Master of Ceremonies
Pete Bombaci is a visionary business and social change leader who believes that by doing the right thing every day, exceptional results are created. His engaging leadership style comes from an enthusiasm and genuine desire to help others, as well as the belief that building a great culture encourages collaboration, great execution and ultimately bottom line results.
In 2016, Pete launched The GenWell Project, a Canadian led, Global Human Connection Movement, which has recently become more relevant than ever. The mission of The GenWell Project is to make the world a happier and healthier place by educating, empowering and catalyzing people around the importance of proactive face-to-face social connection as an action we can all take for our health, happiness, longevity and the betterment of society.
Pete’s experience in the not-for-profit field predates the founding of The GenWell Project, as he successfully led the Movember Canada Foundation for nearly five years, growing the cause from a few thousand participants nationwide to the largest fundraising country worldwide, leading the team that raised $142 million dollars for men’s health over that time. Prior to joining Movember Canada, Pete was a 20-year veteran of the beverage and hospitality industry, serving in roles from bartender to sales to brand management. Pete has been able to draw on these broad range of experiences in both the for-profit and not-for-profit fields in his work to build a more Connected Canada,
Koco chocolate company
John’s career spans 45 years working in various areas of our industry- restaurants, hotels, airlines, chain restaurants and R&D in food manufacturing. His culinary competition roster has taken him from his native Australia to Germany, France and Mexico before finally settling in Canada.
He’s represented Australia at the Culinary Olympics and also the prestigious Bocuse d’Or competition in France.
In 2012 Modern Culinary Academy was launched to inspire and promote the education of molecular cuisine. His articles on this subject have been published in Food in Canada Magazine, Foodservice and Hospitality Magazine and from time to time in The Toronto Star. At the same time the ingredient line, Powder for Texture was also launched which includes modernist kitchen equipment. Powder for Texture modernist ingredients and equipment has been featured on Canada AM, The Space Channel and Global TV’s 16 x 9 program.
2020 was a turning point as it was for many people in our industry. John and his wife Judie started KOCO chocolate company after 3 successful pop-up stores. When he’s not consulting for food and beverage companies, educating chefs on modernist cuisine or making chocolates, John is executing fun dessert stations for events featuring items like edible helium balloons, dragon's breath and liquid nitrogen ice cream.
Sysco Canada’s National Brand Activation Manager | 50 Most Successful Personalities Globally | Producer SVK Media Network | Canada's Top Foodservice Influencer | Canada's #1 Food & Beverage on Social Media | College Professor, Centennial College
With over 33 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Jay Ashton is a highly skilled Brand Activation Manager who utilizes data-driven strategies, cutting-edge marketing tactics, and engaging events to build and transform brands. Jay has an impressive track record, having worked at Sysco Canada, a Fortune 100 company, for the past 19 years. He is a respected and influential figure in the Canadian foodservice industry and has presented workshops, lectures, and consulted with thousands of restaurants and foodservice establishments across Canada.
Jay is a sought-after keynote speaker within the hospitality industry, having presented at numerous international events and conferences across Canada and the United States. He is known for his ability to engage and inspire his audience with his insights and expertise. In 2023, Jay will be touring industry conferences in both Canada and the United States, speaking on a variety of topics related to the foodservice and hospitality industry. He will discuss the impact of AI in the industry and provide insights on what to look for in the future of foodservice. Jay will also speak on current marketing trends in foodservice and the restaurant industry, as well as today's social media influencers, including senior influencers.
As an intern teacher at Centennial College on food media, Jay works with various Canadian Hospitality and Foodservice Associations to build strong and long-term relationships. He is the designer of the Customer Business Resource department at Sysco Canada and has spent over a decade developing and delivering multiple channels to improve customer experience and increase the company's brand awareness and visibility in the industry. Jay has also worked with over 100+ national and international brands, introducing them to content creation and social media strategies to help build and sell their products to the restaurant industry.
In 2020, Jay founded Sysco's Media Podcast Network (SVK), a platform that features daily live streaming that broadcasts industry-leading content on all major media platforms. This network is known for its authenticity and variety of topics, being the first of its kind for a Fortune 100 company like Sysco and the Canadian Foodservice industry to use this method of marketing strategy to build brand awareness through 100% authenticity.
