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National Restaurant Association - Hennessy Ed. Foundation salutes military foodservice

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Hennessy Ed. Foundation salutes military foodservice



Members of the U.S. Armed Forces serving in foodservice operations around the world converged on the Culinary Institute of America's Greystone Campus in Napa Valley, Calif., last month for the Hennessy Travelers Association Education Foundation's 2011 Armed Forces Forum for Culinary Excellence.

Twenty-five honorees attended the event, which was held Oct. 22-30; eighteen of them represented the U.S. Air Force and the other seven are members of the Marine Corps.

The honorees, nominated by evaluations teams during a month-long, worldwide tour, were recognized for excellence in foodservice at their respective military installations. The evaluations teams are composed of members of the National Restaurant Association's Board of Directors, the Society of Foodservice Management, the International Food Service Executives Association, and military headquarters staff.

The culmination of the process is the presentation of the U.S. Air Force John L. Hennessy Awards, the U.S. Marine Corp. Major General W.P.T. Hill Awards and the Air National Guard Kenneth Disney Award at the annual National Restaurant Association's Restaurant and Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago in May.

The forum also assists members of the military interested in foodservice careers following their tours of duty through networking and by developing, sponsoring and promoting educational opportunities for them.

This year's event featured a customized culinary educational experience, including hands-on classes, seminars, tours and a roundtable discussion with restaurant and foodservice industry leaders on best practices and career experiences.

"It was such a well-run, well-organized, well put-together event," said Steve Watson, an NRA board member and chief operating officer and general manager of the Mendakota Country Club in Mendota Heights, Minn. "Every attention to detail was executed. But what was really great and fun was being able to watch those young people get caught up in the learning process. Those people are giving up their lives in order so that you and I have the freedom of choice to live the lifestyles we choose to live. And they were like sponges soaking up this experience. I think we all got caught up in the moment we were in because of their enthusiasm and optimism. It was a privilege to be a part of it."

Pictured, top right: NRA chairman Sally Smith, foreground, with Lt. Gen. Darrell D. Jones, deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and Services headquarters, U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.


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