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29 December 2004

FTA Thirteenth Annual
“An Autumn Evening in New York with Very Special Friends”

New York, NY – In typical “who’s who,” New York City tradition, the Thirteenth Annual Fred Tibbitts & Associates “An Autumn Evening in New York with Very Special Friends” at the posh New York Athletic Club on 16 November wowed the 200 fortunate few admitted to the FTA spectacular finale celebration of Excellence Awards that signaled the finish of the 2004 New York International Hotel & Restaurant Show.

The guests (Including the following: Owners, c.e.o.’s and operational directors of world-renowned hotel and restaurant chains; industry press; and FTA wine, beer, spirits and industry partners) were boldly announced in style by an English gentleman complete with morning suit, silk top hat and ceremonial mace as they were received in the historic 9th Floor Ballroom.

After the guests were led to dinner in the Ballroom and warmly welcomed by Michael Charlton, President & CEO, Michael Batterberry, Co-Founding Editor & Co-Publisher, Food Arts introduced George Vizer, Vice President of Food & Beverage, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts-North America, who led the assembled through a tasting of thirteen of the best wine values from Australia and New Zealand that he had brought back with him from his personal tour the past March, which was chronicled in the November issue of Food Arts.  Then Master of Ceremonies John Mauk Hilliard summoned everyone to be upstanding for the presentation of the colors and a fife and drum presentation by New York’s legendary Veteran Corps of Artillery.

After prayers by Reformed, Episcopal, Jewish and Buddhist priests, the evening proceeded with 12 Loyalty Toasts, given by many distinguished Consul Generals, Society Presidents and dignitaries in attendance.

Then it was onward for the presentation of the Tibbitts Hospitality Awards for Excellence.  Michael Charlton recognized Raymond Vineyard & Cellar with the 2004 FTA Hospitality Award for Excellence as a Supplier, which was accepted by Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Steve Turrini.  The 2004 FTA Hospitality Award for Excellence as an Operator was presented to M.P.S. Puri, General Manager, The Setai South Beach & Vice President, The Americas for GHM Hotels by Joseph McInerney, President, American Hotel & Lodging Association.

The inaugural 2004 FTA Hospitality Award for Lifetime Excellence was presented to Kenneth Hill, Director, Uno Restaurant Holdings Corp. by Steven Anderson, President & CEO, National Restaurant Association.  All three Award recipients were presented scholarship certificates in their names in the amount of $5,000.00 each at Johnson & Wales University for deserving students studying the Culinary Arts by Dick Brush, Dean of the Hospitality College, Johnson & Wales University.

Harriet Lembeck, famed New York senior wine educator, skillfully paired the wines and spoke to the guests as to how she arrived at each decision.

Jean-Charles Boisset, President Boisset America and one of the owners of Boisset, the third largest wine group in France led the assembled in a traditional French party song, which greatly added to the evening’s authenticity and entertainment value.

Once the colors were retired, the guests bid fond farewells until the FTA Spring Dinner, which takes place at Tropica in the Met Life Building on 7 April 2005.

Fred Tibbitts & Associates, led by Partners Michael Charlton, President & CEO and Fred Tibbitts, Founder and Senior Vice President of Sale & Marketing, is the pre-eminent global wine and spirits consulting agency to some of the world’s leading hotel and restaurant groups.

The Company is based in New York.