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Benchmark Hospitality International Names Erin Hockey Recipient
of the Annual Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship

Presented annually with The James Beard Foundation, New York

The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, April 2012 …   Benchmark Hospitality International® has announced the recipient of the Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship for 2012.  This year's recipient is Erin Hockey, a student at New England Culinary Institute, located Montpelier, Vermont.  The scholarship, launched in 2009 in partnership with The James Beard Foundation in New York City, celebrates the life and legacy of Benchmark Hospitality's first vice president food & beverage, the late Bob Zappatelli.  The annual scholarship serves as a memorial to Mr. Zappatelli's enthusiasm for the advancement of the culinary arts, and his championing of new culinary talent.  Applications for the 2013 Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship are currently open.*

"I feel very fortunate to have found my career path at a young age," said Ms. Hockey.  "With the options available in this day and age, high school seniors can feel overwhelmed with the choices as they frantically send out college applications.  I was on the lucky side of this, because my passion for food struck me at a very young age, and put me on my culinary career path.  I'm grateful for the assistance of the Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship."

"Bob would have loved Erin," said Ellen Sinclair, senior vice president for Benchmark Hospitality International.  "Her passion for the culinary arts, her interest in sustainable cooking philosophies, and her family traditions in the kitchen manifesting themselves in her career choices were all quintessentially Bob Zappatelli.  We're thrilled for her and wish her all the very best as she furthers her education and develops her culinary career."

Erin Hockey is a second-year student at the prestigious New England Culinary Institute.  Her ambition is to grow her career in the culinary arts and gain experience in the business world with the ultimate goal of owning and operating her own restaurant.  "It will be 100 percent green," said Ms. Hockey.  "I would love to support local fishermen in a boat-to-sea initiative, similar to farm-to-table.  I intend to utilize recipes from my heritage - my grandmother, great grandmother and even those passed along in our family from my great, great grandmother, for the backbone of my restaurant's menu.  I would take great pride in that."

Erin Hockey's superb academic credentials, personal ambition and financial need were all actively considered in her selection for the Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship.  Each of these would have been important to Mr. Zappatelli, and her selection is a tribute to him and his ongoing legacy within Benchmark Hospitality International, The James Beard Foundation and the United States culinary world.

L to R:   Erin Hockey Scholarship Recipient; Greg Champion, COO, Benchmark Hospitality;
Ellen Sinclair, SVP, Benchmark Hospitality

*Culinary students in the United States and around the globe can apply online through the James Beard Foundation website for consideration for the 2013 Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship.  The Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship application can be accessed online at:
or  The application process is open through May 15, 2013.

The Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship Fund
The Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship, established in 2009, is presented annually in partnership with The James Beard Foundation, the definitive culinary arts organization in the United States dedicated to showcasing American chefs' talents.  The scholarship celebrates the passion for the food & beverage profession of the late Bob Zappatelli, Benchmark Hospitality International's first vice president of food & beverage, and serves as a living memorial to his unforgettable enthusiasm in the advancement of the culinary arts.  For many years, Bob Zappatelli worked closely with The James Beard Foundation, hosting the immensely popular Benchmark Holiday Dinner each December at the James Beard House in New York City.

The James Beard Foundation provides a Scholarship Program as one of its educational pillars, to which the Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship Fund has been added.  The Fund is included in the Foundation's catalogue of nearly 80 annual culinary scholarships the organization administers and makes available each spring for students domestically and globally.  Each spring, generous scholarships are granted via the James Beard Foundation to students at many schools of note, including the Culinary Institute of America, Johnson & Wales, and Le Cordon Bleu International. The James Beard Foundation distributes resources through the Scholarship Management Services division of Scholarship America, a respected nonprofit organization that has helped award scholarships to over one million students.  

Contributing to the Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship Fund

Details include:
  • Donations should be made to The James Beard Foundation, with "Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship" indicated on the Memo line.
  • Donations should be sent to:
                        The James Beard Foundation
                        Attn: Marilyn Platzer, CFO
                        167 West 12th Street
                        New York, NY  10011
  • Credit card donations can also be made by calling (212) 675-4984.  Request “Special Giving.”
  • The Foundation is a 501c-3 not-for-profit charitable organization and will follow up with acknowledgment of donations to all donors for their records.
  • A scholarship will be awarded annually from the principal accumulated in the Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship Fund.
About Benchmark Hospitality International®
Benchmark Hospitality International® is a recognized global leader in the management and marketing of resorts, hotels and conference centers.  The company’s two distinctive portfolios of properties, Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® and Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels®, represent the finest in guest-dedicated hospitality in unique destinations across the United States, in the Caribbean and Japan.  As  a founding member of the International Association of Conference Centers, Benchmark Conference Centers® maintain the highest standards for certification in meeting excellence.  Benchmark Hospitality was launched in 1980  as an independent company and today operates worldwide from offices in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, and regional offices in New Jersey, Washington State, Japan and Chile.  For additional company information visit  To become a fan on Facebook, visit, or follow us on Twitter at

Ken Ellens
Ken Ellens Communications 
201-758-2864 / 201-951-9511-Cell

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Also See: Benchmark Hospitality International Names Kevin McGowan Recipient of the Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship; Presented Annually in Partnership with The James Beard Foundation, New York / February 2012

Benchmark Hospitality Names Taylor Amara as First Recipient of the Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship In Partnership with The James Beard Foundation, New York / December 2010

Benchmark Hospitality International's Steve Kander Receives Prestigious Certified Specialist of Wine Certification from The Society of Wine Educators; Mentored by Benchmarks Chief Sommelier, Mary Watson-DeLauder / December 2010

Benchmark Hospitality International Named A 2010 “Top Work Place” by The Houston Chronicle; Places in the Top 50 / November 2010

Benchmark Hospitality International’s Hawaii Resorts Achieve Travel + Leisure’s “2010 World’s Best Awards” List as “Top 25 Resorts in Hawaii” / August 2010

Benchmark's Turtle Bay Resort A Top 25 Hotel in Hawaii for 2008 According to Travel + Leisure Magazine / July 2008

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