Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality Award

Past Winners


Roz Mallet, President and CEO, PhaseNext Hospitality (Dallas, TX): Hospitality is Roz Mallet’s passion. Over her 40-year career, she has worked in almost every area of the foodservice and hospitality industry, from her first job in college as a cashier, through positions such as assistant manager, training supervisor and roles in human resources, to Chief Operating Officer of La Madeleine. Over the years, Roz has emerged as a tireless advocate for the industry and earned broad recognition for her innovation, strategic vision, financial and organizational leadership, building sustainable talent pipelines, and unwavering commitment to making a positive impact in her community.


Rick Bayless, Owner & Chef, Frontera Restaurants (Chicago, IL): His journey from Oklahoma City to Chicago is one of intense study. He has authored nine highly regarded  cookbooks,  displays  a prodigious  passion  for authentic  Mexican  cuisine,  owns  an enviable stable of award-winning restaurants, has received a slew of James Beard Awards, spearheaded a popular public television series, "Mexico—One Plate at A Time," and possesses an unwavering commitment to never resting on his laurels. Along the way, Bayless has always given back to his industry, the community  and to those in need.


Xavier Teixido, Owner, Harry’s Hospitality Group (Wilmington, DE):  Xavier Teixido began cooking professionally in his teens, and is now owner of Harry’s Hospitality Group and operates some of the state’s premiere restaurants.  He is on the board of the Delaware Restaurant Association, and has chaired both the NRAEF and National Restaurant Association.  Teixido was also instrumental in developing the NRAEF’s signature ProStart program, and organized the annual Delaware Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation dinner for the past 26 years - raising more than $1 million.


Ted Fowler, Golden Corral - Throughout a 43-year foodservice career, he has won virtually all major awards, worked every job inside a unit, and touched millions of guests through his roles as chief executive of Golden Corral and chairman of the National Restaurant Association.

“The industry has been my life. It is what I have done, it is where all my friends are,” says Fowler. “I never had a job – I just lived the dream.” Being named the 2016 Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality is especially meaningful for Fowler due in large measure to his long association with the Eure family.


Carlton Curtis (Vice President of Industry Relations for The Coca-Cola Company): “It’s a privilege to recognize Carlton and his lifetime of achievements with one of the NRAEF’s and the industry’s highest honors,” said Rob Gifford, executive vice president, strategic operations and philanthropy, NRA and NRAEF. “During his tenure with Coca-Cola and as a member of the NRA and NRAEF boards, Carlton has been steadfastly passionate and committed to improving the industry. He is a tremendous industry advocate, and an exemplary role model within the nation’s restaurant and foodservice sector.”

Curtis has spent more than four decades with Coca-Cola, while volunteering his time, resources and expertise to restaurant operators and retailers around the globe in an effort to raise the stature of the industry. He has served as Chairman of the Board of the NRAEF, serves on the Board of Directors of the International Franchise Association (IFA), is the current chair of IFA's Diversity Institute, and is a member of the Hall of Fame of the Distinguished Restaurants of North America (DiRōNA). He is an emeritus trustee of the University of Georgia Foundation and is a past president of the University of Georgia's Alumni Association. 

Coca-Cola is an integral and long-standing partner of the NRAEF. Coca-Cola has donated nearly $8 million to the NRAEF and NRAEF Foundation over the last decade. This funding has helped fuel educational programming geared towards bolstering the industry’s workforce.


Jackie Trujillo (chairman emeritus of Harman Management, a Los Altos, Calif.-based franchise corporation that operates more than 300 KFC restaurants, and several others that are cobranded with Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and A&W.): 

Trujillo began her restaurant career in 1953 and has since worked at all levels of the industry. In 1988, she became a founding member of the Women's Foodservice Forum.

"For decades, Jackie has been a pioneer of the restaurant industry, paving the way for those who follow her, especially women, to climb the ladder and assume leadership positions in restaurants and corporations across the country," Rob Gifford, EVP for the NRA, said in a news release. "Her passion is infectious and she exemplifies precisely what it means to be a leader in the restaurant industry. We're excited to recognize Jackie with the NRAEF's highest honor for all she has done to advance our mission and exemplify the positive work restaurants and restaurateurs do."

Ralph Brennan, 
Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group, LLC

S. Truett Cathy, Chick-fil-A
Robert E. Rich, Jr., 
Rich Products Corporation

Joseph K. Fassler, FMP, Viad Food Service and Hospitality

John Farquharson, FMP, International Food Safety Council

James A. Collins, FMP, Worldwide Restaurant Concepts, Inc.

Donald G. Tober, Sugar Foods Corporation
Richard E. Marriott, FMP, 
Host Marriott Corporation

Allan L. Schuman, 

Joe Lee, Darden Restaurants

Chef Paul Prudhomme, K’Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen & Magic Seasoning Blends

Dr. Morris J. Gaebe, Johnson & Wales University

Norman E. Brinker, 
Brinker International

Ted J. Balestreri, FMP, The Sardine Factory, Inc.

John W. Teets, VIAD Corp.

Dr. Lewis J. Minor, L.J. Minor Corporation

Walter J. Conti,Conti Cross Keys Inn

J. W. “Bill” Marriott
, Marriott International

Leon W. “Pete” Harman, 
Harman Management Corporation

Dr. Lendal H. Kotschevar, FMP, 
Florida International University

H. Jerome Berns, 
21 Club

William H. Edwards, 
Hilton Hotels Corporation

Thad Eure, Jr., 
The Angus Barn

Patrick L. O’Malley, 
Canteen Company

Donald R. Keogh, 
The Coca-Cola Company