Annually, The Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona honors an individual with the “Robert Mondavi Wine and Food Award”. Past recipients have included Alice Waters, Julia Child, and Magrit and Robert Mondavi.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to attend Hospitality Uncorked, this year’s event held at the JW Marriott at LA Live, honoring Sam Nazarian.
Sam Nazarian is Founder, CEO and Chairman of sbe. Per the news release: “Founded in 2002, sbe has quickly emerged as one of the most transcendent forces in hospitality, real estate and entertainment. With Nazarian at the helm, sbe has established a thriving collection of award-winning hospitality and lifestyle destinations that are developed and managed through its Hotels, Restaurants, Nightlife and Real Estate groups. With the ability to speak to a wide array of lifestyle experiences, sbe has authored a refreshing new vocabulary in hospitality through a voice that’s re-imagining an entire industry.”
The food was amazing. I can’t narrow my favorites to less than three: the Vietnamese Tacos, the Lamb Schwarma, and the Korean Barbecued Duck Roll. I did not get a chance to try the Scallop or the Sushi, but my wife Karen loved them. And all that Charcuterie on the dinner table made me pretty happy as well. My favorite wine of the evening was the Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon.
As the event is a fundraiser for the Collins College, there were terrific Silent and Live Auctions to bid on.
Speakers presenting the award to Mr. Nazarian were:
Mary Niven, Vice President, Disney California Adventure & Guest Services
Margrit Mondavi, Vice President, Cultural Affairs, Robert Mondavi Winery
Tim Leiweke, President and CEO of Anschutz Entertainment Group
Sam Nazarian’s acceptance speech about what it takes to be of service in the hospitality industry was inspirational and moving. The evening ended with a 21-Cork Salute and a Nightcap in the Mixing Room bar downstairs in the JW Marriott.
All-in-all, a great evening. Those of us who are not directly in the hospitality industry rarely get to interact on such a grand scale with those who are. I gained greater appreciation for those who are so passionate about providing the wonderful services we often take for granted.
Michael Perlis provides outsourced controller services to businesses that do not need a full-time controller. He balances this with his interest in wine: reading and writing about it and, of course, drinking it. He is still trying to figure out how to combine these two pursuits. Feel free to contact him about either at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.