Donnelly, Heather and Hart House Enter Resto Hall of Fame

Jeff Donnelly, founder of owner of The Donnelly Group, was among the inductees

Eleven local hospitality entrepreneurs garner industry accolades

The B.C. Restaurant Hall of Fame toasted the province’s most intrepid restaurateurs, inducting Jeff Donnelly, Hart House owner Paul Smolen and Sean Heather at a gala Monday evening at Vancouver’s Italian Cultural Centre.
The Hall of Fame has inducted 88 individuals since it’s inception, representing a broad range of cuisine types and establishment types.
The accolade caught Jeff Donnelly, founder and president nineteen-outlet nightlife empire that bears his family name, guard. He admitted to being surprised by his induction because his businesses fall under the category of pubs and bars.
His highlight of the night was being surrounded by restaurant industry and by people who had affected him in his career. “I really feel it validates a little bit what we do,” he said. “You know all my businesses are in Vancouver and Vancouver has got an amazing restaurant scene and I think we complement it.”
Also unexpectedly flattered was Sean Heather, who joked that he thought you had to be retired or dead to be inducted. Heather, who is the owner of Heather Hospitality Group, said that the night made him reflect on his career and think of those who influenced him.
“I don’t do this for the recognition,” he said. “But when you look out and you see what you have achieved, you think maybe I didn’t do so bad.”
Smolen, owner of Hart House Restaurant, couldn’t make it to the event, but there to accept the award on his behalf was general manager Edwyn Kumar.
“He was very honoured, it instilled a reminiscence in him to look back objectively over his achievements,” he said. 
Among the other inductees: Julian Bond, program director of the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts; Christine Coletta, owner of Coletta & Associates Okanagan Crush Pad; Ernst Dorfler, owner-chef at Five Sails; Jay Jones, bartender at The Donnelly Group; Caren McSherry, founder of The Gourmet Warehouse; Joy Metcalfe, local event columnist ; John Neate, founder of JJ Bean Coffee Roaster; and Wally Shaw, the founder of the BC Chef’s Association.