Kansas City restaurant industry awards announced in 11 categories at Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association annual event
More than $20,000 in scholarships awarded to next-generation of leaders
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Oct. 1, 2018) – The Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association’s (GKCRA) annual Gilbert/Robinson (GR) Leadership and Awards Dinner unveiled restaurant-industry awards in a total of 11 categories. Preceding the 11 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 Sept. 30 event featured keynote speaker, locally renowned, Renee Kelly.
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 through both the GKCRA’s members and allied members. The GKCRA announced 11 award recipients, honoring the top leadership in categories ranging from bartender, server, chef and catering manager. All award-winners were nominated by an employer or colleague and voted on by industry peers. Winners are as follows:
Chef of the Year
Name: Laura Comer
Name of Restaurant: Kauffman Center Dining Experience
Heart of the House Employee
Name: Mary Soriso
Name of Restaurant: Manny’s
Server of the Year
Name: Vicky Lindsay
Name of Restaurant: Trago Bars & Tapas
Pitmaster of the Year
Name: Wayne Garrett
Name of Restaurant: Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque
General Manager of the Year
Name: Gene O’Dell
Name of Restaurant: Hereford House
Catering Manager of the Year
Name: Robbie McGowan
Name of Restaurant: Pierpont’s at Union Station
Overall Employee of the Year
Name: Jamie Martin
Name of Restaurant: Jack Stack’s Barbecue
Apprentice of the Year
Name: Swetha Gondi
Name of Restaurant: Capital Grille
Prostart Educator of the Year
Name: Mike Chrostowski
Name of School: Herndon Career Center
Allied Employee of the Year
Name: Michelle Vun Cannon
Name of Company: Affinity Group
Bartender of the Year
Name: Tamrah Edwards
Name of Restaurant: Char Bar
The GKCRA presented 17 scholarships to area culinary and hospitality students at the Sept. 30 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.
· Cecilla Knight
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.
· Brett Robinson
Joe Adelman Scholarship: The Joe Adelman Scholarship is dedicated to encouraging the growth of minorities in the hospitality industry.
· Mila Gaza
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 was an internationally known chef and was previously a judge for the American Culinary Institute.
· Kellen Marcum
Richard May Scholarship:
· Sydnee Caton
· Race Shepard
· Grace Muller
· Levi Barkley
· Hayley Green
· Bailey Sargent
· Travis Martin
· Nathan Larson
· Trevor McPherson
· Jasmine Chandler
· Jose Rios Rico
· Riley Seuser
· Marqueana Johnson
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 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.