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Spotlight on Hospitality: March hospitality event celebrates community with local chef collaboration

February 14, 2024

On March 1, accomplished chefs from several local businesses will take center stage at the Monterey Marriott. Together, they’ll create a multi-course meal highlighting Monterey County ingredients. The collaboration headlines A Night of Gold, an awards gala and fundraiser presented by the Monterey County Hospitality Association (MCHA).

While the annual event raises funds for advocacy, education and employee recognition programs serving hospitality professionals, it will also spotlight the industry’s community-minded spirit.

“There is a support structure for hospitality professionals here. Whether we’re celebrating accomplishments or going through challenges like COVID, we come together to help each other out,” says Alvarado Street Brewery Culinary Director Brian Parks, an MCHA board member and committee event organizer spearheading the chef line up. 

In addition to showcasing local culinary talent, this year’s gala recognizes two hospitality professionals for their service and commitment to the industry. Mark Watson, Inns-by-the-Sea general manager, will be named MCHA’s Hospitality Professional of the Year. Pebble Beach Company Co-Chairman Bill Perocchi will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Through this year’s culinary collaboration and awards, we’re showcasing the gold standard of hospitality,” says Marriott Monterey General Manager Stefan Lorch, MCHA’s 2024 board chair. “This event celebrates the work that hospitality professionals do day in and day out. At the same time, it raises funds to connect our members with phenomenal educational resources, networking opportunities and advocacy efforts.”

In addition to dinner, drinks and live music by Monterey Jazz Festival-headlining artists, the evening will feature raffle prizes and live and silent auction packages. Donations support a range of MCHA initiatives, including government affairs outreach, professional development workshops, employee recognition events, and educational opportunities offered together with California State University Monterey Bay, Monterey Peninsula College and the California Restaurant Association, and other partners.

Chef Hollie Jackson of H Jackson Events is working with Parks to coordinate the March culinary collaboration, featuring: Chef John Silva (Monterey Marriott), Chef Todd Fischer (The Meatery | Bear & Flag), Ron Mendoza (Ad.Astra Bread Co.), Chef Kurt Boucher (Montrio Bistro), Gian Pepe (Vesuvio | Little Napoli), Chef de Cuisine Alvin Quinoa (Alvarado Street Brewery & Bistro), Chef Mariah Jernberg-Briggs (Sierra Mar Restaurant at Post Ranch Inn).

“Focusing on the ‘Art of Hospitality,’ we set out to showcase the region’s culinary diversity this year. The format enabled us to invite various chefs from throughout the region, representing properties large and small from Big Sur to Salinas. As a new member, getting involved in the Gala committee has really reinforced in my mind just how much the community has to offer. I hope this event brings that to light,” she adds. 


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