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Three Benchmark Hospitality Chefs Preparing Holiday
Dinner at James Beard House in New York 
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New York, October 31, 2005 - Executive Chefs from three Benchmark Hospitality International inns & resorts have been invited to cook at the renowned James Beard House in New York on Thursday, December 29, 2005. 

The chefs include Scott Lahey, executive chef at North Maple Inn of Basking Ridge, New Jersey; Anthony Loos, executive chef and director of food & beverage at The Founders Inn of Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Konrad Meier, executive chef at Lansdowne Resort of Leesburg, Virginia, near Washington, DC.  Lansdowne's Sommelier, Mary Watson, will assist.

The five-course Benchmark Holiday Dinner begins at 7:00 p.m. with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres and dinner will be served at 8:00 p.m.  Reservations can be arranged by calling The James Beard House at 212-627-2308 and are $90 per person for members of the James Beard Foundation and $115 per person for the general public. 

"It is an honor to be invited to cook at the James Beard House," said Bob Zappatelli, Benchmark's corporate food & beverage director and general manager of The Founders Inn.  "To have chefs from three of our properties invited to cook by the definitive culinary arts organization in the United States, the James Beard Foundation, is extremely gratifying and rewarding.  We are anticipating an exquisite evening!"

Mildred Amico, program director for The James Beard Foundation, which is housed in the Beard House, stated, "December is an enormously popular month for dinners at The James Beard House.  We're billing this as The Benchmark Holiday Dinner, playing on the double meaning, in this case, for 'Benchmark'."  Amico went on to say, "We look forward to a wonderful evening and to Benchmark's chefs setting a new standard in holiday dining." 

The James Beard House, located at 167 West 12th Street in Greenwich Village,  was home to the Dean of American Cookery, James Beard, from 1976 until his death at 81 in 1985.  The prolific Beard, who established cooking schools and published over 20 important cookbooks, many of which are still in print, left a legacy of culinary excellence and integrity to generations of home cooks and professional chefs. His name remains synonymous with American cuisine.

The dinner menu includes:

The Benchmark Holiday Dinner Menu

Reception Hors d'oeuvres
Wild Salmon Rillettes with Sturgeon Caviar
Inside Out Ponzu Marinated Tuna Won Ton
Mission Fig and Gorgonzola Strudel
Anise Scented pork Cheeks with Pineapple
Wine
2004 Matanzas Creek, Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County
2004 Matanzas Creek, Merlot, Sonoma County

First Course
Truffled Diver Scallop on Long Island Brussels Sprout Petals with Red Beet Syrup
Wine
2003 La Crema, Chardonnay, Russian River, Sonoma

Second Course
Cassoulet Terrine "En Gelee"
Wine
2003 Hartford, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 

Third Course
Twice the Foie Gras
Wine
2003 Kendall-Jackson, Late Harvest Chardonnay, California 

Fourth Course
Yangarra Braised Beef Short Ribs with Celeriac Rosti
And Salsify Crepinette
Wine
2002 Yangarra Estate, GSM, McLaren Vale, Australia 

Fifth Course
Pumpkin Chiboust with a Pumpkin Seed Honey Tuile, Maple Scented Panna Cotta
on a Spiced Biscuit, and a Quenelle of Cinnamon Ice Cream on a
Hazelnut Florentine
Wine
2003 Cambria, Late Harvest Viognier Santa Maria Valley, California

Meet the Chefs

Scott Lahey is Executive Chef of North Maple Inn in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, and the property's signature restaurant, Cuisine.  Mr. Lahey has served as executive chef for such prestigious organizations as JP Morgan Chase in New York City and the United Nations, where he oversaw a culinary operation that served UN delegates, Ambassadors and special guests.

He was previously chef tournant at the famed Peacock Alley at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York and, in 1996, was selected by the Atlanta Olympic task force to supervise the Garde Manger department for the Olympics, serving all Olympic events at the Atlanta Hilton throughout the international sporting event.  He later was appointed sous chef at the Millennium Hilton in New York.  He also previously served as sous chef in charge of Oscar's at the Waldorf=Astoria.

