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March 2013

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8th Wonder Brewery
“Entrebrewneurs” Launch 8th Wonder Brewery
For Aaron Corsi (‘09 & ‘11) and Ryan Soroka (‘11), beer is more than just a tasty beverage—these days, it’s a career. The pair met back in 2010, when they were graduate students at Hilton College, working on their MS in Hospitality Management degrees. Bonding over a shared love of home brewing, they started kicking around the idea of beer-making on a bigger scale. After graduation, Corsi became a lecturer at the College, teaching classes in alcoholic beverage production, and Soroka co-founded the popular Eatsie Boys food truck. But they didn’t abandon their ale aspirations, either. In the spring of 2011, they teamed up with Alex Vassilakidis of the Eatsie Boys, and the 8th Wonder Brewery was born. With Corsi—a member of the American Society of Brewing Chemists who’s currently pursuing his PhD in Molecular and Environmental Plant Science at Texas A&M—as their brew master, Soroka heading up front-of-house operations and Vassilakidis in charge of financials, they leased a building in Houston’s East End and got to work. On March 8, 2013, after nearly two years of planning, brewing and perfecting recipes, the 8th Wonder Brewery officially launched its first three beers— Intellectuale, a light, hybrid brew; Alternate Universe, a German-style altbier; and Hopston, a Texas IPA— in select local bars. As of now, 18 establishments in the Bayou City are pouring 8th Wonder’s creations, including The Den on the UH campus, where Corsi (pictured left), Soroka (right) and friends gathered for a launch party. For more information on the brewery and where to find the beer, click here. Cheers to the 8th Wonder Brewery boys! (Photo: Taylor Wiley)
Spring 2013 Career Fair
Hot Jobs, Cool Companies and Superstar Students
The job market might be tough, but you’d never know it by looking at the Hilton College Spring 2013 Career Fair! A whopping 68 companies representing all avenues of the hospitality industry showed up at the fair—up from 56 last semester—to recruit our students and alumni. It was the first full career fair for our new director of Placement Services, Lori Osborn, and we have to say it was a huge success! Lori got some excellent feedback from recruiters, too—some of them said it was the best fair they’d ever attended. Lori attributed much of the success to the student volunteers who helped staff the event, greeting guests, helping with registration, working the parking garage and serving as general ambassadors of the College. The day-long event also included a luncheon and keynote address by Anthony McCallum, managing director of Operations for Darden, who talked to students, faculty and staff about his personal keys to success in the hospitality business. Congratulations to Lori, her volunteers and director of Leadership Development John Trujillo on a job well done! And thanks to all of our recruiters who made this such a successful day for our students! (Photo: Taylor Wiley)
Fred Parks Lecture Series
Grape Expectations: Master Sommelier Brings Napa to UH
For wine-lovers, it doesn’t get much better than this! On March 7, a group of lucky attendees were treated to an aromatic, educational tour of California’s Napa Valley—personally guided by a rising star in the wine world—without ever leaving the great state of Texas. What’s more, the virtual trip was free of charge! It was all part of the latest edition of the Fred Parks Lecture Series, featuring Master Sommelier Drew Hendricks. While guests sampled six different Napa Valley wines with corresponding foods in the Hilton University of Houston’s Conrad Hilton Grand Ballroom, Hendricks taught them all about the formation and creation of the country’s most famous wine-producing region. Like all lectures in the series, it was underwritten by the Fred and Mabel Parks Foundation. According to Kevin S. Simon, director of the Fred Parks Wine Cellar who organized the tasting, this annual event is an extension of Fred Parks’ passion for wine and wine education, and a way to bring wine to the masses. The next Fred Parks lecture, featuring award-winning sommelier Laurie Forster, will be at the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair on Friday, April 26, 2013. Click here for ticket information. (Photo: Taylor Wiley)
Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair

Are You Ready to “Get Uncorked?”
Brace yourself, foodies: The Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair is just around the corner! Over the past 10 years, thousands of food and wine fanatics have flocked to the festival, indulging in fine wines, chef-prepared delights, and the hospitality of Sugar Land. It all starts again on Wednesday, April 24, with A Family Affair at the Historic Imperial Sugar Factory. Guests will be treated to a sumptuous feast prepared by former and current Brennan’s chefs and accompanied by 10 wines from previous kickoff dinners. On April 25, at the On the Rocks Bartenders Challenge featuring Sailor Jerry Rum, ticketholders will sample hand-crafted cocktails (and try to keep their sea legs) as mixologists battle for bragging rights. On April 26, guests can learn from the best at the Fred Parks Lecture Series with Sommelier Laurie Forster, or the Balvenie Scotch Seminar with Lorne Cousin. Later that night, some of the country’s culinary superstars will treat attendees to a major smorgasbord of mouthwatering creations and wonderful wines at The Grand Tasting in the ballroom of the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square. On April 27, guests can sample more than 300 wines, beers and spirits while they nosh on creations from more than 40 restaurants at the Sip & Stroll at the Imperial Sugar Factory, and then take in some cooking demonstrations at the Gallery Furniture Pavilion. The party wraps up on Sunday, April 28 with the Bistro Brunch, featuring live music, wine and food from around the world. Hilton College has been a beneficiary of the festival since its inception and has been involved behind the scenes, but this is the first time a team of student managers has helped plan and execute the event. Led by faculty mentor Krystal Peay, the event’s director, these students have been working hard for months and can’t wait to pop the cork on the 10th anniversary celebration. For more info and to buy tickets, click here. See you in Sugar Land! (Photos: Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair)


Experiencing the Ride at National NSMH Conference
The National Society for Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH) held their 24th annual conference in Orlando last month, and 12 Hilton College students jumped at the chance to attend. Accompanied by Associate Dean Carl Boger and Lori Osborn, director of Placement Services, the Cougar coalition included Tanisha Raymond, Malcom White, Amiah Yearby, Diana Fuentes, Ricky Barrientos, Kaylon Beck, Davine Taylor, Ricardo Rausseo, Ebony Atkins, Hien Su, Corey Robicheaux and Yesica Abrego. Held over a long weekend at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, the theme for this year’s conference was “World of NSMH: Experience the Ride.” And our students did just that, taking advantage of all of the opportunities provided by the event. They mingled with fellow hospitality students and NSMH alumni from all over the country, perfected their résumés, took in some great seminars and attended a special NSMH career fair, featuring top companies like ARAMARK, Hilton, Marriott, Sodexo and more. We know they represented us well—and had a great time while they were at it! (Photo: Tanisha Raymond)