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The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, September 2013 …   Benchmark Hospitality International, a leading US-based hospitality management company, has announced Executive Chef Bobby Moore as the recipient of the 2013 Bob Zappatelli Award for Culinary Excellence.  Bobby Moore is executive chef at Willows Lodge, a Personal Luxury Hotel® located in Woodinville, Washington, near Seattle. 

Benchmark Hospitality established the Award in 2009 in honor of Mr. Zappatelli, the company's first vice president of food & beverage and a noted chef, who passed away suddenly during that year.  The award is given annually to a member of the Benchmark Hospitality food and beverage department who best exemplifies the extraordinary spirit and legacy of Mr. Zappatelli.

"Bobby Moore is a most deserving recipient of the Bob Zappatelli Award," said Tom Garcia, vice president operations.  "He has achieved remarkable success in the kitchen at Willows Lodge and as importantly, with the property's guests and service team.  People drive to his restaurant, Barking Frog, from all over the Seattle area for a dining experience unlike any other in the Northwest.  We are very proud of his success and of his receiving this important award for our company." 

Chef Bobby Moore, who has worked in the culinary arts field since age 15, received the Bob Zappatelli Award out of a field of nominees from throughout the global hospitality company.  Though uniquely credentialed, what helped Chef Moore rise above his competition within Benchmark was his cutting edge creativity and customer service initiatives, involving all areas of food and beverage at Willows Lodge.  Chef Moore oversees the hotel's restaurant, Barking Frog, its new food truck, the Barking Frog Mobile Kitchen, as well as the Fireside Lounge, Spa at Willows Lodge and many meetings, weddings and special events held on property.

During his tenure as executive chef for Willows Lodge, Moore has put Barking Frog on Western Washington's culinary map.  Chef Moore brilliantly inspires his team at Barking Frog and throughout the property to take the best of the region's indigenous ingredients, combined with the Northwest's finest wines and coupled with superlative service, to deliver a dining experience that has transformed the restaurant into a coveted culinary destination within Woodinville Wine Country.

In addition to Chef Moore's success at Willows Lodge, he has been honored with an invitation to cook at the storied James Beard House in New York City.  He received his formal culinary training at the Seattle Central Culinary Program.

The Bob Zappatelli Award for Culinary Excellence was instituted in Mr. Zappatelli's honor to be presented each year to a member of Benchmark Hospitality's food and beverage department who best exemplifies the traits for which he was so highly respected and widely admired.  These traits become the qualifiers for the Bob Zappatelli Award, and include:

  • An intense passion for the culinary arts
  • Acute awareness of current trends in dining and consumer food and beverage preferences
  • Demonstrates excellence in food and beverage operations within their property, regionally or nationally
  • A profound appreciation for the importance of each and every food and beverage team member's contribution 
  • A willingness to go above and beyond the norm to help ensure a superb food and beverage experience for their property's customers

Mr. Zappatelli was a tireless champion of his food & beverage team and the culinary program at Benchmark Hospitality International, having held several positions within the company while developing his career there.  At each step of his illustrative career, Mr. Zappatelli served to inspire, mentor and provide vision for the food and beverage team.  

The Bob Zappatelli Award, which honors an internal culinary professional within Benchmark Hospitality, is complemented by the Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship.  The scholarship is presented annually in partnership with the James Beard Foundation in New York to a deserving student at one of the nation's top culinary arts schools.

Previous recipients of the Bob Zappatelli Award for Culinary Excellence are Beverlie Terra, executive chef, Chaminade Resort & Spa in Santa Cruz; and Mike Jackson, executive chef for Deloitte University, Dallas.

About Willows Lodge

Willows Lodge, a Northwest style lodge located in Woodinville Wine Country just outside of Seattle, features 84 luxury guestrooms, a full-service spa and high-tech

equipped meeting space.  Executive Chef Bobby Moore’s American regional cuisine at Barking Frog reflects the seasonal and organic produce found in Puget Sound, and is artfully paired with an extensive list of Washington wines.  Willows Lodge also boasts Fireside, offering a casual and sophisticated atmosphere tucked away in the lobby with an outdoor patio overlooking the expansive surrounding landscape.

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

Contact: Ken Ellens / 201-758-2864 / 201-951-9511-Cell

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