Conestoga news

April 26, 2007 2:34 PM

Conestoga Graduate, Employee Earns Ontario Hostelry Institute Honour

Mike Magda earned a Conestoga diploma from the Food and Beverage Management program in 2001. He returned to Conestoga as a chef technologist for the hospitality programs at the Waterloo campus in 2006. Now, he has been named by the Ontario Hostelry Institute as one of the year's Top 30 Under 30 in the hospitality industry.

He and the other outstanding young professionals were feted by the Ontario Hostelry Institute at an awards dinner held April 19 at Toronto's Four Seasons Hotel. More than 120 nominations were submitted in this year's selection process.

Magda resides in Kitchener. He graduated from Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute before entering Conestoga. Following Conestoga, he went on to pursue cook apprenticeship training through Humber College in Toronto, completing his studies in 2004. That same year, he earned a gold medal in the culinary event at the Ontario Technological Skills Competition sponsored by Skills Canada - Ontario. He returned to Waterloo Region to apply his skills at establishments such as the Charcoal Steak House and King Street Trio, eventually becoming head chef at the latter.

"I do have a passion for the culinary arts," Magda says. "No matter how satisfied I may be with the results of my efforts, I am constantly evaluating - always striving to make it a little bit better. I strive always to be the very best chef I can be."

At Conestoga, he works with individual students and student teams, providing practical instruction in the many aspects and detailed procedures associated with the growing number of hospitality programs offered at the new, larger campus in Waterloo.

Magda comments, "I am very happy to have the opportunity to teach at Conestoga. It is my way of being able to give back. By teaching, I hope I can pass that legacy along."

Two of the Top 30 are employed at Ontario colleges - the other is at George Brown's highly regarded culinary facility. Other winners are employed at places such as the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, the Park Hyatt Hotel, the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, the Little Inn of Bayfield and Clublink Corporation.

The judging panel was a distinguished group which included senior executives from companies such as the Oliver Bonacini group of fine restaurants in Toronto, the internationally recognized Splendido Restaurant of Toronto, Alberta-based Tannin Fine Wines (a prominent supplier of superior wines to fine restaurants and wine retailers) and Lecours Wolfson Hospitality Management and Chef Recruiting (North America's leading recruiter of hospitality executives, managers and chefs).

The Ontario Hostelry Institute is devoted to three goals: promoting and recognizing professional excellence, sponsoring student and professional development awards, and raising educational standards associated with post-secondary hospitality programs. The Institute also manages the Canadian Hospitality Foundation, the industry's largest source of scholarships in the food service/hospitality field.

CONTACT: Gary Hallam, 519-885-0300, ext. 231,