment of commonhealth disorders with unmet needs. He is the former proprietor of The Cookbook Store, and member of the Chaine des Rotisseurs, among other international gastronomic societies, and has served as judge ofthe Kansas City Barbecue Society.


Moez Kassam, Toronto (@munchingmoez)

With over a decade of experience as a successful entrepreneur, fund manager, business partner, philanthropist and board member, Moez brings a wealth of experience and creative energy to Vacay.ca’s Judging Academy.  As a principal of the Anson Group, he manages a $400 million long/short hedge fund that was named top 10 funds in 2014 by Bloomberg Magazine.  Alongside this demanding role, he applies his innate business acumen to the benefit of numerous charities, including Second Harvest, Doctors Without Borders and Athletes for Africa. He’s a member of the Young Presidents Organization, and moonlights as an executive producer for television and production house Moringa Media, where he provides the critical link between the worlds of business and art.  His passion for food knows no bounds, often traveling great distances for a single meal and documenting it all in a food-focused Instagram & Twitter accounts (@munchingmoez) with a following in the thousands; his dinner parties are the stuff of legends, often garnering press coverage. “Dîner en Blanc” Toronto—a chapter of the Paris-based dinner party sensation—recently took notice, naming Moez their “Chief Food Officer”.


Howard Levitt, Toronto (@HowardLevittLaw)

Howard Levitt spends virtually every night critiquing restaurants across Canada (except when he is doing the same thing abroad), from the obscure to the sublime. When Vacay.ca's list came out last year, he had been to 14 of the top 15. He brings a passionate but critical eye to the panel.


Peter Neal, Toronto (@peterneal1)

Peter is co-owner of Neal Brothers Foods; a brand of their own natural & organic foods as well as a distribution company for close to 50 different food brands. He is also co-owner of Hanna Neal Wine Merchants and Blakeman Book publishing.


John Placko, Toronto (@johnplacko)

John is the Culinary Director at Modern Culinary Academy and Bar 120, Cuisine Transformed at Pearson International. He’s represented Australia at the Culinary Olympics and Bocuse d’Or competition, and has been featured on numerous shows including Canada AM, The Space Channel, The Steven and Chris show, and Global TV’s 16 x 9.


Franco Stalteri, Toronto (@CharliesBurgers)

Franco Stalteri is the founder of Charlie's Burgers, a series of private dining events that has been ranked by Food and Wine Magazine as number 3 on its list of "100 Best New Food and Drink Experiences in the World." Besides launching its own Champagne, a Grand Cru, Blanc de Blancs in 2011, they also created the "The CB Wine Program," where members are sent unique wines every month, which is paired with a changing top restaurant experience.


Renee Suen (Top Restaurants in Canada Chairperson), Toronto (@RSSuen)

Renée writes about restaurants and culinary issues for Toronto Life and The Globe and Mail, and specializes in covering the food scene through photography. When not chasing after the story behind the plate, she is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto in Cardiovascular Sciences.


David Kirkwood & Sara Crawford, Prince Edward County

A former broadcast executive, David Kirkwood has the soul of a chef. He is passionate about food, sustainable agriculture, and food security, demonstrated in cooking every chance he can get, the Prince Edward County organic farm he owns with his wife, Sarah, and his volunteer cooking activities at The Stop Community Centre.

Sarah Crawford is passionate about food — as a cook, grower and eater. She has attended and written about Terra Madre, The Canadian Chefs' Congress, Terroir Symposium, and is a long-time member of Slow Food Canada.



Caroline Marchand, Montreal (@dcouveculinaire)

Caroline has been writing about food, tourism and joy of living in Quebec for the past five years. She runs Dcouverteculinaire (http://voir.ca/caroline-marchand/) and the French blog, petits bonheurs de la vie.


Sarah-Émilie Nault, Montreal (@senault)

Sarah-Émilie is a travel, culture and arts journalist who has worked with QMI Agency, the Huffington Post Quebec, Tourisme Plus, MSN.ca, La Presse and the Toronto Star.


Allison Van Rassel, Quebec City (@AVanRassel)

Allison Van Rassel is a food and culture columnist on the radio, television and web. She runs the blog Foodie in Quebec City and appears on Radio-Canada, CBC, and Vtélé.


Katerine-Lune Rollet, Montréal (@katerinerollet)

Food journalist and blogger, Katerine-Lune is the "foodie" of Ricardo magazine. She is also the TV host of the daily show Montréalité (on MAtv) and share her restaurants highlights on her blog (katerinerollet.com) since 2010.

Mayssam Samaha, Montreal (@mayssamaha)

Mayssam runs the Will Travel for Food blog and is also an accomplished food writer. Will Travel for Food is a finalist for the Saveur Best Food Blog awards.


Sharman Yarnell, Montreal (@showtimesharman)

Sharman has worked professionally in television, radio and theatre for over 20 years. Her broadcast credits include The Chris Robinson Travel Show and top-rated Showtime on CJAD (Astral Radio).


Robert Beauchemin, Montreal

Robert is an anthropologist by formation and a journalist by deformation. He has been around the Montreal food scene for over 25 years as a food writer and restaurant critic for Voir and La Presse, Elle, Ricardo, En Route, and Via Destinations. He’s also written books, won Silver at the Canada cookbook awards, appeared on TV, and teaches at College Lasalle. His main interest in not only food, it is food in historical and social context. All of it feeds his college teaching career, which started at the same time as his journalist’s. He is also a serious traveller and has trampled all over the world in search of the best and the fiercest dishes, from the Brazilian rainforest to the Roman suburbs and the Cambodian coast.

