The Utah Restaurant Association (URA) has invited the restaurant community of Utah to come together for an evening to celebrate everyone’s contributions with the prestigious Utah Restaurant Industry Award. This exciting annual event took place at the tower at Rice Eccles Stadium and MCd by ABC4 own, Nicaea DeGering.
“Utah’s restaurant industry is the state’s third largest economic driver. And when we come together, it’s less about competition and more about a community of peers encouraging one another,” says Melva Sine, URA President and CEO.
The URA, a membership-based nonprofit advocacy organization, has ensured the success of restaurants in Utah, whether they are members or not. Now in its 75th year, the Utah Restaurant Industry Awards Gala is dedicated to bringing together Utah’s restaurant industry for one night to honor those who contribute to the outstanding community Utah Culinary.
“In our nearly 80-year history, the Utah Restaurant Association has always worked side-by-side with and at your service to secure the future of our restaurant and foodservice industry.
“Our sole mission is the success of every Utah restoration and restoration operation statewide. The past two years have been incredibly challenging for owners, operators, food professionals and all of our employees as the industry evolves and adapts to deal with food and general supply issues as well as to employment and personnel issues while meeting the needs and demands of our customers,” says Sine.
The nomination process
The awards are nominated by industry peers and then each award is carefully selected by the executive committee. That evening, the URA also honors the ProStart winners of the National Culinary Management Competition.
ProStart is a two-year national culinary program for high school students that cultivates the brightest talents for the restaurant industry leaders of tomorrow. The URA has administered ProStart in Utah high schools for more than 20 years, pioneering the program nationally.
“It is important to recognize the industry and our collective achievements as well as individual contributions. We love involving ProStart students because together, as an industry, we are creating a stronger infrastructure by inspiring and nurturing the dreams of our future. And our culinary future is brighter than ever.
The 2022 Utah Restaurant Association Industry Awards Gala Gold Sponsors included: ABC4Heartland Payment Systems, Sysco Intermontagne, the Utah Labor Boardand WCF insurance. Thanks to their support, these generous sponsors have made it all possible.
The remarkable evening celebrated front of house and back of house with Lifetime Achievement Award, Golden Spoon: Restaurateur of The Year, Hall of Fame, Heart of the Industry Awards, Taste Utah Awards, ProStart Awards, Supplier Recognition Awards, Workplace Safety Awards, and more.
Chef of the year:Tyler Stokes
Tyler Stokes grew up on a farm and took his first restaurant job at age 17, when he fell in love with cooking. After honing his cooking skills in Sun Valley, Idaho, the entrepreneur chef returned to Salt Lake City where he opened his first restaurant in Utah, SLC Provisions. One restaurant wasn’t enough – Tyler partnered to open the Asian fusion restaurant, Ginger Street. With a devoted following, Tyler enjoys connecting with people through food.
Golden Spoon Award (Restaurant of the Year): Jason Neeley
Southern Utah’s culinary offerings have grown over the past decade and at the forefront of this development is restaurateur Jason Neeley, the chef behind restaurants like Sego in Kanab, wood•ash•rye in Saint-Georges, and Il Posto Rosso in Moab. Jason and his culinary team are on a mission to bring culinary sophistication to southern Utah while honoring the community’s historic roots.
Lifetime Achievement: Lucy Cardenas and Bill Coker of The Red Iguana
In 1985, the Cardenas family brought to Salt Lake City their unique recipes inspired by the regions of Mexico and the southwestern United States. Lucy grew up working at her family’s restaurant, the Red Iguana, where she cooked, greeted customers and did whatever was necessary to support the family restaurant. Decades later, Lucy and her husband Bill continue to contribute to Utah’s culinary culture and honor the family tradition through red iguana, red iguana 2and Red iguana taste.
Hall of Fame Award: Blue Iguana’s Kris Capparet
A seasoned entrepreneur, Kris took a giant leap into the restaurant industry when she was offered the blue iguana in 1997. More than 20 years later, his passion for the historic downtown restaurant shines through every inch of the restaurant, from the colorful decor to the authentic menu. As the pandemic tested her passion, she could be found at the restaurant almost every day, constantly working with her team to maintain the classic dishes of her loyal fan base while updating the menu with new selections. exciting to delight customers.
Fast Service Concept Award: thirst drinks
Fast Casual Concept Pricing: ROCTACO
Casual Concept Award: At Manoli’s
Fine Dining Concept Award: The Blue Sky LodgeInn Resorts Collection
silver tray: The Salt Lake Tribune
teacher of the year: KC Gray
Student of the year: Sierrah Mower
First place: KC Gray, instructor at Murray High School
Students: Brooke Bodily, Miguel Mejia, Ozzie Gutierrez and Angel Gonzalez
First place: Troy Chilcott, instructor at Carbon High School
Students: Mikell Furner, Alyssa Ellis and Sydnie Callahan
“One of the key takeaways from the Utah Restaurant Association Industry Awards Gala is that restaurant professionals, owners and operators are down to earth people. They’re in the business of service and that’s really what they want to deliver,” says Sine.
“Utah’s restaurant community is inclusive and supportive of each other – they don’t see each other as competitors, they see each other as colleagues who seek to strengthen each other, not destroy each other. In the business world, it’s really rare, but it’s this idea of service hospitality and making everyone feel at home somewhere.
“It’s what restaurants do, it’s what they want to do, what they want to offer. Not just to their guests, but to their colleagues. An event like this celebrates and showcases this unique and special contribution.
If you crave more restaurant engagement, visit URAs websiteand you can still watch Taste Utah on ABC4 on Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. To participate in the community as a foodie fan, hashtag #tasteutah on Instagram and all social networks. For more information on Utah’s culinary landscape and more restaurant stories, log on to Taste Utah’s Youtube channel.