The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association honored some of the hospitality industry’s best on Feb. 18 at its Taste of North Carolina event at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill.
One of the six awards presented went to Roy Durham, an employee of Raleigh-based Rocky Top Hospitality, who was named “Restaurant Employee of the Year.”
Durham is the head line cook at Rocky Top. His responsibilities include catering numerous events and working each University of North Carolina home football game.
“There are hospitality employees who see their role as simply a job. Rocky Top Hospitality’s Roy Durham isn’t one of them,” reads a NCRLA statement. “Customers and co-workers say that Durham handles his responsibilities with enthusiasm, dedication and dependability, even as he was encountering personal adversity. Durham blew out his knee a few years back, yet continued to come to work each day with a positive, can-do attitude. The ultimate example of Durham’s dedication, according to his employers, is the fact that he remains a line cook by choice. Durham has been offered a chef’s position, but has chosen to remain committed to the position he loves.”
Greensboro’s Christina Larson won the Griff and June Glover Award for Distinguished Service.
Larson is drector of Operations for LongHorn Steakhouse, part of Darden Inc. She is responsible for operations in North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee.
A graduate of Florida State University, Larson has been a leader in the restaurant industry for more than 25 years. In addition to her work with Darden, Christina has also worked with Applebee’s and KFC. She has volunteered at agencies like Guilford County Schools’ Junior Achievement and has been active with NCRLA since 2005.
Greg Hatem of Empire Eats in Raleigh was named Restaurateur of the Year. Ron Morin, owner of Grove Park Inn in Asheville, won the Lodging Operator of the Year award. The Hospitality Supplier of the Year honor went to Alan Hilton’s Concord-based S&D Coffee. Megan Quesenberry of Charlotte’s Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge was named the Lodging Employee of the Year award.
“The 2013 Industry Award winners demonstrate the best of North Carolina’s Hospitality Industry,” said NCRLA Chairman of the Board Brad Hurley, who replaced outgoing Chair Christina Larson.