Hotel Online
News for the Hospitality Executive


Benchmark Hospitality Names Taylor Amara as First Recipient of the
Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship

In Partnership with The James Beard Foundation, New York

The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, December 2010 …   Last year, Benchmark Hospitality International established the Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship in partnership with The James Beard Foundation, based in New York City.  The annual scholarship celebrates the life of the company’s first vice president food & beverage, the late Bob Zappatelli, and serves as a memorial to his unforgettable magnetism and enthusiasm for the advancement of the culinary arts.  Benchmark Hospitality is pleased to announce that Taylor Amara of Chatham, Massachusetts, is the first recipient of the Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship.

“Bob was such a remarkable man and set the standard for Benchmark Hospitality’s food & beverage programming,” said Burt Cabañas, chairman and CEO of Benchmark Hospitality International.  “Awarding this annual scholarship in his name, together with The James Beard Foundation, is an important part of Bob’s legacy.  We’re pleased to be able to present the inaugural scholarship to Taylor Amara, who we know Bob would agree is a most worthy recipient.”

“The restaurant industry is very exiting and rewarding,” said Taylor Amara, “and this is why I have chosen Restaurant Food & Beverage Management as my major.”  I absolutely love this industry.  My ultimate goal is to become one of the finest Food & Beverage Directors in the country.”

Giorgi Di Lemis, Vice President Food & Beverage; Taylor Amara, Scholarship Recipient,
Burt Cabañas, Chairman & CEO

Taylor Amara is a junior at the prestigious Johnson & Wales University, located in Providence, Rhode Island, where she is studying food & beverage management.  Ms. Amara applied for the scholarship that commemorates Mr. Zappatelli during her sophomore year at the university.  While at Johnson & Wales, she has achieved the Deans List every trimester since her freshman year. 

Ms. Amara grew up working in her family’s restaurant where she developed a strong love for the hospitality industry.  Her excellent academic record at the high school and university level was just one aspect of her selection to receive the scholarship.  Ms. Amara also has an impressive history of volunteering for numerous social service and culinary organizations, such as Meals on Wheels, Amos House Feed the Homeless Shelter, local Farmers Markets, beach clean-up programs, and more.  At such a young age, she clearly understands the importance of contributing to one’s community.

The challenging economy over the past years has proven difficult for the Amara family’s business, and so achieving scholarships to continue her university education was essential.  Receiving the Bob Zappatelli-James Beard Scholarship will help Ms. Amara toward her goal of completing her four-year education at Johnson & Wales, which offers a highly respected hospitality and culinary program.  After she graduates, Amara intends to continue on for her Masters of Business Administration degree.

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 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 magnetism and enthusiasm in the advancement of the culinary arts. 
Benchmark Hospitality’s partner in 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.  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.
To reference “In Memoriam, A Tribute to Bob Zappetelli,” please visit:
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 independent 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.  The company’s northeast regional office is in New Jersey, with international offices 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: 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

To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.OnlineSearch
Home | Welcome| Hospitality News | Classifieds| One-on-One |
Viewpoint Forum | Industry Resources | Press Releases
Please contact Hotel.Onlinewith your comments and suggestions.