The word Beacon symbolizes many things including a person that illuminates or inspires. 

The Beacon Award, presented on behalf of The Foodservice Council for Women and The Food Shows, was created to recognize a woman leader who has truly served as a Beacon for our industry through her leadership, contributions, and inspiration. 

2018's beacon award recipient

Dominique Crenn, Chef/Co-Owner, Atelier Crenn

Dominque Crenn's parents had a strong influence on her love for the culinary arts - she began her formal training upon moving to San Francisco in 1988 to work at Stars. In 2011, Crenn opened Atelier Crenn where her "poetic culinaria" earned one Michelin Star in 2011, and is second the following year. 

Crenn was awarded World's Best Female Chef in 2016 by San Pellegrino's 50 Best and in 2018 earned James Beard Foundation's title of Best Chef: West. As an active member of the culinary community, Crenn promotes sustainabillity and equality through her collaboration with various organizations. 


*Photo credit for headshot: Jordan Wise Photography 

Dominique Crenn, Chef/Co-Owner, Atelier Crenn



Jilly Stephens, CEO, City Harvest

Jilly Stephens, CEO, City Harvest

2018 International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York Honoree

Jilly Stephens has lead City Harvest’s efforts to feed hungry New Yorkers since 2006. She oversees the organization’s work to deliver rescued food to 500 soup kitchens, food pantries and other community food programs in New York City - free of charge and focused on ensuring that high-need communities receive more fresh produce. Under her leadership, City Harvest has put in place strategic programs that address the links between poverty, hunger, and diet-related diseases within geographically defined neighborhoods of New York City while meeting the immediate need for food throughout the five boroughs.

Jilly was instrumental in the creation and expansion of Healthy Neighborhoods, an extension of City Harvest’s anti-hunger work designed to respond to the need for emergency food, improve access to fruits and vegetables for residents in low-income communities and provide nutrition education to inspire affordable, healthy meal choices. In addition, she oversaw the planning and opening of City Harvest’s Food Rescue Facility warehouse and distribution center in Long Island City, NY which has allowed annual food deliveries to increase from nearly 20 million pounds in FY06 to 55 million pounds in FY16. From FY11 to FY16, City Harvest doubled its total revenue from approximately $61.1 million to $124.7 million.

Jilly joined City Harvest as Senior Director of Program Development in 2004, where she was key to the growth of City Harvest’s nutrition education programs and launch of “Fruit Bowl”, which provides healthy snacks to children on an ongoing basis.

Prior to joining City Harvest, Jilly served as the Vice President of Program Operations at ORBIS International, an $80+ million nonprofit organization dedicated to the elimination of avoidable blindness through hands-on surgical training and education.

A native of Great Britain, Jilly and her three children make their home in Brooklyn, NY.

Carol B. Dover, President & CEO, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association

Carol B. Dover, President & CEO, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association

2017 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show Honoree 

Carol B. Dover has served as President/CEO of the more than 10,000 member Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) since July of 1995. Dover is a professional association manager, a lobbyist, a former government insider, and a Florida State University Dedman School of Hospitality graduate with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management.

After graduating from Florida State University in 1978, Dover accepted the position of Assistant Director of the Beer Industry of Florida. This position familiarized her with the rules, regulations and tax laws associated with the beverage industry – information which has been beneficial in her role with FRLA.

In 1989, Dover moved inside the halls of the Florida Capitol and was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff, Executive Office of the Governor, serving under the Martinez administration. As Bob Martinez’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Dover was responsible for the Governor’s appointments, served as his spokesperson, and represented his administration before the Florida Legislature.

Dover’s other professional accomplishments include positions at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation Director of the Division of Hotels and Restaurants, the first woman to serve as Chief of the Bureau of Fire Prevention, State Fire Marshall’s Office, and President/CEO of the Florida Outdoor Advertising Association.

As the FRLA’s President/CEO, Dover works to protect, educate, and promote the diverse interests of Florida’s hospitality industry before the Florida Legislature and lobbying against unfair government regulation. The industry represents a $108.8 billion industry, $11.3 billion in local and state tax revenue, and nearly 1.4 million employees, making it the state’s number one industry.

She also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Restaurant Association, Council of State Restaurant Associations, International Society of Hotel Association Executives, VISIT FLORIDA, Florida State University College of Business Board of Governors, Florida TaxWatch and the Florida Agriculture Center and Horse Park.

On opening day of the 2003 Legislative Session, Dover was diagnosed with breast cancer and courageously fought to beat the cancer. Dover, a native of Orlando, is married and has three children and three grandchildren. In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities including dressage riding and running.


Kelli Valade, President, CHILI’S® GRILL & BAR

Kelli Valade, President, CHILI’S® GRILL & BAR

2016 Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo Honoree

Kelli Valade currently serves as President of Chili’s® Grill & Bar. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing all aspects of domestic restaurant operations, marketing, franchising and PeopleWorks for the brand. 

Kelli has been with Brinker International since 1996, holding various positions including Director of Human Resources for On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina®, Vice President of Corporate Human Resources and Senior Vice President of PeopleWorks for Chili’s and On The Border and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Chili’s. In 2016, Kelli’s passion for operational excellence and deep understanding of the business led to her promotion to President of Chili’s. 

Edna Morris, Managing Director, Axum Capital Partners

Edna Morris, Managing Director, Axum Capital Partners

2016 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show Honoree

Edna Morris is the Managing Director at Axum and Industry Expert for Axum’s Limited Service Restaurant investments (LSR). Edna Morris brings over 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry, and served as President of several restaurant companies including Red Lobster and Blue Coral.

Sara Moulton, Chef, Cookbook Author, Television Personality

Sara Moulton, Chef, Cookbook Author, Television Personality

2016 International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York Honoree

In the past 30 years, Sara’s illustrious career has included working in restaurants throughout the US and Europe, her mentorship with Julia Child, her positions as Food Editor of Good Morning America and executive chef of Gourmet Magazine, her time on the Food Network, and current role of author of several cookbooks and host of “Sara’s Weeknight Dinners”.  While becoming a nationally recognized chef, television host, author and educator, Sara has maintained her commitment to helping women in the industry, and is one of the founders of the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance. We are proud to present this award to her.