AN EMPHASIS ON PARTNERSHIPS. (Above, clockwise): Incoming SFM President Sally Minier of Lehman Brothers addresses the SFM community; Russ Benson presents Dick Cattani with his Lifetime Achievement Award; Debi Benedetti receives the SFM Richard Ysmael Distinguished Service Award; and Owen Moore accepts the association's Leadership Award.
In a move to recognize SFM's many past Hennessy Travelers, Russ Benson presents them with honorary Hennessy Traveler chef coats.
Over 400 members of the Society for Foodservice Management descended on Las Vegas in October to attend its annual conference, network at its educational events and partake in the culinary delights that have come to dominate the dining scene in that city. These included the exceptional "Taste of SFM" black-tie event that closed the conference.
Outgoing SFM President Russ Benson, vice president of guest strategies for Parkhurst Dining Services, credited conference cochairs Carol Bracken-Tilley and Jay Silverstein for the high-touch program that included presentations by Doug Hall, founder of the Eureka! Ranch, Kathleen Jordan, co-founder of HotHouse Innovation, and Marilyn Sherman of Conflict Resolution. Workshop sessions included the popular liaison forum, demonstrations of innovative catering techniques and a roundtable of Las Vegas celebrity chefs.
Looking back over his term, Benson cited key accomplishments from the past year. These included SFM's successful Critical Issues Conference; its sponsorship of onsite foodservice courses at a dozen major university locations; several leadership workshops offered by the SFM Women's Council; and a variety of regional networking and educational events held throughout the U.S. and Canada.
He also announced that the organization has launched a new SFM Foundation, which will "merge the enthusiasm of our education and school-to-career committees."
The foundation will be chaired by Scott Siers of Pepsico and will focus on fundraising activities to support programs that encourage young people interested in professional foodservice careers.
In accepting her role as incoming president, Sally Minier, vice president-US Dining Services for Lehman Brothers, pledged to continue the initiatives begun under Benson's term. "We want to increase SFM's value to its membership and want to expand our working partnerships with other associations, much as we have in the past year with the Womens Foodservice Forum," she said.
"With the increasing expansion of our companies into the international arena, we also want to put a new emphasis on global awareness and on training members on the subtleties of international operations—the protocols of operating abroad and the need to understand global cultural norms, customs and legal and regulatory differences."
The association presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to Dick Cattani, president of Restaurant Associates. In accepting his award, Cattani acknowledged "three formative influences on SFM and on me personally who, to our great loss, are no longer with us: Tom Lackmann, Anita Brown, and Beryl Yuhas."
In other ceremonies, Beyond the Possible President Debi Benedetti received the SFM Richard Ysmael Distinguished Service Award; NYU Director of Dining Services Owen Moore was the recipient of its Leadership Award; and Sandy Smith, vice president of corporate dining for Broadway Famous Party Rentals, received its Spirit Award. Benson also awarded the discretionary President's Award to Gary Gunderson, principal of Innovative Hospitality Solutions.