More than $400,000 Raised at NRA Educational Foundation 2010 Salute to Excellence

Chicago, IL – Restaurant industry leaders raised more than $400,000 at the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) 23rd annual Salute to Excellence, and all proceeds will benefit the NRAEF’s youth career development programs. The event honored extraordinary foodservice dignitaries, students and educators on May 22, kicking off the 2010 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago. This year’s Salute to Excellence also celebrated the future of foodservice fashion in a one-of-a-kind runway show emceed by Food Network star Ted Allen.

“We are very grateful for the tremendous generosity shown at this year’s Salute to Excellence,” said Dawn Sweeney, President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association and NRAEF. “The NRAEF provides scholarships and career-building opportunities for tens of thousands of foodservice and hospitality students nationwide through the ProStart program and the NRAEF Scholarship Program. We thank and honor the industry pioneers who support the future of our industry by participating in this event.”

During the event, several awards were presented, including the highest distinction awarded by the NRAEF: the Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality Award. The 2010 Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality is S. Truett Cathy, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Chick-fil-A, Inc. who was joined by three generations of Cathy Chick-fil-A leadership to accept the award.

The NRAEF also inducted several individuals into its College of Diplomates. The 2010 Diplomates inductees are:

  • Jerald W. Chesser, Ed.D, CEC, FMP, CCE, AAC
    Professor, The Collins College of Hospitality Management
    California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  • Alice Elliot, CPC
    Founder and Chief Executive Officer
    The Elliot Group, LLC
  • Denise Marie Fugo, FMP
    Chairman and Chief Executive Office

The 2010 Michael E. Hurst Lifetime Achievement in Education Award was presented Ferdinand E. Metz, CMC, President Emeritus, The Culinary Institute of America and Managing Partner of The Master Chefs’ Institute.

The James H. Maynard Excellence in Education Award, made possible by Golden Corral, was presented to two outstanding ProStart® educators at Salute to Excellence. This year’s winners were: Bonita Curtis of Fairmont Heights High School in Capitol Heights, Maryland and Judy Uerling of Clovis High School on Clovis, New Mexico. These teachers each received a $5,000 cash prize.

Now in its 23rd year, Salute to Excellence celebrates the current and future leaders of our industry. This event is made possible by the generous contributions of founding partner The Coca-Cola Company, as well as Ecolab, Inc., Rich Products, Sweet Street Desserts, Tim Hortons USA, Georgia-Pacific Professional, Kellogg’s, Procter & Gamble Professional, American Express, Livebookings, and Nation’s Restaurant News. Special thanks to our 2010 TREND sponsors: Chef Revival,, ChefWorks, Crocs Professional Footwear, Dansko, Dickies Occupational Wear, and Shoes for Crews.

The annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is the largest single gathering of restaurant, foodservice and lodging professionals. NRA Show 2010 was held May 22-25, at McCormick Place in Chicago. The event attracts tens of thousands of attendees and visitors from all 50 states and 100+ countries, and showcases more products, services, innovative ideas and other growth opportunities than any other industry event. For more information, visit the Show Web site at


About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) enhances the restaurant industry’s service to the public through education, community engagement, and promotion of career opportunities. The restaurant and foodservice industry is comprised of 945,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 13 million employees, making it one of the nation’s largest employers. The NRAEF is focused on working with the Association to lead America’s restaurant industry into a new era of prosperity, prominence and participation by providing the valuable tools and resources needed to educate our current and incoming employees. For more information on the NRAEF, visit