SARA to recognize LU students at dinner for state association

Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation Chairman Roger Kaplan

The Sabine Area Restaurant Association (SARA) will host a dinner on the eighth floor of the John Gray Library at Lamar University on Tuesday, Jan. 17, beginning with a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. and a special presentation by Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) Education Foundation Chairman Roger Kaplan. 

The purpose of the TRA Education Foundation is to provide educational opportunities for restaurant careers around the state. Texas’ $52.4 billon food service industry is projected to employ more than 1.2 million people this year – 12 percent of the state’s workforce. Kaplan believes the TRA Education Foundation is the go-to educational resource for these millions of employees.

“We exist to serve the industry,” said Kaplan. “We accomplish this by investing and providing educational resources and successful foodservice industry tools to our TRA members, high school and college students, faculty, restaurant owners and operators.”

As a nationally acclaimed chef for 39 years and founder of Restaurant Innovations in Dallas, which provides innovative consulting services for restaurant companies on a regional, national and international level, it is an industry that Kaplan knows very well.

The TRA Dinner will also recognize local students for their accomplishments. Dr. Molly Dahm, associate professor and program director of Lamar’s Hospitality Administration, and Chef Charles Duit, Hospitality Administration instructor, will present nine Lamar University culinary students with scholarships totaling $13,345. The students are receiving the awards based on the criteria of academics, extra curricular participation, progress in culinary classes, need and their responses on two required essays. Culinary students receiving scholarships are Shenica Alexander, Wanda Carr, Alexis Davis, Jared East, Katheryn Griffin, Kaneshia Jones, Litesha Limbrick, Amanda Shiver and Krystal Watson. Funding for the scholarships was provided by the Sabine Area Restaurant Association.

SARA hosts events and activities all year long to support scholarships for Lamar University’s Hospitality Management Program, the Texas Restaurant Association’s Education Foundation and educational and professional development for the Texas Chefs’ Association.

SARA President, Jay Jenkinson, says the Texas Restaurant Association Dinner is one of his favorite SARA events. “It’s where we put our money where our mouth is, so to say. We raise money all year, and this dinner is a chance for us to give it back to the community through scholarships.”

In addition to presenting scholarships, SARA plans to officially name the 2017 honoree for their largest annual fundraiser, Taste of the Triangle.

This year’s Taste of the Triangle, scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 28, at the Beaumont Civic Center, will honor Carlo Busceme III, president of Texas Coffee Company.

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