Atlantic Canada


Taryn Hearn, St. John’s (@tleeh)

Taryn Hearn enjoys exploring cuisine locally and nationally. She has her ISG 1 and plans to continue her studies in wine. In her spare time, she is a physician.


Michael Howell, Wolfville (@ChefMHowell)

Chef Michael Howell is the Executive Director of Devour! The Food Film Fest, principal of Tempestuous Culinary, a culinary consulting and travel company, and Chair of Slow Food in Canada. He received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Government of Canada for his contributions to the country in the food movement in 2013, a Province of Nova Scotia’s Local Food Hero in 2012, and was named (along with Lia Rinaldo) Taste of Nova Scotia's Culinary Ambassador of the Year in 2014.


Kenneth Jerrett, St. John’s (@newfishboy)

Kenneth is a lawyer, avid home chef, and frequenter of restaurants. A collector of vintage port, he has appeared on Portuguese national television discussing the rise in quality of Portugal's table wines.

Kathy Jollimore, Nova Scotia (@kathyjollimore)

Kathy is a food writer and stylist in Halifax, NS. She also operates EatHalifax.ca, a popular food blog focused on locally inspired recipes and the culinary scene in the Nova Scotia capital.


Ross Munro, Prince Edward Island (@peiculinary)

Ross has spent his life in perpetual dedication to his craft, is an unwavering supporter and promoter of amazing local cuisine and the farmers that make that happen. He runs a chef-driven culinary experiential tourism and catering business operates year round on and off the island. Ross’s work is not just in the realm of the hospitality business. He works tirelessly in the community in support of the Stars For Life Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, The QEH Foundation and many more.


Gordon Noseworthy

Gordon has travelled extensively across North America, Asia and Europe and enjoys dining wherever he goes. He’s also served with my spouse as the Newfoundland and Labrador correspondent for Where To Eat In Canada during the 1980s. 


Jody Robbins, Calgary (@Jody_Robbins)

After ditching a career in international marketing, this former expat explored over 50 countries, before settling down to pen lifestyle pieces for the Calgary Herald, Today’s Parent and Vacay.ca. When not travelling the globe with her family or blogging atTravels with Baggage, Jody can be found snowboarding in the Rockies or more likely indulging in apres-ski.


Dan Clapson, Calgary (@dansgoodside)

Dan is a food writer and columnist based out of Calgary. His array of published works appear in publications including Avenue, enRoute, Westjet Magazine and Food NetworkCanada. He is also the co-founder of an award-winning Canadian food website, EatNorth.ca, and regularly appears on Global Calgary as their restaurant correspondent, as well as weekly on 660 News Radio.


Mike Green, Winnipeg (@miguelgreenbalm)

Mike is a writer and journalist in Winnipeg. He is a former CBC Radio syndicated food columnist and isthe current writer/editor/photographer for Peg City Grub. Mike placed in the top 5 on the inaugural season of MasterChef Canada.


Twyla Campbell, Edmonton (@wanderwoman10)

Twyla is a freelance food and travel writer and the restaurant reviewer for CBC Edmonton AM.


Julie Van Rosendaal, Calgary (@dinnerwithjulie)

Julie is the author of 7 best-selling cookbooks, a food writer and editor and the voice behind her popular food blog, Dinner with Julie (.com!). She's also the food and nutrition columnist on the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC Radio One.


Diana Ng, Calgary (@FoodSalon)

Diana is a co-founder of EatNorth.ca, freelance food writer and digital media nerd who is looking for more foods from Canada to indulge in, from gooseneck barnacles to birch syrup. You'll never find reduced-fat foods in her cabinets or fridge.


Jenn Smith Nelson, Regina (@jennsmithnelson)

Jenn is an award winning freelance travel writer and photographer based out of Regina. She is a travel columnist for CBC Saskatchewan and contributes to a number of print online and publications from Westworld Saskatchewan and the National Post to Vacay.ca, Prairies North, Pink magazine, My Spotlight Kanada and more. Jenn also runs her own blog, travelandhappiness.com



Steve Dolinsky, Chicago (@stevedolinsky)

Steve has won 13 James Beard awards for food journalism and is a reporter for ABC 7 in Chicago. He hasrecently started The Feed Podcast with renowned chef Rick Bayless (JBA winner in 2015). Steve is also a Regional Academy Chair for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.


Huge Galdones, Chicago (@hugegaldones)

Huge Galdones is a professional food & lifestyle photographer based out of Chicago (but is a Montrealer at heart). With prominent culinary clients all over North America and beyond, he is shooting on location for half of the year. You can follow his gluttonous adventures (and his cute kids) on Instagram at @hugegaldones.


Gregory Macdonald, Canada (@gmacd)

Gregory is a Toronto-based musician with extensive coast to coast Canadian traveling and dining experience. Known as Sloan’s keyboardist, he’s also a trained chef, having completed the Interprovincial Standard Red Seal Culinary Program in 2001.

Amy Sherman, San Francisco (@cookingwithamy)

Amy is a San Francisco–based culinary travel writer, recipe developer. In the past two years she has visited Toronto, Montreal, Quebec, Charlevoix, Whistler, Richmond, Kelowna, Victoria and Calgary and written for publications including Food Network, Refinery 29, Epicurious, Fodor’s and her blog, Cooking with Amy.

Past Judges

Previous members of the voting academy have included the nation's leading chefs, including: Vikram Vij, Connie DeSousa, Dale MacKay, Jeremy Charles, David Hawksworth, Adam Donnelly, Paul Rogalski and many more.

Read about the "Top Restaurants in Canada Constitution" that determines the rankings and the criteria that the voters must follow.