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Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Annika Stensson
(202) 973-3677

Katharine Kim

Prestigious Hennessy Awards to Celebrate Past, Present and Future at 50th Anniversary during 2006 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show
U.S. Air Force foodservice, Hennessy Travelers to be honored at 50th anniversary celebrations
(Washington, DC) The National Restaurant Association and the Hennessy Travelers Association will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the prestigious Hennessy Awards a program honoring special achievements of U.S. Air Force (USAF) foodservice facilities worldwide in conjunction with the 2006 National Restaurant Association, Restaurant Hotel-Motel Show®. The anniversary celebrations will kick off with an exclusive reception on Friday, May 19, honoring past and present Hennessy Traveler's representatives of the Hennessy Award evaluating team followed by an invitation-only breakfast on Saturday, May 20, where the 2006 Hennessy trophies will be presented.

"The National Restaurant Association is proud to salute 50 years of excellence in U.S. Air Force foodservice," said Steven C. Anderson, the Associations president and chief executive officer. "Our servicemen and women deserve the best, and throughout the years, we have been continually impressed with the facilities' commitment to providing superior food and service on bases around the world."

"I was a Hennessy Traveler in 2003 and it was one of the highlights of my life," said Carmen Vacalebre, president/owner of Carmen Anthony Restaurant Group in Waterbury, Conn., Association Board member, and president of the Hennessy Travelers Association. "We traveled 28,000 miles and went to eight bases around the world. It was just phenomenal to see the enthusiasm and quality of their dining facilities."

As part of the 50th year Hennessy Anniversary celebration, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) has established a special scholarship program that will make 50 awards of $2500 each, for a total of $125,000, to U.S. Air Force service men and women in foodservice. These scholarships have been established to encourage study and careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry after completing their Air Force service, and can be used at a restaurant and hospitality management or culinary school of the recipient's choice anytime over the next five years.

The Hennessy Awards breakfast, held May 20, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., at the Hilton Chicago will feature a report from National Restaurant Association board members Jack Amon and Pete Mihajlov, the 2006 Hennessy Travelers. Mihajlov, co-founder and partner of Parasole Restaurant Holdings in Edina, Minn., and Amon, owner/chef of Marx Brothers Cafe and Catering in Anchorage, Alaska, spent five weeks evaluating bases around the world in February and March of 2006.

The special guest speaker at this years breakfast ceremony is Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, commander, U.S. Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. Attendees will also view a demonstration by the USAF Base Precision Drill Team. Advance tickets are required.

Air Force installations in every part of the world were evaluated to determine the winners of the prestigious and historic Hennessy trophies. The evaluating teams that determine the winners consist of members from the National Restaurant Association, the Society for Foodservice Management, the International Food Service Executives Association and the USAF.

The Hennessy Trophy Awards Program was established to promote excellence in customer service and meal quality. Named after John L. Hennessy, a foodservice executive with the Stouffer Hospitality Group and member of the Hoover Commission to improve the efficiency of government agencies, the program reflects the dedication, pride, and fellowship of the civilian foodservice industry and the Air Force. The Hennessy program also allows the sharing of valuable information between the travelers, who are recognized leaders in the civilian foodservice industry, and base-level foodservice personnel.

The bases visited represent the elite performers within the various commands of the U.S. Air Force. The teams evaluate Air Force bases in two categories: those with a single dining hall and those with multiple foodservice facilities. Bases of Reserve Units and Air National Guard are evaluated separately through their headquarters, but are also honored for their achievements. The evolving challenges of the Air Force have even prompted the recent creation of a USAF in Europe small-site foodservice award and a missile site foodservice award. In addition to the foodservice operations, two airmen€”one in each category are awarded the Hennessy Travelers Association Award of Excellence.

The Hennessy Awards is one of several events highlighting excellence in foodservice held at and during the 2006 Show that offer attendees inspiration and an opportunity to learn from the best in the business.

Now in its 87th year, the annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is the largest single gathering of restaurant, foodservice and lodging professionals in North and South America. As the industry's premier business venue, it offers attendees the best opportunities of the year for networking and exploring new trends, as well as insight on myriad industry issues via seminars and special events. The 2006 Show will be held May 20-23, at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill. The Show attracts close to 2,000 exhibiting companies and nearly 73,000 attendees and visitors from all 50 states and 100+ countries. For more information, please visit the Show Web site at


The National Restaurant Association, founded in 1919, is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which is comprised of 925,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a work force of 12.5 million employees - making it the cornerstone of the economy, career opportunities and community involvement. Along with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, the Association works to represent, educate and promote the rapidly growing industry. For more information, visit our Web site at