Chef Tony Fernandes, an executive chef and food and beverage director and a Canadian Culinary Federation Toronto branch member, has been chosen as this year’s recipient of the Culinary Federation’s Lifetime Achievement Award for the Central Region.
The award was established by the Culinary Federation to honour and recognize those who have achieved excellence in the culinary field and made significant contributions to the culinary profession over a period of at least 20 years through mentorship, continual personal education, and training of the Culinary Federation’s new chefs in the culinary world.
Fernandes is a 40-year expert in the culinary industry who has worked in five-star hotels and resorts around the world. He is a Worldchefs-certified Executive Chef and is also one of very few Worldchefs International Certified Judges. He also serves as a Special Advisor, North America, for the World Cultural Culinary Heritage Committee.
“To receive this honour and recognition, I feel very, very proud,” Fernandes told RestoBiz.
“You don’t realize what you have done in your career and your life until you look back. For many chefs, it can sometimes go unrecognized. I am a third-generation of chef, after my grandfather and my father, and when something like this happens, you feel that everything has paid off. I feel very proud and honoured.”
Among Fernandes’ credentials are more than 45 medals won as a competitor or a coach at various chefs competitions around the world, including the Culinary World Cup and Culinary Olympics; numerous advisory, organizational, and educational roles at institutions and events; and designing and opening restaurants in Dubai and Canada.
He has also played a long-term role with the Culinary Federation, having been a Vice President and a Director of the Toronto Branch in the past. He also won Central Region Chef of the Year in 2015 and was inducted into the Prestigious Honor Society of the Federation in 2019.
“The Culinary Federation is an organization that you want to be a part of,” added Fernandes. “There’s so much education and great things that go on with the Federation and it just reiterates that the culinary world is always alive and moving forward. You have to be passionate and have so much love for this particular scene because a lot of hard work goes into this particular job. The Federation helps you out and keeps that alive.”
Shonah Chalmers, Culinary Federation Toronto branch president, added: that what sets Fernandes apart from all other candidates for the honour is “his willingness to continually support our industry in so many meaningful ways,” from judging local competitions to advising committees on where the industry should be moving towards next. Chalmers called Fernandes “a trendsetter who aims for top standards every time”.