Restaurants have been essential in shaping American culture and solidifying America’s economic environment, but they also play an enormous philanthropic role across the United States. Among the industry’s leaders is Delaware’s own Xavier Teixido, who was recently honored with the Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality award for 2017. Teixido was feted at a gala dinner during the National Restaurant Association’s annual Public Affairs Conference at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. on March 28.
Teixido discovered the meaning of hospitality at a very young age, and he didn’t have to go far. “I learned more about hospitality from my parents than anyone else on this earth,” he said. “There was always room at our table and sometimes people would stay with us for years.” Teixido, who started cooking professionally in his teens, is owner of Wilmington-based Harry’s Hospitality Group, which boasts some of the state’s premiere operations: Harry’s Savoy Grill, Harry’s Savoy Ballroom, Harry’s Seafood Grill and Kid Shelleen’s. Revered in national restaurant circles, Teixido is on the board of the Delaware Restaurant Association, and has chaired both the National Restaurant Association and National Restaurant Foundation Educational Foundation.
The Delaware Restaurant Association and the NRAEF recognize the value that restaurants bring to their communities and honors restaurants and individuals in the industry each year through its Industry Awards program. For the past 26 years Teixido has chaired and organized the state’s annual Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation dinner, raising more than $1 million. “The Wilmington community is thrilled to see Xavier Teixido honored on the national stage,” said Carrie Leishman, President of the Delaware Restaurant Association. “Teixido’s work is a testament to what can be accomplished in our industry and the impact restaurants have on others around them.”
As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development and community engagement efforts. The NRAEF and its programs work to attract, empower and advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce. NRAEF programs include: ProStart, a high-school career and technical education program that is offered in several Delaware high schools. The award puts Teixido in good company. Past honorees include Chik-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy, Richard E Marriott and chef Paul Prudhomme. “The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation has a long tradition of encouraging diversity and inclusion across our industry and for celebrating community engagement,” said Rob Gifford, Executive Vice President, NRAEF. “We are proud of Xavier Teixido and thank him for making our industry the place to ‘Feed Dreams and Build Futures.’”