Media Contact: Lori LaDu
April 10, 2005

Fred Tibbitts & Associates Ninth Annual
“A Spring Evening in New York with Very, Very Special Friends”

Tropica New York City 7 April

New York, NY – In typical “who’s who”, New York City tradition, the Ninth Annual Fred Tibbitts & Associates “A Spring Evening in New York with Very, Very Special Friends” at Restaurant Associates’s Tropica restaurant dazzled the 100 fortunate few in attendance.  At this FTA spectacular, the highly anticipated 2005 FTA Hospitality Awards for Excellence were announced.  These Awards will be presented at the FTA Fall Dinner at the Grand Hyatt New York.

The guests were ambassadors, owners, CEOs and operational directors of world-renowned hotel and restaurant chains; industry press; the top violinist of the People’s Republic of China; and FTA wine, beer, spirits and foodservice partners.  The entrance of each guest was announced in Royal Court style by an English gentleman (complete with morning suit and silk top hat) as they were received at the reception.  After a sampling of superior wines, spirits, beers and the top, organic olive oil from Chile, the attendees were led to dinner and formally welcomed by FTA President & CEO, Michael Charlton.  The command was then passed “Gentlemen, Permission to parade the colors!” and with that the guests were treated to a magnificent, patriotic performance with the posting of the colors and fife and drum by New York’s own Veteran Corps of Artillery.

After ecumenical prayers by The Reverend Dr. Thomas Pike, Rector of Calvary/St. George’s Episcopal Church and Associate Rabbi David Honigsberg of The New Synagogue, the evening continued with a “Toast to Knickerbocker” by famed New York poet and lyricist, John Blake and a special presentation of 2001 Concha Y Toro “Don Melchor” Cabernet Sauvignon (95 points in the Wine Spectator) by Juan Somavia, Director, Chilean Trade Commission in New York to Norbert Relecker, Regional Director of Food & Beverage, Hyatt Hotels.

Harriet Lembeck, famed New York Wine Educator spoke after each of the five courses to explain her reasoning for the pairing of the sixteen super premium wines from around the world with the meal.

The 2005 FTA Hospitality Awards for Excellence, which will be presented at in the FTA NYC Fall Dinner were announced: For Excellence as an Operator, George Vizer, Special Projects, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts; for Excellence in Writing on Food or Beverage, Ed Meek, President & CEO, Oxford Publishing and for Excellence as a Humanitarian, (in memoriam) Reggie Shiu (this Award will be presented at the FTA Fall Dinner at Shanghai).  George Vizer was present and he told the guests he was extremely honored to be recognized and that he very much looked forward to receiving the Award in November.

A new FTA Wine Partner, Mick Fleetwood (Member, The Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame) was unable to attend the FTA Dinner, so he filmed a commentary on his Santa Barbara Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the vineyard with special regards to FTA and all gathered at Tropica.  He promised to join the guests at a future FTA Dinner (Fred volunteered they would be certain to sell a goodly amount of Mick’s super premium wines to insure it would be so).  Diane Marie Van Trees from Los Angeles represented Mick.

As if all this was not yet sufficient entertainment for the assembled guests, Fred then introduced the top violinist from the People’s Republic of China, Siqing Lu, who brought a CD with excerpts of one of his all time most important concerts in Beijing, which stunned the audience and produced a standing ovation for the once child prodigy as he took the podium to reflect on his life as a virtuoso.

Michael Charlton asked Peter Wyss, Vice President of Operations, Restaurant Associates to Summons the Brigade and having done so, Executive Chef Eric Basulto thanked the assembled on behalf of the staff.  The guests were bid a fond farewell by Charlton at 10:05pm, a record early finish for any FTA Dinner, some of which had continued well past midnight.