Skip to main content

April 2014

Snap Shots_wrapper_580

Dean John Bowen
Dr. John Bowen to Step Down as Dean of Hilton College
After 11 years as dean of Hilton College, Dr. John Bowen is stepping down. He will continue in his position until a new dean arrives and will then transition back to the faculty after taking a much-deserved professional development leave. The Provost will manage the process of finding his replacement, with the hopes of having a new dean in place early in 2015. Hilton College is continually presented with opportunities. These opportunities have to be screened, put before the faculty and, those that do go forward, can take five years or more to plan and implement. For more than a decade, Dean Bowen has been a tireless advocate for the College. With many new programs now in place, including our San Antonio campus, he felt that now was the best time to transition the leadership of the College to the next dean, who will move the College forward over the next 10 years. During his tenure, Dean Bowen has impacted the lives of countless students, faculty, staff and alumni. We know the College wouldn’t be where it is today without him. Thank you for everything, Dean Bowen! (Photo: Taylor Wiley)
Gourmet Night 2014
Guests Get Their Kicks on the Highway to Gourmet
Order up! Leave it to Gourmet Night to take the great American diner to a whole new level. On April 5, 360 guests were treated to a nostalgic evening of food, fun and rock-n-roll at the 41st Annual Gourmet Night, themed “America’s Main Street: The Highway to Gourmet.” It all started at the Route 66-inspired silent auction, where guests sipped specialty “leaded” and “unleaded” beverages, noshed on all-American appetizers and perused an impressive array of auction items. Then, they walked through the malt shop into 41 Diner, where they were greeted by a sea of servers sporting bowties, paper hats and big smiles. While a live band—The Mockingbirds—played a mix of classic tunes and other party favorites, guests were treated to a creative combo of traditional diner dishes gone haute, fine wines and palate-pleasing spirits. The result? A ballroom full of happy hepcats, rocking out and chowing down … and a whopping $25,000 raised for the College during the silent auction! Congrats to Erin Oeser on her 10th year as the event’s executive director, her 2014 student managers and the 300+ volunteers who made this night a smashing success! (Photos: Taylor Wiley)
Chris Taylor Beverage Management
Big Opportunities in Beverage Management
Assistant Professor Chris Taylor is taking on another role at Hilton College: director of the Beverage Management Program and the Fred Parks Wine Cellar. This new position was created to support the College’s expanded beverage initiatives and to maximize the cellar’s potential. “With the beverage industry becoming a more and more important component of all sectors of hospitality, it’s important for the College to keep up,” said Dr. Taylor, whose research focus is on wine preference development and consumer behavior. With the goal of revamping the educational aspect of the Beverage Program and bringing it more in sync with industry and student needs, Taylor hopes to grow the opportunities for beverage-related internships and broaden the appeal of the beverage minor to students from other colleges at the University of Houston. He also plans to make the Fred Parks Wine Cellar an educational resource, providing learning and research opportunities for students interested in cellar management. Taylor will also be teaching one of the Wine Appreciation classes and Beverage Marketing & Management in the fall. Exciting plans for the College’s beverage program … Cheers to Chris! (Photo: Taylor Wiley)
Kaitlyn Venable
Alumni Spotlight: Recent Grad’s Swift Rise to Corporate Chef
Kaitlyn Venable always knew she wanted to be a chef. By the time she earned her bachelor’s from Hilton College in December 2012, Venable had already attended the Culinary Institute of America and had racked up quite a bit of fine-dining experience. But when it came time to start her career, that culinary dream job simply wasn’t there. “I knew I needed to work, and Luby’s/Fuddruckers was the first one to give me an opportunity, so I jumped at it,” she said. As it turns out, that was just the chance she needed. While working as an assistant manager at one of Luby’s Houston locations, she was unexpectedly approached by Todd Coutee, senior vice president of operations for Luby’s/Fuddruckers. He asked her what her goals were, and she said though she was glad to be getting experience in management, she really wanted to be on the culinary team. Intrigued, Coutee asked her to cook—first for him and later for the board of directors. Apparently, they were impressed. In August 2013, she was promoted to corporate chef—one of just three in the whole company—and now, she spends her days developing recipes and living her dream. “Every day is different, which I love,” she said. “And my time as a manager has made me a better corporate chef, so I’m thankful for that chance.” Her advice for someone who’d like to pursue a similar career? “Don’t be afraid to follow your dream, even if it seems daunting. It’s worth it. You just have to be open to all opportunities, because you never know which one could lead you to your goal.” Well said. Chef Kaitlyn, you make Hilton College proud! (Photo: Taylor Wiley)
Al Gallo Eric's Club
Welcome to the Club, Al!
The newest member of Eric’s Club is Alan “Al” Gallo, CHAE, a proud 1982 graduate and veteran hospitality financial executive. Currently, Gallo is the senior vice president and CFO of Redstone Companies Hospitality, a title he’s held for the past 14 years. His many accomplishments include being named “CFO of the Year” by The Houston Business Journal in 2009, serving as chairman of the Houston Chapter of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals, and teaching Hospitality Financial Planning as an adjunct lecturer for Hilton College’s Graduate Program. Gallo returned to his alma mater on April 3 to share his success story with students, faculty, staff and fellow alums during the 26th Eric Hilton Distinguished Chair Alumni Lecture Series. After his lecture, Gallo (seated) was presented with an Eric’s Club chair and posed for this photo with Dean John Bowen and fellow Eric’s Club members (pictured left to right) Mary Beth Moehring (’80), Bob Planck (’71), Steve Goodman (’83), Bob Cowan (’76), Doug Brooks (’75), Dorothy Nicholson (’77), Gregory Rockett (’86), Dr. Clinton Rappole, Marty Breverman (’74), Nick Massad, Jr. (’73) and Ricki Oberoi (’86). Congratulations, Al! (Photo: Michael Scott)
NACE February Meeting
‘Check’ It Out: A Record-Breaking Fundraiser for NACE-UH
When it comes to events, members of the Hilton College chapter of the National Association for Catering and Events (NACE) know the rules: Go big or go home! And they did just that at the NACE Houston February Meeting, the student chapter’s annual fundraising event. Every year, the students plan the meeting for the professional chapter, and all proceeds raised from ticket sales and a silent auction go to NACE-UH, the largest student chapter in the country. The students use the funds to send as many members as possible to the NACE Experience! National Conference, which will be held in Baltimore in July. Thanks to the generosity of the professional chapter and the extra efforts of our students, nearly $7,800 was raised—a record fundraising total and enough to send at least a dozen members to the conference! Pictured left to right are Lisa Carruth, president of NACE Houston; Adam Rineer, NACE Houston treasurer; Hannah Ballard and Diego Perez-Silva, NACE-UH February Meeting chairs; and Clara Snelson, NACE-UH chapter president. (Not pictured: February Meeting Chair Wei Syn Tan.) Kudos to the students of NACE for their extra effort … it paid off in a big way! (Photo: Steve Lee Photography)