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Utah Restaurant Association Honors Industry

Salt Lake City—The Utah Restaurant Association (URA) held their annual Restaurant Industry Awards Gala Thursday, May 23, 2019 at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center.  The URA recognized the outstanding achievements of professionals in the restaurant industry, food community and also those who contribute to the success of the restaurant industry from outside. Restaurant owners, friends of the industry, notable vendors, as well as exemplary front of the house and back of the house employees with the “U R A  Heart of the Industry” award” were among those honored. The Utah Restaurant Association’s annual award ceremony highlighted food service professionals for the last 30 years. This years winners included Chef of the Year Jodie Rogers of Deer Valley Resort. Five Seeds, Tona Sushi, The Daily SLC and Table X were among those restaurant receiving the Best Concept award. Ryan Lowder took home the coveted “Golden Spoon” as he was honored as Utah’s Restaurateur of the Year. Skyler Morris from SLC Eatery received the Heart of The Industry Front of House award for his tenured serving career. 


The awards ceremony also highlighted the accomplishments of the URA’s ProStart Program students and teachers. The night celebrated all the regional and state competition winners and officially announced Provo High School as the State champions for the management competition and Alta High School as the state champions for culinary. Provo High School’s management team competed nationally and was recognized with a third place ranking at the National ProStart Invitational. Alta High School’s culinary team placed 12 in the nation. Diane Cluff from Provo High School was honored with the culinary educator award “Teacher of the Year” award.  The URA’s school to career program ProStart® trains juniors and senior in high school to enter careers in culinary or hospitality management in the restaurant industry. Twenty-eight high schools competed in their respective regions and the top 12 teams were chosen to compete at the state competition.


“We have an incredibly unique and diverse restaurant industry and food community in Utah,” says Melva Sine, the President of the Utah Restaurant Association. “We have a wealth of talent and so many professionals that value and contribute to Utah’s busting restaurant economy. We love celebrating our food family.”, Sine goes on to say. “We believe in celebrating our food culture in Utah, from North to South, East to West. It is important to recognize the industry and our collective accomplishments as well as individual contributions. We love involving ProStart students because then, together as industry, we are crafting a stronger infrastructure through inspiring and feeding the dreams of our future. And our future is bright!”

ProStart is a two-year high school program that unites the classroom and industry to develop the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice leaders.  Under the leadership and foresight of Sine, Utah was the pioneer state for the ProStart program in 1996 and continues to feed dreams, build futures and change lives in Utah and across the nation.
The Utah Restaurant Association was established in 1945 and was formed to represent the restaurant industry in the state of Utah, helping to create community of industry. Celebrating 76 years serving Utah’s restaurant industry and currently the 6th fastest growing restaurant industry in the nation, The Utah Restaurant Association strives to present a unified voice of the restaurant industry. The industry is responsible for providing over 90,000 people in the state of Utah with jobs and is responsible for feeding over half of the population of the state. The URA also proudly offers the culinary program ProStart®, a school to career program implemented by the Utah Restaurant Association in 62 high schools throughout the state of Utah.

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