Cheryl Kahn-Brocco Joins Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group 

Cheryl Kahn-Brocco joins Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group as senior vice president of catering. She will oversee the private dining venues available nationwide at each of the eight iconic locations owned and operated by Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group.

“In welcoming an event executive with Cheryl’s pedigree at the national level we ensure that though the private dining experience is as distinctive as each of our restaurants, Smith & Wollensky maintains a consistent commitment to superior, tailored special occasions,” says Michael Feighery, president of Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group.

“We are dedicated to exceeding guest expectations—whether hosting a private dinner for six in Boston, a corporate function for 200 in Miami, or a cocktail reception for 600 in Chicago. With her extensive hospitality experience and demonstrated passion for impeccable customer service, Cheryl is a perfect fit and welcome addition to the Smith & Wollensky family.”

A graduate of the Hotel College at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, Kahn-Brocco started her career as a management trainee for The Hyatt Corporation on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. She joins Smith & Wollensky from The Glazier Group, where she served as director of catering for 21 years, overseeing one-of-a-kind events for all of the company’s properties.

Kahn-Brocco’s many accomplishments include being chosen by the White House staff to plan and organize all the food and beverage for the first family during the Republican National Convention in 2004, as well as landing all of the off-premise catering for the entire two-week Hasbro Toy show.

In 2009 she was selected as a board member for the International Special Events Society. Kahn-Brocco has appeared on the Food Network, BBC Network and CBS News with Katie Couric. Manhattan Bride, New York Magazine, BizBash, Real Simple Magazine and theNew York Times have reported her special advice. She was a guest speaker at the National Association of Catering Executives conference in North Carolina in 2009.

“It is an honor to have been chosen to lead the extraordinary team of private events managers helping to create unforgettable dining experiences at each Smith & Wollensky location,” says Kahn-Brocco. “With their highly trained staff, exceptional event spaces, award-winning wine lists and mouthwatering menus, I cannot imagine a better place to further my passion for planning and executing flawless events.”

Maeve O’Gorman Takes The Wine Director Helm at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Barveteran restaurateur Maeve O’Gorman Pesquerahas been named national director of wine for the company.

Founded in 1998 in Newport Beach, California,Fleming’s has set itself apart from other fine dining steakhouses with a wine program that is renowned for its depth and innovation. The role of director of wine was previously held for 12 years by Marian Jansen op de Haar, who has recently founded a consulting firm, Vines 57, in Napa Valley, California. 

“Maeve embodies true passion and excellence that is at the very heart of Fleming’s success,” says op de Haar.  “She has the deep knowledge and love of wine that will keep the Fleming’s wine program among the very best.”

As director of wine, Pesquera will oversee Fleming’s award-winning wine program, highlighted by the Fleming’s 100, the collection of 100 wines served by the glass, all also available by the taste, flight or bottle.  Pesquera also will be responsible for the alcoholic beverage program companywide. 

“Maeve has been one of our most successful operating partners over the past eight years and her many accomplishments speak for themselves,” says Skip Fox, president of Fleming’s.  “In her new role, she will be working in a unique collaboration with our operations, marketing, culinary and training leadership, as well as our restaurant partners and wine managers throughout the country.”

According to Fox, Pesquera has excelled in the development of myriad associates who have gone on to become successful managers and partners for the company in addition to running one of the most highly-rated Fleming’s in the country.

Pesquera has been recognized as Fleming’s partner of the year three times, and has been a leader among her peers of many regional and corporate initiatives and projects. Additionally, her tireless efforts on behalf of her community and various charitable endeavors are well known and highly lauded throughout Houston. 

Pesquera attended the Conrad Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management at the University of Houston, where she remains a guest lecturer and mentor to students and graduates seeking careers in the hospitality industry. 

Prior to joining Fleming’s, Maeve served as general manager of Anthony’s Restaurant for nine years, working with the legendary Houston restaurateur, Tony Vallone. 

Kevin Zraly To Receive the 2011 James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award

The James Beard Foundation announces thatKevin Zraly, renowned wine educator, author of the best-selling Windows on the World Complete Wine Course book and former James Beard Award winner, has been named the recipient of the 2011 James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.

Each year, this award is bestowed to those whose lifetime body of work has had a positive and long-lasting impact on the way we eat, cook and/or think about food in America.  Zraly will be honored at this year’s James Beard Foundation Awards, the nation’s most prestigious recognition program honoring professionals in the food and beverage industries, taking place on Monday, May 9, 2011 at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City. 

“The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes passion, inspiration, and a commitment to doing good work that go beyond any individual’s contribution,” says Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation.

“Kevin is a perfect example of the core values that underlie the James Beard Foundation in action,” she adds. “One of the country’s foremost wine educators, Kevin has been instrumental in launching the careers of some of the country’s most esteemed wine professionals working today. His wit, passion for wine education and ability to make the often-complicated world of wines accessible to others is unequaled.” 

“To be recognized as this year’s James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award winner is such a tremendous honor,” says Zraly.  “I’ve had the opportunity to work with, educate and befriend so many talented people over the past four decades, and even had the pleasure of enjoying a glass of wine or two with James Beard himself on several occasions. 

“To me, this award represents the past, present and future of the wine industry, and I am accepting this honor on behalf of my colleagues and mentors who paved the way and helped get me to where I am today and also toast the next generation of sommeliers, wine writers and educators and wine enthusiasts to come.”

Industry News, Philanthropy