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Community Programs

Industry recognition, scholarships and collaboration – community connection is key to our success as an industry.

Rancho Cielo

MCHA is a strong supporter of programs offered at the Rancho Cielo Youth Campus and the facility’s Drummond Culinary Academy. The Salinas nonprofit educates underserved youth, trains them for jobs and teaches self-sufficiency. The Rancho Cielo Committee works to further strengthen the relationship between MCHA members and the Rancho Cielo team.


MCHA & Rancho Cielo

Retired Monterey County Superior Court Judge John Phillips and his wife, Patti, teamed up with hospitality, business and community leaders to open Rancho Cielo in 2004. Since then, MCHA members have donated time, money and expertise. Tourism and culinary professionals serve as mentors and teach classes. They provide resume and interview guidance, donate professional attire to students lacking in resources, and host white tablecloth dinners that introduce students to levels of social etiquette and service they might encounter in future jobs. MCHA members support annual fundraisers for Rancho Cielo, as well.

Drummond Culinary Academy

Many Rancho Cielo participants study at the Drummond Culinary Academy, completing academy-level culinary instruction while earning a high school diploma. Students learn the ins-and-outs of the restaurant business, including food prep, service, presentation and more. They cook at the center’s on-site cafe, and they also complete internships and job training at area restaurants and resorts. Local restaurants and the culinary teams at area resorts hire many of these talented individuals. Rancho Cielo graduates have also gone on to study at some of the nation’s most respected culinary institutions.

  • Employees are the most important people in our industry. Every year, as many as 700 people help us honor hotel and restaurant employees with the Papa Vince Award and other awards for hospitality professionals who provide outstanding service.

    Ted Balestreri
    Cannery Row Company
    Chairman and CEO and founding MHCA member
  • These restaurant servers, cooks, hotel housekeepers, clerks, golf course groundskeepers, winery workers, spa professionals and others are the friends and neighbors who make our community more vibrant all year long. They’re also the face of an industry that drives the local economy – and their hard work contributes to a better quality of life for all Monterey County residents.

    Marion Abaunza
    Hilton Garden Inn
  • Hospitality employees keep Monterey County’s second-largest industry going strong. Tourism generates millions of dollars in tax revenues a year, and that money directly benefits local residents. The tax dollars help pay for police and fire services, road repairs, park projects and other amenities that we all enjoy and appreciate.

    Vicki Tackett
    Folder Display Service

Employee & Hospitality Recognition

Employee Appreciation Day

A fun filled afternoon, geared towards family and friendly competitions annually at the Monterey Fairgrounds.

Hospitality Recognition Lunch & Papa Vince Award

Our annual awards program is designed to recognize all outstanding people working in the hospitality industry who perform beyond expectations.  Nominations are open to the employees of any business that is a member of MCHA, including “Excellence in Hospitality,” “Special Achievement,” and ultimate “Papa Vince Award.”

2022 Award Winners

Lifetime Achievement Award

Honoring those that have made a lifetime of significant contributions and positive influence on hospitality community, including stories that inspire others to higher standards in respective careers or community awareness.

Hospitality Professional of the Year Award

First awarded in 1983 to Cannery Row Co-Founder, Ted Balestreri, the Nomination for the Hospitality Professional of the Year award is awarded for individual’s on-going service to the local hospitality industry.

Volunteer of the Year Award

“The Hospy”: MCHA Volunteer of the Year Award 
“The Hospy” : MCHA Volunteer Business of the Year Award

Recognized and awarded to a member in good standing, for their dedication and tireless effort in supporting the mission of MCHA, enthusiastically and actively participating in various events and committees.

2022 Volunteer Of The Year

Marc Kelley of Private Public Strategic Solutions was the MCHA 2022 Volunteer of the Year. Thank you, Marc, for all that you do!

Committee Chairs

  • Carol Chorbajian headshot

    Carol Chorbajian

  • Headshot of Angela Hernandez

    Angela Hernandez

    Monterey Plaza Hotel


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