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Benchmark Hospitality Establishes the Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship
In Partnership with The James Beard Foundation

The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, June 2009 …   Benchmark Hospitality International has announced the establishment of the Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship.  The new scholarship, which will be presented annually in partnership with The James Beard Foundation, will celebrate the late Bob Zappatelli’s passion for the food & beverage profession, and serve as a memorial to his unforgettable magnetism and enthusiasm in the advancement of the culinary arts.  Mr. Zappatelli, who was vice president of food and beverage for Benchmark Hospitality, passed away unexpectedly on May 31st  at age 50.  Benchmark Hospitality established the new scholarship with an initial $10,000 contribution.

“Benchmark Hospitality International is honored to establish this new annual scholarship program in Bob’s memory and in partnership with the revered James Beard Foundation,” said Burt Cabañas, chairman and CEO of Benchmark Hospitality.  “This is the perfect living memorial to honor Bob’s passion for and commitment to the education and mentoring of talented culinary professionals throughout his prolific career.” 

Benchmark Hospitality International’s partner with the Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship, The James Beard Foundation, is the definitive culinary arts organization in the United States dedicated to showcasing American chefs' talents.  Named for the storied American chef, the late James Beard, the mission of The James Beard Foundation is to celebrate, preserve, nurture and further America's culinary heritage and diversity in order to elevate and advance the appreciation of the nation's culinary excellence.  During the past several years, Mr. 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 the Scholarship Program as one of its educational pillars, to which the Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship Fund will now be added.  The Fund will be 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.  

Featured James Beard Foundation scholarships include awards provided by such organizations as the landmark Blackberry Farm of Walland, Tennessee, the La Toque Scholarship in Wine Studies funded by Ken Frank in Napa, California, and scholarships in honor of notable friends of the Foundation, including the Mildred Amico Scholarship, the Peter Kump Scholarship, and the Clay Triplette Scholarship.  

Each spring, generous scholarships are granted via the James Beard Foundation to many schools of note, including the Culinary Institute of America, Johnson & Wales, and Le Cordon Bleu International. The Foundation will also offer Jean-Louis Palladin grants to chefs who seek out primary sources for local and sustainably grown ingredients.  

In 2010, the Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship will be included among this prestigious list of awards, utilizing criteria currently being developed.  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.   
Details for those who would like to contribute to the Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship Fund 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. 

To reference “In Memoriam, A Tribute to Bob Zappetelli,” please visit: 

To reference and share in a special Tribute Blog to Bob Zappatelli, please visit:
The James Beard Foundation, 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, 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. 

About Benchmark Hospitality International
Benchmark Hospitality International is a leader in the management and marketing of resorts, conference centers, hotels, and Personal Luxury Hotels™.  The privately held company, launched in 1980, is a founding member of the International Association of Conference Centers.  Benchmark Hospitality is a worldwide organization operating properties in major metropolitan and resort destinations.  Benchmark's international headquarters is located in The Woodlands, Texas, near Houston, with regional offices in New Jersey and Connecticut.  International offices are located in Tokyo, Japan, and Santiago, Chile. For the location of Benchmark’s properties and additional information, visit  


Ken Ellens
Ken Ellens Communications 
201-758-2864 / 201-758-2865-Fax


Also See: In Memoriam: A Tribute to Bob Zappatelli, Benchmark's Vice President of Food and Beverage, 1959 – 2009 / June 2009



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