AUBURN, Ala.—On April 10, the hospitality industry’s finest gathered at The Hotel at Auburn University for the annual Auburn University Hospitality Gala, which brought some of the country’s and world’s top chefs and winemakers to Auburn. The Hospitality Gala is a fundraiser organized solely by the students of Auburn University’s Hospitality Management Program in partnership with executives of the Capella Hotel Group. This year’s event raised more than $230,000 for the program. Niki Leondakis, CEO of Commune Hotels and Resorts, received the 2014 Horst Schulze Award for Excellence in Hospitality.
Chefs Shaun Hergatt (Juni), Jose Chesa (Ataula), Dallas Marsteller (executive pastry chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead), Rob McDaniel (SpringHouse Restaurant and winner of Iron Chef America 2012), David Bancroft (Acre), and Leonardo Maurelli (Central) created delicious dishes that were paired with Taittinger Champagne and wines from Montes Vineyards and Quintessa. Winemakers Dominic and Amy Chappellet (Chappellet Wines), Emmanuel Kemiji (a master sommelier, founder of Miura Vineyards in California and owner of Clos Pissarra in Priorat, Spain), and Andrew Phipps (Phipps Family Cellars) were on-hand during the reception to provide samples of their celebrated wines and champagnes and to answer questions about the winemaking process.