It is with great and profound sadness that everyone at Canadian Restaurant & Foodservice News, RestoBiz, and MediaEdge Communications remembers our friend and leading Canadian culinary professional Chef Divakar Raju, who passed away in February at age 57.
Chef Divakar was an esteemed member of Canada’s culinary community and had worked for Delmanor since 2011. He began his career with Delmanor as Culinary Services Manager at Delmanor Northtown, and since 2016 had been Director of Culinary Services.
He ensured that Delmanor led the way in providing its residents with the very best dining and culinary experience. Over the years, Chef Divakar led the Delmanor team to victory in many culinary competitions in our industry.
In fall 2020, his prestige and talent received just recognition when he was named the first-ever Canadian winner of the Senior Dining Association’s 2020 Dining Executive of the Year Award. He was also a member of the editorial advisory board for the Canadian Restaurant & Food Service Magazine, as well as a member of the Canadian Culinary Federation.
Chef Divakar was also on the editorial advisory board of our Canadian Restaurant & Foodservice magazine. He wrote and contributed to many stories and was always a true delight to work with.
However, his considerable professional achievements in Canadian foodservice were just one facet of his outstanding character.
Chef Divakar will always be remembered for his love of family, warm and welcoming personality, kindness, sense of humour, and generous spirit. He was a devoted father and loyal husband, and a hardworking mentor who helped many reach their goals and fulfil their aspirations.
The Chef Divakar Outstanding Industry Contribution Award
“Chef Divakar was one of the most unique individuals I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know,” says MediaEdge Communications Senior Vice President Chuck Nervick, a longtime colleague and friend of Chef Divakar. “He was one of the most caring and giving people I have ever met in my life. Every conversation began with ‘how are you, how’s your family, how’s your staff?’ He always invited me to lunch, gave me tours of the Delmanor communities, introduced me to his culinary team, helped set up demonstrations at our Canadian Restaurant & Bar Show, was willing to write articles and share information with the industry. His dedication to his family was very obvious. He was amazing and positive in his commitment to Delmanor and constantly went above and beyond in his work.
“I can’t say enough about Chef Divakar, his commitment, who he was, and everything he has given to the industry.”
In recognition of Chef Divakar’s personal and professional legacy, MediaEdge Communications and Canadian Restaurant & Foodservice News will be launching a new award in his name, the Chef Divakar Raju Outstanding Industry Contribution Award. The award will be handed out every year at the Canadian Restaurant & Bar Show.
“This award will be an appropriate memorial and a way for us to continue the reputation and legacy of Chef Divakar,” adds Chuck.
“A smile on his face and goodwill in his heart”
“Chef Divakar or ‘Chef D’ to most of us, raised the bar on culinary standards within our industry,” says Elaine Wood, Vice President of Operations for Delmanor. “He encouraged his chefs to be creative and to deliver a great ‘Delmanor Experience’ for our residents each and everyday. Divakar enjoyed speaking to residents and would ask what new dishes they would like to see on the menu. Chef Divakar enjoyed rolling up his sleeves and mentoring other chefs. He was in his glory when leading our teams at special events or large parties. He will be deeply missed by everyone, but his legacy lives on.” Delmanor is opening their sixth community in Aurora late 2021 and will honour Divakar by operating the Raju Bistro.
Chef Divakar was also an active and respected member of the Canadian Culinary Federation.
“Divakar was a chef who worked towards reinventing amazing food experiences in retirement residences,” says Shonah Chalmers, president of the Toronto Branch of the CF. “He loved the diversity of living in Toronto and being able to enjoy so many types of cuisine. Chef Divakar embodied a healthy competitive nature and used that to create a culinary competition between the five Delmanor retirement properties starting in 2015, to enhance standards and raise the kitchen employee’s morale. He will be remembered forever with a smile on his face and goodwill in his heart.”
Fundraising in Chef Divakar’s memory
Chef Divakar leaves a legacy of culinary excellence at Delmanor and in Canadian foodservice. Most importantly, he made an indelible mark on the many lives he has touched over the years. He leaves behind his wife Susan, daughter Kaitlyn, son Ethan, and all of his family, friends, industry colleagues, and loved ones.
A fundraiser for his wife and children, aimed at helping to support his wife Susan in paying for the couple’s children’s education in his loving memory, has raised over $33,000 already, with over 160 donators. Please consider donating here.
Chef Divakar Raju was a shining light for us all. He is and will continue to be dearly missed by us all.