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MCHA delivers ‘magical moments’ at awards luncheon in Monterey

December 14, 2023

An event at the Monterey Conference Center on Wednesday lived up to its theme by providing two “magical moments” for one of the day’s award winners.

Richard Yarnold of the Fishwife Restaurant in Pacific Grove, won the coveted “Papa Vince Award” in addition to the “Focus on Guest Experience Award” at the Monterey County Hospitality Association’s 34th annual Hospitality Recognition Luncheon and Excellence in Hospitality Awards event celebrating “Magical Moments of Hospitality.”

The luncheon and awards program has grown to be the largest event hosted by the Hospitality Association and is designed to recognize all of the outstanding individuals working in Monterey County’s hospitality industry who perform above and beyond expectation. The awards were presented for excellence in hospitality in the areas of guest experience, community service, team player, supervisor special achievement, and the “Papa Vince Award.”

Yarnold said it was hard to put into words what his two awards mean to him, “but from my heart I’m so thankful.”

He explained that when people come into the bar at the Fishwife, they comment on how nice he is and as he acknowledges them and their kindness he thinks “I can’t be a nice person if I’m not surrounded by nice people.”

But for Yarnold, who has 53 years of tending bar under his belt, his outlook colors how he views his profession and being recognized by the local hospitality industry.

“That’s exactly how I feel about hospitality and that’s how I feel about my work,” said Yarnold. “To me, it’s not a job and to have the recognition by all the people that are in hospitality makes it that much more memorable and heartfelt.”

Yarnold said he honestly cannot imagine ever retiring from bartending.

“One of the reasons I love bartending is I get people who typically come to the bar, rather than a table, they want to have interaction with the bar staff, the bartender, and I just thrive on that,” he said. “I thoroughly enjoy that and it means a lot to me.”

The highly-prized Papa Vince Award is named for Romulado B. (Papa) Vincente, a Filipino immigrant who was a legendary Monterey Peninsula bartender. Papa Vince started working at the Sardine Factory in 1970 and built a following there for about 25 years before retiring at age 85. Vincente died in 2005 at the age of 94. The award is a tribute to a gentleman who knew how to take care of people with class and kindness, both on and off the job, according to the Monterey County Hospitality Association.

The Papa Vince Award winner was chosen from the group of finalists who won awards in other categories. The Supervisor Award went to Gyan Prakash of the Monterey Marriott, Focus on Guest Experience was awarded to Eric Erickson of the Hyatt Regency Monterey, Patricia Camacho Dorado of the Inns of Monterey, and Yarnold of the Fishwife Restaurant. The Community Service award was presented to Christopher Rader of Bernardus Lodge and Spa, the Heart of the House award went to Rigoberto Pinto of the Pebble Beach Company, Effective Team Play was presented to Marina Balbuena of Inns-by-the-Sea, and the Humanitarian award was bestowed upon John Johnson of the Intercontinental The Clement Monterey.

Monterey County Hospitality Association Executive Director Krisin Horton said the 2023 luncheon and awards program had nearly 600 attendees with about 400 employees recognized in award nominations – up about 100 more than last year – for the eight awards plus the Papa Vince.

The program was presided over by Master of Ceremonies Teddy Balestreri of the Cannery Row Company. City of Monterey Mayor Tyller Williamson, Chair of the Monterey County Hospitality Association Rick Aldinger and District 5 Monterey County Supervisor Mary Adams partook of the Welcome at the proceedings. The Sardine Factory CEO and Chairman and CEO of the Cannery Row Company Ted J. Balestreri presented the Papa Vince Award along with his son Teddy Balestreri.


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