Benchmark Hospitality International has announced that Chris Steffich, director of operations for Eaglewood Resort & Spa, is the recipient of the 2016 Bob Zappatelli Award for Culinary Excellence. Eaglewood Resort & Spa is a Benchmark Resorts & Hotels-brand property located in the Chicago market. Benchmark Hospitality International announced the merger of Benchmark Resorts & Hotels and Gemstone Hotels & Resorts earlier this month.
Benchmark Hospitality presents the Bob Zappatelli Award for Culinary Excellence each year in memory of Zappatelli, who was the company’s highly respected first vice president food & beverage. Zappatelli had also served as executive chef for multiple Benchmark properties prior to heading up the entire food and beverage department. The Bob Zappatelli Award is given annually to a member of the company’s food and beverage team who best exemplifies the extraordinary spirit, legacy and culinary gifts of Zappatelli.
“Chris is a most worthy recipient of this honored award within our company,” said co-president Greg Champion. “Much like Bob Zappatelli was, Chris is always willing to go where we need him for a new professional challenge, or for temporary field staff support. He is an invaluable member of our team, and is also an important champion of Benchmark’s ‘Be the Difference’ customer service program.”
A long-time Benchmark employee serving at properties in multiple markets, Steffich has held director of food and beverage positions at a variety of hotels and resorts for the company, and has invested many years of his distinguished career within the culinary arts. In addition to his property responsibilities, Steffich serves as field staff support within the Benchmark food and beverage organization. In this role, he acts as a departmental expert, mentoring his colleagues, and supporting special projects and development. He shares a passion for food and beverage comparable to the legacy of Bob Zappatelli. Earlier in his career Steffich was employed by Walt Disney.
Steffich attended West Virginia University at Morgantown and Fairmont State University of Fairmont, West Virginia. He lives in the Chicagoland area.