Welcome to The Moodie Davitt Report’s Interim Toronto Bureau at the Ritz-Carlton hotel.
OK, it’s not the greatest view I’ve had from an Interim Bureau (in fact, it’s one of the most mundane) but I can tell you that the hotel itself is superb and the city beyond the office blocks is exciting, vibrant and varied.
Lonely Planet calls Toronto “the most multiculturally diverse city on the planet”, noting that over 140 languages are spoken here. “When the weather is fine, Toronto is a blast: a vibrant, big-time city abuzz with activity.”
Well I can tell you that the weather is fine, that the city is a blast and that we’re thrilled to be here to welcome delegates to the sixth annual Airport Food & Beverage (FAB) Conference & Awards. I conceived this event back in 2010, launching it in January 2011 at Manchester Airport (when the heating famously failed on a freezing winter’s day, prompting us to dub it the Frozen Food & Beverage conference) and it’s grown in stature ever since.
After Manchester we’ve taken the show on the road to Amsterdam, Dubai, Copenhagen and Geneva and now, for the first time, to North America. Such is the demand to host the event that we’ve even got the next two years’ venues lined up.
I’m a huge believer in the future of the airport F&B sector. It is a critical reflection of an airport – serve up luke-warm, over-priced coffee or keep people waiting too long for mediocre food in a casual dining restaurant and the overall perception of an airport will suffer badly.
FAB exists to champion excellence and innovation in airport F&B and we’re delighted to witness the soaring standards since the event was launched. On Thursday night we will hold the annual FAB Awards, the winners drawn from nearly 250 entries, many of them straight from the top drawer.
I’ve got presentations to write so I’ll sign off for now. A few thousand words and then a glass of good wine to relax over tonight. From Ontario of course.