Ottawa culinary community mourns loss of chef Allen R. J. Holtz

Ottawa culinary community mourns loss of chef Allen R. J. Holtz

A dedicated professional, chef Allen Holtz, 63, dies at home Sunday after long battle with cancer

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APR 09 14 – 10:20 AM — The Ottawa cheffing community is mourning the loss of one of its own, Allen R. J. Holtz, 63, who died at home in Manotick on Sunday after a lengthy illness with cancer.

Holtz was a secondary school teacher for 27 years at Sir Guy Carleton where he taught food preparation/baking and was involved in the school co-op placement program for students in the hospitality industry. He retired in December 2007.

At the school, he developed the curriculum for the food program, initially with 42 students. Earlier he taught at McArthur High School and Sir Sandford Fleming College.

Holtz held various positions with the Canadian Culinary Federation (Ottawa chapter) including president for more than a decade, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. He was an active volunteer in many organizations including Scouts Canada, the ALS Society, the Community Police Centre in Manotick, Manotick United Church, and in 2008 received the City of Ottawa Community Activism Award.

In 2010 he received the ALS Society of Canada Sydney Valo Exceptional Fundraising Program Award, and in 2011 was named to the Honour Society of the Canadian Culinary Federation.

“I admired Allen’s professionalism, as he was always dressed in his official and traditional chef’s uniform,” says chef Russell Weir, current president of the Ottawa federation chapter.

“His starched white jacket of Egyptian cotton was adorned with logos and various credentials of his profession, which reflected his love for the Canadian Culinary Federation. His huge and perpetual smile was genuine and spoke volumes about his pride for our chosen trade. I’m delighted to say our federation has committed to an annual memorial culinary bursary in his name for Sir Guy Carleton students wishing to pursue a culinary career,” Weir says.

Retired teaching colleague Ed Mahfouz at Sir Guy Carleton partnered with Holtz 20 years ago to put on an annual Thanksgiving meal for the needy, which was served at the high school. “Allen was a great teacher and fantastic chef,” Mahfouz recalls.

“Last year we served more than 1,000 meals with the help of over 180 volunteers. Allen was always a caring person, as many of his students will attest. I’m so honoured to have worked with Allen, and can proudly say that without him the Thanksgiving meal program at Sir Guy Carleton would not have happened,” Mahfouz says.

“Allen was one of the first chefs I met when I came to Ottawa,” says chef/owner Marc Lepine, at Atelier restaurant.

“I had the pleasure of serving on the CCF board in Ottawa with him — he as president, and I as vice-president. He introduced me to many leading chefs in the city, including the late Kurt Waldele. Allen was always extremely supportive of my career and was passionate about the culinary arts,” Lepine says.

Chef colleague Luke Campbell says it would be a fitting tribute for chefs attending the funeral Sunday to wear their white uniforms. “He was a dedicated and committed member of the culinary federation. Although he was ill for quite some time, he was a fighter who never gave up. And he was totally committed to the culinary profession,” Campbell says.

Visitation at Kars chapel of Tubman Funeral Homes, 1610 Roger Stevens Dr., Saturday 2 to 5 p.m. Memorial service Sunday 2 p.m. at Manotick United Church. Details, link here.

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