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New York, New York, December 2016 … Five top chefs and a noted sommelier from BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company, celebrated their takes on Regional American Cuisine at the legendary James Beard House in New York City earlier this month. The dinner’s theme, “A Cross-Country Culinary Adventure”, introduced a range of innovative dishes that blended a multitude of distinctive flavors, hearkening the recent joining and infusion of Benchmark and Gemstone, creating two extraordinary new resort and hotel portfolios:  Benchmark Resorts & Hotels and the Gemstone Collection

Featured executive chefs representing signature Benchmark and Gemstone fine dining restaurants, resorts and hotels were John Andreola of The Nautical Beachfront Resort, Lake Havasu City, AZ; John Billings of Eaglewood Resort & Spa, Itasca (Chicago), IL; Jenae Christiansen from The Gilchrist Club, Trenton, FL; Jason Jonilonis of Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa, Pigeon Forge, TN; and Bobby Moore from Willows Lodge in Woodinville, WA.  Cara De Lavallade, also of Willows Lodge, was sommelier for the dinner.

Guests at the sold-out event included James Beard Foundation members, executives from leading New York metro-area companies, members of the national press and Benchmark invited guests.

Benchmark has a decade-long relationship with the James Beard Foundation, which was initiated by the late Bob Zappatelli, Benchmark’s first vice president food & beverage, in whose honor the Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship was founded.  For the complete Dinner Menu and Wine Pairings for “A Cross-Country Culinary Adventure”, visit

About BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company.

BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company, is a trailblazer in the development, management, marketing and owner-advisory services of resorts, hotels, conference centers and exclusive private clubs. In addition to the company’s iconic Benchmark Resorts & Hotels portfolio, the Gemstone Collection is a distinctive luxury portfolio of independent hotels & resorts in highly preferred destinations.  BENCHMARK’S distinguished and proven reputation is deeply-rooted in core values that are focused and aligned with exceeding ownership and stakeholder performance expectations. The combined portfolios feature nearly 70 unique and distinctive properties domestically and internationally. The company leadership and valued employees are passionately committed to delivering the industry’s most authentic, enchanted, soulful, vibrant, unrivaled and memory-making experience. 

BENCHMARK’S progressive “Be The Difference” culture and values are a cornerstone to the company’s nearly 40 years of extraordinary achievement and prosperity. Many properties have been recognized with the Benchmark Conference Centers® mark of meeting excellence.  BENCHMARK, a global hospitality company, is based in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, and has regional offices in Park City, Utah; Miami, Florida; New Brunswick, New Jersey; Seattle Washington; and Tokyo, Japan.

Contact: Ken Ellens / 201-758-2864

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