The Colorado Restaurant Association is pleased to announce the winners of the Annual Lifetime Achievement Awards. This prestigious awards program celebrates individuals who are devoted to the idea of hospitality and practice it in their daily lives. These individuals are recognized throughout the industry for the significant contributions they made through their leadership, service and dedication to the foodservice industry and community. Awards were presented at the Colorado Restaurant Association’s Board of Directors Inaugural Dinner on October 9 at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs.
Photos can be found on our Facebook page.
This award is one of our most prestigious awards and is named for Noel and Tammy Cunningham due to their dedication to serving their community through volunteer work, advocacy, leadership, and philanthropy in a significant way. Tammy Cunningham was at the ceremony to present the award.
Epicurean Culinary Group, was a small, family owned business and which turned it into a leading food service company. Both Larry and Jill DiPasquale hold a passion for the philanthropic arm of the company: Epicurean Cares. Giving back to society by not only feeding and providing hospitality to those less fortunate, but also engaging the community with respect, dignity, and care. Years ago Noel Cunningham presented a challenge to Larry, to be a “leader of the next generation of food service professionals that give back and have an impact on the community”. Larry and Jill have embraced the adage of when much is given, much will be required and championed this through philanthropic efforts.
The Colorado Foodservice Hall of Fame was established in 1978 to honor those individuals who have served as an inspiration and example through their service and contributions to the industry.
In honor of the late Dick Ayers, the Richard P. Ayers Award for Distinguished Service is the Colorado Restaurant Association’s highest achievement award. After a long career in foodservice, Dick decided to specialize in restaurant real-estate, and he became a legend for his ability to determine an appropriate sales price for restaurants. In 2007, Dick passed away, but this award is part of his legacy of service to the Colorado Restaurant Association. The Richard P. Ayers Award for Distinguished Service is given to those individuals who have contributed and served the Colorado Restaurant Association and our industry far above and beyond the call of duty.
Steve Kanatzar has been a longtime supporter of the hospitality industry and has been involved with the CRA for many years. He served as CRA 2016-17 Chairman of the Board and has served on the Pikes Peak Chapter Board since 2005 and the Executive Committee since 2011. He has worked diligently to help the CRA and hospitality industry battle through some tough economic and political times. He is passionate about ProStart and is always amazed with ProStart’s positive impact on students.
Steve worked for Specialty Restaurants, Sea Galley, and Red Robin before branching out into owning his own restaurant. He was able to establish a series of successful restaurants over the course of 35 years. Steve’s current concept, The Airplane Restaurant in Colorado Springs, has been an icon in El Paso County since 2002. That is when he was able to combine his experience of running restaurants with his love of aviation. His interest in cooking began while earning his degree in Chemistry at CSU. “My two housemates were food chemists so we were always experimenting with food and drink. Flying planes runs in my family so an aviation themed restaurant was a perfect fit.” Steve currently serves on the Boards of the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau and the El Paso County Health Department, Food Safety Advisory Committee.