Jay is a highly sought-after communicator and keynote speaker within the hospitality industry, known for his ability to engage and inspire his audience. He is passionate about sharing his insights and expertise with others, and his dynamic speaking style and use of multimedia elements captivate and leave a lasting impression on his audience. Jay's topics of expertise include customer experience, brand building, marketing strategies, and innovative event planning. His presentations are tailored to provide valuable insights and practical advice that attendees can apply in their own businesses.
Jay is a well-respected and influential figure in the Canadian foodservice industry, with numerous awards and recognitions to his name, including 50 Most Successful Personalities Globally and Canada's Top Foodservice Influencer. He is also one of the most followed podcasters on Spotify for the restaurant industry and hosts one of the top 10% podcasts out of 2.9 million globally.
As a child, Connor’s love of food began when going to the St. Jacob’s farmers market every Saturday with his father. The smells, the sounds, the people, and the food being prepared right in front of his eyes sparked a small fire which would eventually turn into the passion for the food industry that he now carries into everything he does.
Connor Graduated from the Humber College Chef Apprentice program in 2003 and worked in every kind of food establishment known to man for the next ten years. Fine dining, greasy spoon, golf courses, catering companies, and he still runs his own small-scale catering company. Connor stepped out of the fire of kitchen once he started a family with his lovely wife Laura. After leaving restaurants, Connor worked as a Cheese Maker at Monforte Dairy in Stratford, a food sales representative for another cheese company, and helped out at Stone Town Cheese company. After attending teacher's college at the University Of Windsor, he now teaches Hospitality & Tourism (cooking & baking) at John Paul the Second Secondary School in London, Ontario.
Last spring Connor began the process of becoming a certified master canner/food preserver through Cornell University Co-operative extension in New York State. He has finished up his teaching hours to complete the certification. Last summer, Connor with his family and a small group of friends participated in a canning cooperative where they together preserved over three hundred jars of preserved food. He also has a keen interest in fermenting food.
Aggressive Organics Inc.
Thomas O’Neill is a founding partner of Aggressive Organics Inc. and a member of the board for the Canadian Cannabis Tourism Alliance. As a long-standing advocate for cannabis legalization, he has continued to work and grow within the cannabis space beyond legalization, lobbying for legislation that will support cannabis hospitality and tourism models in Canada. With a career in commercial broadcast behind him, Thomas is brings a unique perspective and approach to the cannabis industry. Known to some as The Butter Baron of Cannabis, Thomas has built a personal brand focused on the culinary potential of legal cannabis, working with canna-butter and cookies, though now his focus on canna-mixology is most prevalent with his work in Agrow. Thomas is currently involved in education, advocacy, marketing initiatives, research and product development within the cannabis sector.
Aggressive Organics Inc.
Chef & Founder
Tim began his culinary career in Huntsville Ontario at The Navigation Co. Diner on Huntsvilles town dock in 1986. Under the tutelage of Journeyman Chef Jeff Sudaby. Tim continued his work with the company for 6 years and eventually took over the KM position in 1992 after having worked at the Depot in Dwight, Wackeys at the Pine grove and other branches of the company. In 1992 Tim attended Algonquin Colleges Culinary Management program while working at several Ottawa region restaurants. He returned to Huntsville and ran the kitchen at Three Guys and a Stove before taking over as Executive Chef at Jesters Eatery & Spirits Emporium for two years. His Career continued in the City of Ottawa as the Executive Chef at Bravo Bravo Italian Bistro in 1998 before embarking on a 2 year travel and working expedition that saw him hoan his skills in England, The Netharlands, Singapore, and Austrailia. Upon his return to Muskoka, Tim worked in Bala, Muskoka at the Moon river lookout and Bala Bay Inn before moving to Toronto where he lead Kitchens as Head chef as well as contracting work as a consultant. In 2010 Tim opened Grindhouse Inc in downtown Toronto where he landed the cover of Food & Hospitality magazine, then 4 years later took the lead at An Sibin Pub, followed by Ground Burger bar and Snackmrkt in Newmarket, which lead to regular appearances on Morning television and live cooking demonstrations throughout the GTA. In 2018, Tim again returned to his roots and partnered with longtime friend Rob Taylor to bring a new culinary brand to the area, opening up Picnic Bistros & and Pulled BBQ food trucks. In 2019, Tim joined Thomas O’Neill and founded Aggressive Organics Inc. and was able to start researching and developing process for effectively implementing cannabis into a culinary environment.