Keynote author’s “Kansas City: A Food Biography” inspires menu and is a centerpiece of the annual Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association Leadership and Awards Dinner
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Oct. 10, 2016) — The Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association’s (GKCRA) annual Gilbert Robinson (GR) Leadership and Awards Dinner presented by Sysco unveiled restaurant-industry awards in a total of 23 categories. Following the 23 awards, the GKCRA presented area culinary and hospitality students with more than $20,000 to help prepare Kansas City’s next generation of restaurant leaders. The Oct. 9 event featured a keynote address from Johnson County Community College professor Andrea Broomfield, author of “Kansas City: A Food Biography”, including a menu from Kansas City’s history, with dishes inspired by Putsch’s, Stephenson’s Orchard, Ruby’s and Italian Gardens.
Kansas City Hospitality Employee of the Year Awards
The GR Dinner presented by Sysco recognizes the outstanding contributions to the Kansas City restaurant industry by businesses and individuals though both the GKCRA’s members and allied members. Following the keynote address, the GKCRA announced 23 award recipients, honoring the top leadership in categories ranging from bartender, server, chef and media. All award-winners were nominated by an employer or colleague and voted on by industry peers. None of the recipients were notified of their award in advance. Winners are as follows:
Bartender of the Year Chef of the Year
Name: Rikki Duncan Name: Robert Berutti
Name of Restaurant: Nick & Jake’s Name of Restaurant: Ventana Gourmet Grill
Bar Manager of the Year Server of the Year
Name: Josh Lehne Name: Steven Cowan
Name of Restaurant: JJ’s Name of Business: The Capital Grille
General Manager of the Year Catering Manager of the Year
Name: Michael Werner Name: Dallas Miller
Name of Restaurant: The Jacobson Name of Restaurant: Company Kitchen
Employee of the Year Heart of the House Employee of the Year
Name: George Clarke Name: Margaret Adams
Name of Restaurant: Charlie Hooper’s Name of Business: Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar
Chef Apprentice of the Year Allied Employee of the Year
Name: Leonardo Foschi Name: Steve Holle
Name of Business: Lidia’s Name of Business: KC Bier Company
Sous Chef of the Year Mixologist of the Year
Name: Javier Carrillo Name: Noah Robinson
Name of Business: Q39 Name of Business: Capital Grille
BOH Manager of the Year BOH Employee of the Year
Name: Bernabe Palacios Name: Raul Vasquez-Pena
Name of Restaurant: Rudy’s Name of Restaurant: LongHorn Steakhouse
FOH Manager of the Year FOH Employee of the Year
Name: Keith Goldman Name: Jonathon Vallejas
Name of Restaurant: The American Name of Restaurant: Garozzo’s
Workhorse BOH Employee of the Year Workhorse FOH Employee of the Year
Name: Thomas Pelkey Name: Kari Cotrell
Name of Restaurant: Story Name of Restaurant: Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen
ProStart Teacher of the Year Educator of the Year
Name: Cheryl Landers Name: Felix Sturmer
Name of School: Grandview Name of Organization: JCCC
Dietary Aid of the Year Media Company of the Year
Name: Henry Freeman Name: Catherine Neville
Name of Restaurant: Kingswood Properties Name of Business: Feast Magazine
Rising Star of the Year
Name: Nathan Nichols
Name of Restaurant/Business: Gram & Dun
The GKCRA presented eight scholarships to area culinary and hospitality students at the Oct. 10 event. The scholarships ranged from $1,500 to $2,500, in addition to matched funds through the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation and the Missouri Restaurant Association. Because of these matched fund contributions, the GKCRA was able to award more than $20,000 to Kansas City students seeking a degree or certificate in a hospitality or restaurant-related field. Scholarship recipients are as follows:
James H. Block Scholarship: Named after a Kansas City icon in commercial real estate and restaurant development, Jimmy Block was a pioneer responsible for building, opening and operating franchised restaurants in and around the Kansas City area. Block owned and operated more than 50 restaurants in the Kansas City region and Nevada, including Kansas City’s original franchises for Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.
· Isaac Dominguez
Jerry Vincent Scholarship: Jerry Vincent has served the industry for four decades. He started the Hospitality Management Program at Johnson County Community College in 1965 and previously worked as the Membership Director for the Missouri Restaurant Association.
· Derek Gimson
Joe Adelman Scholarship: The Joe Adelman Scholarship is dedicated to encouraging the growth of minorities in the hospitality industry.
· Lashay Williams
John Joyce Scholarship: As a mentor to many students, John Joyce truly believed that students are the future, therefore creating the scholarship to fund future students’ education in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Joyce is an internationally known chef and is a judge for the American Culinary Institute.
· Breanna Durrett
ProStart High School Scholarship: The ProStart High School scholarship is awarded to multiple Kansas City-area ProStart students attending a post-secondary hospitality or culinary program upon graduation.
· Aubriel Smith
· Jaymee Fee
· Chad Brown
· Kala Welloff
The Gilbert Robinson Dinner celebrates a standard of excellence set by former Kansas City restaurant firm, Gilbert-Robinson. Founded in 1961, the Kansas City-based restaurant company became a national leader in the industry with distinguished innovations in menu, decor and service. The group created several legendary concepts in the Kansas City, including Houlihan’s, Bristol Seafood Grill, Fedora Café and Bar, Plaza III and Fred P. Ott’s.
About Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association
The Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association (GKCRA) celebrated 100 years representing the restaurant and hospitality industry on Jan. 30, 2016. The GKCRA was established in 1916 in order to take a stand against the rising cost of eggs; when these efforts received national attention, the same group launched the National Restaurant Association (NRA) in 1919. The GKCRA pioneered efforts for restaurant associations across the country. The NRA headquarters remained in Kansas City until 1927.
The Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association (GKCRA) is an active association working to represent, educate and promote the restaurant and hospitality industries in the Missouri counties of Cass, Clay, Jackson, and Platte and Kansas counties of Johnson, Leavenworth and Wyandotte with members consisting of restaurants, caterers, hospitals, schools, institutions, clubs and business serving the restaurant industries (allied members). For more information on the GKCRA, “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GKCRA or follow the GKCRA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GKCRA.