Award-winning chefs and travel industry leaders from around the country gathered to honor the James Beard Foundation (JBF). JBF was selected by The Destination and Travel Foundation to receive the 2014 Spirit of Hospitality Award, the highest recognition presented annually to individuals and organizations that show exceptional dedication and commitment to the travel and tourism industry. JBF president Susan Ungaro accepted the award. Special guest and multiple James Beard Award-winning Chef Art Smith joined the evening to help present the Spirit of Hospitality Award.
Creating the three-course dinner were Chef John Fleer, owner of Ashville, North Carolina’s Rhubarb Restaurant and a multiple James Beard Award nominee (presented by Asheville Area CVB); Chef Tory McPhail, executive chef of New Orleans’ Commander’s Palace and “Best Chef: South” Beard Award-winner (presented by New Orleans CVB); and Keegan Gerhard, owner of Denver’s D-Bar Desserts and judge of the Food Network Challenge (presented by Visit Denver).
Each course was paired with wines from Monterey, California, courtesy of the Monterey CVB.
The Destination and Travel Foundation is a complementary organization to Destination Marketing Association International. The mission is to enhance the destination marketing and travel professions through research, education, visioning and development of resources and partnerships for those efforts. The Destination & Travel Foundation is classified as a charitable organization, under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code of 1954. Donations to the Foundation are tax deductible as charitable contributions.