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National Restaurant Association - Restaurant vet Balestreri is a ‘Legend’

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Restaurant vet Balestreri is a ‘Legend’

Above: Ted Balestreri, center, is surrounded by his family after receiving our first Legends award.

Industry veteran Ted Balestreri is the first recipient of our brand-new NRA Legends Award. He was honored at this year’s IFMA Gold & Silver Plate Dinner.

The award, presented May 20, is part of our new collaboration with IFMA (International Foodservice Manufacturers Association), and will be bestowed annually on a deserving individual. Brooklyn, N.Y.-born Balestreri was selected by our Governance Committee, and received the award for his lifelong contributions and dedication to our industry. Dawn Sweeney, our president and CEO, presented the chairman and CEO of the Cannery Row Company, with the award.

“Ted Balestreri is a giant in our industry,” Sweeney said. “He has changed the landscape of restaurants and hospitality, and personally and professionally shaped our industry’s history in America. He is a business genius, an industry advocate, an irrepressible role model, a leader who truly inspires. We are thrilled to bestow this inaugural National Restaurant Association honor on you.

Besides running the Monterey, Calif.-based Cannery Row Company, Balestreri also owns the Sardine Factory restaurant and the Inns of Monterey.

Our 1985 NRA chairman, Balestreri has served on our board for more than 40 years and hosts our Ted J. Balestreri Leadership Classic, now in its 22nd year. He’s also on our National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation board. In addition, he’s been the commissioner of the California Tourism Commission and a California delegate to the White House Conference on Travel and Tourism.

Among his many other industry accolades, Balestreri has received:

  • The IFMA Gold Plate award
  • Thad Eure Jr. Ambassador of Hospitality Award
  • The Ellis Island Medal of Honor
  • Induction into the DiRoNA Hall of Fame
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