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NM’s top restaurant awards

outbackpizzaALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico Restaurant Association has named Pat Hafner of New Mexico’s Outback Steakhouse restaurants its Restaurateur of the Year and given its Restaurant Neighbor of the Year to Bill Scott and Jon Patten of Dion’s throughout the state.

The winners were revealed at the Hospitality Industry Awards dinner that drew more than, 450 people on Sept. 8 at Hotel Albuquerque.

Chef of the Year went to Chloe Winters of Adobe Rose Restaurant in Artesia.

Manager of the Year was won by Sean Montano and team from Monroe’s in Albuquerque.

Employee Excellence Awards went to:

— Fernando Flores from Jinja Bistro (Santa Fe)

— Omar Rios from Garcia’s Kitchen (Albuquerque)

— Danielle Dotson from Il Piatto (Santa Fe)

— Andrew Roy from Il Piatto (Santa Fe)

— Jackie Smith from Del’s Restaurant (Tucumcari)

The program also included awards for New Mexico’s ProStart Program which is administered by the Hospitality Industry Education Foundation (HIEF). The ProStart Program is a high school curriculum that teaches culinary, management and hospitality education in 35 high schools in New Mexico.

The ProStart Teacher of the Year for 2014 was Glenda DePaula from Pojoaque High School. Gadsden High School was recognized as the 2014 Culinary Team and Sliver High was recognized as the 2014 Management Team.

As an arm of The NM Restaurant Association, HIEF awarded $16,000 in scholarships to 10 students pursuing a career in hospitality this year.

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