NRAEF to Mark 20 Years of Saluting the Industry

This highly anticipated event, which celebrates the best and the brightest in the restaurant and foodservice industry by spotlighting esteemed leadership and extraordinary academic accomplishments, will take place here on Saturday, May 19, kicking off the 88th Annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show.

"We are proud to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Salute to Excellence. For two decades, this event has provided a tremendous opportunity to honor not only those leaders who have given so much to enhancing the industry, but also those promising young people who are the future of the restaurant and foodservice industry," said Mary M. Adolf, president and coo of the NRAEF. "By honoring these outstanding individuals during the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, we demonstrate the importance of maintaining the restaurant and foodservice industry as the cornerstone of our nation's economy, of career-and-employment opportunities and of local communities."

Salute to Excellence is a day-long event that is broken into two parts: The Michael E. Hurst Student Forum brings together more than 200 of the country's most promising restaurant, foodservice and hospitality management students with the Ambassador of Hospitality, College of Diplomates inductees, and more than 100 top educators and business leaders at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place for a day of sharing and learning.

Students engage the profession's sharpest thinkers and decision-makers through interactive presentations, small-group breakout discussions and the Michael E. Hurst Ambassador and Diplomate Luncheon. The second portion of the day is the Salute to Excellence Awards Gala and Banquet, a black-tie-optional event held at the Hilton Chicago that celebrates our future leadership and honors accomplished industry leaders through the presentations of the Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality Award, the Michael E. Hurst Lifetime Achievement in Education Award, and the induction of 2007 College of Diplomates honorees.

This year's College of Diplomates inductees are: Jim Funk, chief executive officer, Louisiana Restaurant Association; Bill Shore, founder and executive director, Share Our Strength; and Regynald Washington, FMP, CFBE, vice president of food and beverage, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Worldwide.

The 2007 Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality, the highest distinction awarded by the NRAEF, is John R. Farquharson, FMP, president, International Food Safety Council. The Michael E. Hurst Lifetime Achievement in Education Award will be presented to Carol Kizer, CCE, RD, FMP, hospitality management department chair emeritus, Columbus State Community College.

Tickets for the Salute to Excellence Awards Gala and Banquet are priced individually at $300 or $2,800 for a table of 10. For more information, or to purchase tickets, please call (312) 715-5384 or visit www.nraef.org/events. For media interested in attending this year's events, contact Ryan O'Malley, corporate communications manager, NRAEF at (312) 261-5318.


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