photo credit: Jenna Dosch Photography

The Nevada Restaurant Association hosted its 37th Annual Meeting and Culinary Excellence Awards on Thursday, December 12th, 2019, at Wynn Las Vegas with the master of ceremonies, Anchor of KLAS-TV Channel 8 News NOW, Denise Valdez. CEO of The Innovation Resource and best-selling author, Robert B. Tucker, was the Keynote Speaker, speaking to attendees about managing the future, and how we can capitalize on what he calls the “Driving Forces of Change.” 

The annual event honors and celebrates the best in the industry, who were selected based on merit in such areas as exceptional service, teamwork, leadership, contributions of knowledge and time to the community and dedication to the restaurant industry.  

There are eight award categories. This year, the Association included two new groups: “Restaurant of the Year” and “Hospitality Champion of the Year.”  

“The nominees and winners exemplify the Nevada Restaurant Association’s mission to promote, protect and educate our state’s growing restaurant industry,” said Katherine Jacobi, President & CEO of the Association. 

The 2019 Culinary Excellence winners are: Drinks Specialist of the Year, Adam Rains of Golden Tiki; Pastry Chef of the Year, Flora Aghababyan of Wynn Las Vegas; New Restaurant of the Year, LOCALE Italian Kitchen; Vendor/Supplier of the Year, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirit of Nevada; Restaurant of the Year, Herbs and Rye; Chef of the Year, James Trees of Esther’s Kitchen; Restaurateur of the Year, Elizabeth Blau of Blau & Associates; and Hospitality Champion of the Year, Amber Jackson of MarkeTeam.

The Nevada Restaurant Association Educational Foundation also recognizes Timothy Moulson, President & CEO of Training Effective Restaurant Management, as 2019 Industry Champion; and Ann Taylor, ProStart Culinary Teacher, of Coronado High School, as 2019 ProStart Educator of the Year. Both Timothy and Ann were the first recipients in their categories. Their continued dedication and endless support to the Association’s Educational Foundation’s ProStart Program have contributed to the program’s success, which provides scholarships for high school students interested in starting a career in the restaurant and foodservice industry. 

The Nevada Restaurant Association also welcomed and inducted new members to their board of directors:

• Tommy Rocker of Tommy Rocker’s Mojave Beach Grill

• Alice Tomlin of WeNevada LLC

• Brandon Hurte of Better MyPOS Inc.

• Kris Parikh of Mint Indian Bistro

• Derrick Morrison of Sysco Las Vegas

• Chef Jainine Jaffer of Shiraz Restaurant

 “The restaurant industry is at a crossroads with so many key factors shaping the future of the industry. I am so thrilled to have these forward-thinking and prominent leaders as part of our board of directors. With their help and the rest of the board members, I am confident that we will guide our Nevada Restaurant Association members through some significant changes that we see forthcoming,” said Stewart Patchefsky, Chairman of the Board of Nevada.