A Georgia State faculty member, a Korean fried chicken restaurant, and a sommelier are among the winners of this year’s Georgia Restaurant Association’s GRACE Awards. 

The winners were announced during a Sept. 27 reception at the Georgia Aquarium, according to a press release. The GRACE Awards are put on by the Georgia Restaurant Association each year to honor the state’s restaurant industry. 

The 2022 GRACE Awards took place on Sept. 27 at the Georgia Aquarium.

Dr. Debra F. Cannon received a Lifetime Achievement Award. Cannon is the director of the  Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality in the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University, and specializes in human resources and quality service management.  

Cannon is on the board of directors of the Georgia Restaurant Association as well as the International Society of Hospitality Consultants. She previously won the Distinguished Service Award and is a 2013 inductee into the Atlanta Hospitality Hall of Fame. 

The restaurant group Southern Proper Hospitality won the Restaurateur of the Year award. The company has 17 locations throughout Georgia and the southeast. 

Mukja Korean Fried Chicken won the Restaurateur Rookie of the Year award. Owned by Sean Chang, the restaurant operates out of Midtown Atlanta. 

Sterling Hospitality won the association’s Hospitality Hero of the Year award, while Melissa Libby & Associates won Industry Partner of the Year. 

Jose “Pepe” Fundora, the owner of Cork & Glass and co-owner of Casa Nuova Italian Restaurant, won Restaurant Manager of the Year. Katherine “Cristina” Najera won Restaurant Employee of the Year. 

Chef Elissa Oliver, an instructor at Riverwood International Charter School, won the Georgia ProStart Teacher of the Year award. Jennifer Pacheco won Georgia ProStart Student of the Year. 

Three people were inducted into the GRACE Awards Hall of Fame, including Ellen Hartman, John Harof, Mario Antonio “Tony” Fundora posthumously.

Sammie Purcell is Associate Editor at Rough Draft Atlanta.