The Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association honored more than a dozen area hospitality industry workers at the annual Gilbert Robinson Leadership and Awards Dinner on Monday.
Award winners are nominated each year by employers and peers for their outstanding service in hospitality, cuisine and management.
▪ Heart of the House Employee of the Year: Hoa Nguyen, grill cook, Treat America Food Services
▪ Rising Star of the Year: Bradley Gilmore, executive chef, Gram & Dun
▪ Chef of the Year: Mario Ladron, executive chef, Garozzo’s Ristorante
▪ Hospitalitarian of the Year: Garen Van Natta, bartender, Kona Grill
▪ Porter of the Year: Man Ho, lab technician, Johnson County Community College
▪ Media Person of the Year: Tara Van Loenen, vice president of marketing, Bread & Butter Concepts
▪ Allied Employee of the Year: Frank Greco, vice president of sales, US Foods
▪ Maitre d’ of the Year: Jeremiah Kelly, manager, Gram & Dun
▪ Chef Apprentice of the Year: Shelby Fahrni, apprentice, Lidia’s Kansas City/Johnson County Community College
▪ Service Professional of the Year: Karly White, server, Kona Grill
▪ Bartender of the Year: Van Zarr, bar manager and bartender, Bluestem/Rye
▪ Manager of the Year: Renee Lopez, general manager, Manny’s
▪ Philanthropist of the Year: Matt Green, general manager, Lidia’s Kansas City
▪ Industry Icon, Lifetime Achievement Award: Dan Swinney, executive chef, Lidia’s Kansas City
▪ Corporate Director of the Year: Traci Virgin, director of human resources, KC Hopps Ltd.
The association also presented 10 scholarships to area students pursuing careers in the hospitality industry. The scholarships ranged from $500 to $2,000.
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