Media Contact: Lori LaDu
17 March 2008

“A Spring Evening in New York with very Special Friends”
Union League Club, New York City, 13 March 2008 

New York City-The Twelfth Annual FTA “A Spring Evening in New York with very Special Friends” proved to be another memorable event for the one hundred plus guests, who included FTA 2008 honorees, hotel and restaurant executives, managing directors, regional vice presidents, GMs, industry VIPs, press and sponsors.

The reception was trade show style, showcasing the products and services of the sponsors.  All guests were formally announced.

The four-course gala dinner brought Fred Tibbitts to the podium, who called for the ecumenical prayers by some of the most renowned clergy in America.  The Jewish grace was said with moving elegance by Cantor Zachary Mondrow; the Episcopal by one of our nation’s finest, Rev. Dr. Thomas Pike, whose words rung true across the room and the Buddhist prayer, which was said by the famed Columbia University Indo-Tibetan Buddhist scholar, Professor Dr. Robert Thurman.

The fourteen Loyalty Toasts included a wondrous variety of praises to the gods by Present as well as Past Presidents of some of New York’s most prestigious hereditary societies and several of the evening’s most important VIP’s, including the legendary “Knickerbocker Toast” by American poet laureate John Blake.

Fred Tibbitts announced that a portion of the proceeds from the FTA NYC Spring Dinner would be donated to Tibet House USA in New York City headed by Robert and Nena Thurman, to benefit the Vikramasila Foundation, which serves refugee Tibetan youths in India.

The 2008 FTA Hospitality Awards for Excellence were announced as follows:

IT Innovator-Ingenico
Literary-LifeSytyle (China)
Operator-Kevin Garvin, Neiman Marcus
Lifetime Excellence-Niki Leondakis

The IT Innovator Award was announced by Beverly DeLuise, Territory Channels, IBM and it was gratefully acknowledged by Lloyd Baylard, Vice President, Retail Solutions of Ingenico.

The Literary Award was announced by Nicolas Hadgis, Immediate Past President, International CHRIE and it was acknowledged in absentia by Richard Xu, Editor in Chief, LifeStyle (China) magazine.

The Lifetime Excellence Award was announced by Dick Rivera, Chairman of the National Restaurant Association and Wes Ardis, Executive Vice President, American Hotel & Lodging Association and acknowledged by Niki Leondakis, Chief Operating Officer, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants.

The Operator Award was announced my Dick Cattani, President, Restaurant Associates and acknowledge in absentia by Kevin Garvin, Vice President, Corporate Food Services, Neiman Marcus.

The menu was superbly crafted by Union League Club Executive Chef Jacques Thiebeutt, while the wines were artfully paired by famed New York wine educator, Harriet Lembeck.  Phillips Foods and Seafood Restaurants provided the hors d’oeuvres at the Reception as well as their world famous “Phillips Seafood Jumbo Lump Crab” and their perfectly seasoned “Phillips Ahi Tuna” for the First Course; all prepared personally by Phillips Seafood Chef Grant Biddinger.

The 2008 FTA Hospitality Awards for Excellence will be presented with scholarships in the names of the recipients at some of the  leading schools of hospitality management in China and the U.S. at the FTA Summer Dinner at Beijing at the Kempinski Beijing on Thursday 5 June just ahead of the Olympics and at the FTA New York City Fall Dinner at the Union League Club on Tuesday 11 November during the New York International Hotel-Restaurant Show.

Fred Tibbitts & Associates is the leading global wine, spirits and related services consulting agency for National Account chain hotels and restaurants and event management, based at Menands, New York with Asia Pacific offices at Bangkok, Thailand.