With more than 30 years of professional experience in foodservice, Donna Dooher has made her mark on Canada’s culinary landscape as a celebrated chef, caterer, TV personality, cookbook author and restaurateur. In November, 2014, she took on the role of President and CEO of Restaurants Canada, the country’s largest association for the hospitality industry, representing 30,000 restaurants, bars, caterers and other foodservice providers.
As the voice of foodservice, Restaurants Canada speaks for an industry that generates more than $70 billion a year in economic activity and employs 1.2 million Canadians. The restaurant industry is the country’s No. 1 source of first-time jobs and on-the-job training for young people.
At Restaurants Canada, Donna leads a team working across the country for a vibrant and growing restaurant industry. As the industry’s voice to government, Restaurants Canada speaks out on critical issues ranging from food safety to taxation. It is a leading source of industry research and insights, and offers a range of services and events to help its members connect, compete and succeed.
Like many other Canadians, Donna’s career began as a restaurant server. She and her husband Kevin then founded Avant-Gout Catering, which led them to open their first restaurant together: Mildred Pierce, in Toronto. Eventually expanding next door with The Cookworks Cooking Studio, Donna’s hit Food Network show The Cookworks grew out of this initiative and is currently aired in worldwide syndication. In 2008, Donna and Kevin opened Mildred’s Temple Kitchen – an urban space in Toronto’s Liberty Village.
Donna served as Food Editor for WISH magazine, and authored the best-selling Market to Table cookbook, adding to her previous triumph with Cuisine Canada’s award-winning Out to Brunch with Mildred Pierce. Recently, she co-chaired a multimillion dollar fundraising campaign for George Brown College and has represented the federal government’s Canada Brand promotions, showcasing Canadian food and agricultural products at the Vancouver Olympics and in Osaka, Japan. Recently, Donna played an advisory role for CESO, mentoring restaurant owners in Colombia.