W. Bryan O'Shields, vice president of food & beverage for the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, was named last night as the outstanding foodservice operator of 2002.
He was chosen for the honor, commonly called the Gold Plate Award, from a field of finalists that included David Novak, CEO of Yum! Brands (formerly Tricon Global); Kerry Kramp, CEO of Buffets Inc.; and Gary Green, CEO of Compass Group, the international concern that owns Brasserie and the other New York City restaurants run by Restaurant Associates. There were nine finalists in all.
O'Shields dedicated his Gold Plate Award to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. "I accept this on behalf of all who are here, and those [from our industry] who are not here," he said.
Each of the nine finalists for the Gold Plate had been selected in February as the best operator within his or her respective market segment. They were chosen by a jury of industry magazine editors and past winners of that preliminary honor, known as the Silver Plate. At that time, the jury participants had voted for the individual they regarded as the best of the best, the operator worthy of being called the tops across all market segments in 2002. But the results of the secret ballot were not revealed until last night, during the annual gala held by the program's organizer, the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association.
Past winners of the Gold Plate Award have included Ruth Fertel, the founder of Ruth's Chris Steakhouse; Danny Meyer, proprietor of Union Square Cafe and Grammercy Tavern in New York; and Joe Lee, chairman of Darden Restaurants.