Mr. Lahey is the recipient of numerous prestigious culinary awards and honors.  He has been inducted into the renowned global gastronomic organization, the Confrerie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs.  Lahey has received the APEX Gold & Silver Awards from the Convention Industry Association and the Copper Skillet Award (US Champion) from the International Association of Conference Centers.  

Scott Lahey is a former commissioned officer in the United States Army, and served in Desert Storm as a Captain in command of a 212-paratrooper company.  Mr. Lahey holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Norwich University, located in Northfield, Vermont, and a culinary degree from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.  

Executive Chef Anthony Loos of The Founders Inn of Virginia Beach, Virginia, oversees the culinary program for the award-winning property, including the hotel's highly respected Swan Terrace restaurant.  Mr. Loos is also the Inn's food & beverage director.  Chef Loos was previously executive sous chef at Lansdowne Resort of Leesburg, Virginia.

Loos has cooked at the famed Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Virginia, under the direction of renowned chef Patrick O'Connell; for Galileo in Washington, DC, under the guidance of chef Roberto Donna; and as executive chef at the Red Fox Inn in Middleburg, Virginia.

Anthony Loos is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, located in Hyde Park, New York.  

Executive Chef Konrad Meier is in charge of the culinary program for the signature Lansdowne Resort, the Washington D.C. region's premier resort.  Lansdowne Resort offers four restaurants, including Lansdowne Grille, the award-winning steakhouse.  At Lansdowne, Meier has developed a unique teaching and demonstration program extremely popular with the resort's guests, and has also created the Culinary University program, which is an intimate look at varying styles of cuisine. 

Chef Meier has a distinguished background in the culinary arts, having worked at fine restaurants and hotels throughout the United States and abroad. He has been executive chef at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.  Prior to this, he was executive chef at the Mid-America Club in Chicago and served in various culinary positions at both the Pittsburgh Vista Hotel and the Boston Vista International Waltham. 

Chef Meier received his formal culinary training from the Culinary Institute, Lübeck, Germany, and served an apprenticeship at the Historische Weinstuben Restaurant, Lübeck, Germany, during his three-year program at the Culinary Institute. 

The James Beard Foundation (www.jamesbeard.org), based in New York City, is the definitive culinary arts organization in the United States dedicated to showcasing American chefs' talents.  It is named after the great American chef, Dean of American Cooking, and Father of American Gastronomy, James Beard, who authored over 20 cookbooks and hundreds of articles, many of which are still in print.  Beard appeared on network television's first cookery program in the 1940s and established a renowned cooking school.  The Foundation and The James Beard House, where chefs from around the world showcase their talents, are situated in Manhattan in Beard's original townhouse home, located in Greenwich Village. 

The mission of The James Beard Foundation is to celebrate, preserve, and nurture America's culinary heritage and diversity in order to elevate the appreciation of the nation's culinary excellence.  The Foundation is a national not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. According to the James Beard Foundation, all performing artists deserve a great stage:  Musicians have Carnegie Hall; Opera singers have The Metropolitan Opera House; and Chefs, Winemakers and Cookbook Authors have The James Beard House.  More than 20 dinners, lunches and workshops are held each month at The James Beard House to showcase culinary artists from America and around the world. 

Benchmark Hospitality International, an independent hospitality management company based in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, operates resorts, conference centers and hotels both domestically and internationally. For locations of Benchmark Hospitality properties and for additional information, visit Benchmark's Website at www.BenchmarkHospitality.com.

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Contact:

Benchmark Hospitality International
The Woodlands (Houston), Texas
www.benchmarkhospitality.com 

Ken Ellens 
Ken Ellens Communications
201-758-2864 / 201-758-2865-Fax
KenEllens@aol.com 

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Also See: Scott Lahey Appointed Executive Chef for the North Maple Inn, Basking Ridge, New Jersey / October 2003
Anthony Loos Appointed Director of Food & Beverage at The Founders Inn in Virginia Beach, Virginia / July 2005

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