ST. PAUL, Minn., Feb. 24 /PRNewswire/ — Members of the Minnesota Restaurant Association (MRA) and Minnesota Hotel & Lodging Association (MH&LA) have named their first-ever Restaurateur of the Year and Hotelier of the Year.
The MRA named longtime chef John Schiltz of the Lake Elmo Inn as its 2006 Restaurateur of the Year, and the MH&LA named Jim Waldvogel of the Crowne Plaza Northstar Hotel as its Hotelier of the Year. The honorees were recognized by their industry peers at the Creme de la Creme fundraising event on February 20. This event was to raise money for the Hospitality Minnesota Education Foundation and the Toby Landgraf Hospitality Scholarship Program. Both organizations prepare and promote the next generation of the hospitality workforce.
RESTAURATEUR OF THE YEAR: JOHN SCHILTZ, LAKE ELMO INN
In high school, John Schiltz began working at the Lake Elmo Inn as a dishwasher and cook. Today, he owns the restaurant. After stints at restaurants in Colorado, San Francisco, Kansas City and Fort Worth, Schiltz made his way back to Minnesota, where he helped open the Hyatt Minneapolis as the Executive Sous Chef. In 1982, he was promoted to Executive Chef at the Hyatt in Des Moines. He was back in Minneapolis for a wedding when he heard the news that his former boss at the Lake Elmo Inn had put the restaurant up for sale. The next day, he bought the business.
“I’m very honored. I hold this particular award, awarded by my peers, dear to my heart,” Schiltz said.
HOTELIER OF THE YEAR: JIM WALDVOGEL, CROWNE PLAZA NORTHSTAR HOTEL
He wanted to be a Certified Public Accountant, but once he sat behind a desk with his adding machine and sharpened pencils, Jim Waldvogel knew the life of a CPA wasn’t for him. After graduating from Marquette University, he was offered a management trainee position with Holiday Inn Worldwide in Chicago. The experience rekindled his passion for hospitality, and Jim set a goal to become a general manager. Five years and six different positions later, he was appointed to his first GM job. After 14 years with Holiday Inn, Jim was hired as the general manager of the Crowne Plaza Northstar Hotel, where he improved profitability by $1 million in the first year.
Waldvogel said he was excited the MH&LA was doing something for the foundation. “I want to thank everyone for coming to help fund the Association’s education foundation,” he said. “These are our next generation of leaders.”
The associations also honored two area companies. Appert’s Foodservice was named the Minnesota Restaurant Association Allied Vendor of the Year, and the Superior/McGarvey Coffee Company was named the Minnesota Hotel & Lodging Association Allied Vendor of the Year.
For more information, visit http://www.hospitalitymn.com/ .