NMRA’s Hospitality Industry Awards, the biggest and hottest industry event is a one-of-a-kind awards ceremony celebrating restaurants and their employees and the future of our industry with nominees from across the state.
We have been celebrating our industry at this annual gala since 1967. It all started in 1946 when Cecil Draper, Jack Chaney, C.D. Gibson, Gus Bruskas, Viola Sponduris, and A.C. Corondini, voluntarily associated together for the purpose of forming a private educational corporation called the New Mexico Restaurant Association.
The past few decades NMRA also began to recognize our students excelling in our education and scholarship programs, and with that came celebrating the Educator of the Year, the high school culinary program, ProStart Champs and the Hospitality Industry Education Foundation Scholarship recipients.
How do YOU become the next VIP of the year?
Restaurateur of the Year: This is the highest honor a person can receive in the New Mexico restaurant industry. To be eligible, the nominee must: Contribute to the advancement and prestige of the foodservice industry; Be actively engaged and employed in the foodservice industry for a minimum o fthe past three consecutive years; and, be committed to community service.
2013 – Tom & Jerean Hutchinson of La Posta de Mesilla
2014 – Pat Hafner of Outback Steakhouse
2015 – Robert Vick, Jr. of Vick’s Vittles
2016 – Laura Leal of Leal’s Mexican Restaurant
2017 – Brian Bailey of Domino’s Team Bailey
Chef of the Year Award: To be eligible, the nominee must: Contribute to the advancement and prestige of the foodservice industry; Be actively engaged and employed in the foodservice industry for a minimum of the past three consecutive years; and, be committed to community service; Demonstrate leadership, creativity, and culinary excellence in their workplace, and exemplify remarkable guest service, mentorship, and quality inside and outside the kitchen.
2013 – Leslie Chavez of Tecolote Café
2014 – Chloe Winters of Adobe Rose Restaurant
2015 – Michael Giese of Pueblo Harvest Cafe
2016 – Tatsuya Miyazaki of Sierra Grande & World Class Gourmet
2017 – Marc Quinones of Hotel Andaluz
Manager of the Year: To be eligible, the nominee must: Be employed in a managerial position; Contribute to the advancement and prestige of the foodservice industry; Be actively engaged and employed in the foodservice industry for a minimum o fthe past three consecutive years; and, be committed to community service.
A few of the past year’s Manager of the Year winners include:
2013 – John Christopher of Village Inn in Los Lunas
2014 – Sean Montano & Team of Monroe’s Restaurant
2015 – Jesse Gravelle of Three Rivers Brewery
2016 – Wayne Moore of St. Clair
2017 – Andy Twomey of Black Mesa Coffee Company
Restaurant Neighbor: Each year NMRA honors restaurants that are actively involved in community service. To be eligible, the nominee should be: Actively committed to community service and be able to detail their community service with facts, figures and testimonials.
Restaurant Neighbors in the past have been:
2013 – Dale & Janie Balzano of Trinity Hotel & Restaurant
2014 – John Patten & Bill Scott of Dion’s
2015 – County Line BBQ
2016 – Pizza 9
2017 – Frontier Restaurant/Golden Pride Chicken
In 2013, Steve Paternoster of Scalo Nothern Italian Grill was nationally recognized as National Restaurant Association’s Cornerstone Humanitarian of the Year, the first in New Mexico to make the list. He also took home the NMRA Restaurant Neighbor of the Year in 2010.
Each year we have brought special custom awards such as Heroes that Serve in which we honored those in the industry who have served our Country, State and their communities. For our 70th Anniversary, we presented the Legacy Awards to those restaurants that have been in business for 40 years or longer. We’ve also celebrated the Bartender of the Year, with a Bartender Competition at one of our previous events as well as commending All Things New Mexico.
This year, we are excited to celebrate with a prohibition-era, 1920s, Gatsby themed night celebrating “New Mexico’s Most Wanted”.
This is THE Gala of the year, with food worthy of the most discriminating palates and samples of New Mexico’s best wine, beer, and spirits as we give special “People’s Choice” awards for the public’s favorite brewery, distillery, and winery! And, of course, the announcements of the Chef, Manager, and Restaurateur of the Year! We will also recognize ourEducator of the Year and 2018’s New Mexico ProStart champions!
We are proud to announce that Gubernatorial candidates Steve Pearce and Michelle Lujan Grisham will be joining us and will say a few words of encouragement to all of our nominees!
It’s going to be a FANTASTIC evening at the NMRA Speakeasy and we hope that you will join us on September 10th at Embassy Suites.
You can get your tickets and purchase tables to the 2018 Hospitality Industry Awards on our website at www.nmrestaurants.org. Ticket sales end on August 31st and they are selling out quickly! You don’t want to miss this!
Can’t make it to the event this year? Follow our Facebook page – New Mexico Restaurant Association stay updated on pictures, videos, and announcement of the winners!