Glion Alumnus Refreshes Family Business

John Paul Adamo
Year of Graduation: 2001, Associate’s Degree in Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Management
President, Owner & Executive Chef, Hockley Valley Resort and Adamo Estate Winery

Glion alumnus John Paul Adamo brought an Old World approach to food and hospitality to his family’s business, the Hockley Valley Resort, turning the resort’s restaurant and pub into the ultimate culinary destination in Toronto’s backyard.

Hospitality & Culinary Education

John Paul began working in the kitchen at a young age, preparing meals with his traditional Italian family. Following high school, he attended the Glion Institute of Higher Education (which was then called the Centre International de Glion) from 1999-2001earning his Associate’s Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. During his time in Switzerland he completed internships, including one at the Hotel Schweizerhof in Zürich. His European culinary training included studying Tuscan food, wine and culture, and an apprenticeship at one of the world’s leading hotels, Hotel Villa Medici in Florence, Italy. In 2002, John Paul returned to North America and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park New York with honours where he also apprenticed at Auberge Du Pommier a critically acclaimed restaurant in Toronto.

Becoming the President & Executive Chef

The Adamo family purchased the Hockley Valley Resort in October 1985. Over the years, the family has transformed the small, rundown hotel into a beautiful full-service resort that breathes elegance, charm and the tantalizing aromas of fresh cuisine. In 2006, John Paul was named Executive Chef at Hockley Valley Resort, bringing with him an Old World culinary philosophy.

In 2009, Adamo was appointed President and Owner of Hockley Valley Resort. He is the driver behind the resort’s recent multi-million dollar transformation.

True to Adamo’s garden-to-table philosophy, the transformation includes three new restaurants and a four-acre organic fruit and vegetable garden on-site, under the care of a full-time gardener, which yields over 80 per cent of the produce for the seasonally evolving menus of the resort’s restaurants.

4 Answers from John Paul

  1. What was you experience like with Glion, as a student and now as an alumnus?

Wonderful time in Switzerland and memories of my time at Glion will last me a life time. I was very fortunate to have been able to network and make friends with people from around the world. It was the diversity of the students and the professors that really made a positive impact on me as a student.

  1. How has Glion helped you to achieve your professional objectives?

“Glion helped teach me discipline, organization and the school instilled a level of professionalism that I still strive for everyday now that I run and operate my own business.

Apart from the high level of technical training, Glion also provided me with the opportunity to gain valuable ‘hands on’ experience as I was able to work throughout Switzerland during my time as a student. The dedication that the school provided in training was highlighted by the quality of professors they employed. This also shaped my career as Chef Gomez, at the time, was a big influence on me choosing to further my culinary studies at the Culinary Institute of America where I graduated with honors in 2003.

  1. We say that customers these days are looking for exceptional experiences. Do you agree? How does your resort cater to this trend?

Customers are absolutely looking for exceptional experiences these days and it is something that we focus a lot of time, energy and resources to at the resort. We have not only committed to investing in the physical product of the resort, in making sure that the resort meets their expectations from a facilities point of view, but we also continually invest in staff training. It’s very important that the service matches the beauty of the resort and the food that we provide. Customers in Canada are also continually focused on the food and beverage programs of facilities such as our resort.

“We have a 2-acre organic farm and fruit orchard that provides 85% of our produce for the resort’s restaurants when in season. We source from local farmers and growers from within 100 km of our property. We are launching our winery in 2015 that will be both organic and biodynamic.”

  1. As the President and Owner of Hockley Valley Resort:
  • What are your responsibilities? I oversee the day to day operations as well as the new Adamo Estate Winery project and liaise with our 16 department heads on a daily basis
  • Do you still have a hand in the kitchens? Yes. I am still the acting Executive Chef as well and oversee all the kitchens and food & beverage program. It’s what I am most passionate about.
  • What would you say are the top three qualities you look for in a candidate for a position in administration/management? 

    “Passion for this industry, tenure, and honesty.”

If I cannot trust my managers to always make the best decision for the company then I cannot work with them. To me I tell all my key leaders to run their departments as if they owned the resort or their respective department. That as a rule always guides them in the right direction when it comes to decision making.

We congratulate John Paul on his leadership and dedication to making the Hockley Valley Resort a truly amazing location. Check out the restaurant pages of the resort website to see the inspirational fresh approach to culinary arts that John Paul has instated there.

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