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Epicurean Charitable Foundation - Las Vegas

Dear Friends, Supporters and Students,

I would like to thank you all for the kind words of support that you have given me as I begin my term as chairman of the board for ECF. Along with ECF President Sean DiCicco, I am honored to take on this position and follow in the footsteps of 2013-14 chairman, Kelley Jones, and 2013-14 president, Jason Shkorupa, and am excited for what we can accomplish as an organization.

I’m pleased to introduce our new executive committee: ECF Vice President Ana Marie Mormando, general manager of The Mansion at MGM; Treasurer Joseph Romano, vice president of operations for PT’s Entertainment Group; and Secretary Brent Cook, executive director of food and beverage at New York- New York Hotel & Casino.

The new year has already provided the foundation with another great event. Our Mentorship Matters VIP Appreciation dinner was held on Tuesday, Jan. 27, at the Crossroads Restaurant inside House of Blues Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. The evening was a wonderful way for us to welcome in the new executive committee and show our appreciation to the donors, sponsors, supporters and students who made M.E.N.U.S. 2014 a success. Highlights included an award presentation to 2014’s top sponsors who were in attendance including, MGM Resorts International, Southern Wine and Spirits, Wirtz Beverage of Nevada, Johnson Brothers and E&J Gallo; as well as to Feel Good Brands and FIJI Water, who were unable to attend the event.

Speeches were given by recent graduate Vildan Buric, who is now an assistant restaurant manager at TAP Sports Bar at MGM Grand, and our honoree for the evening, David Hoenemeyer, regional president of Caesars Entertainment: Bally’s, Paris and Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino. Mr. Hoenemeyer is a true representative of what ECF stands for as someone who has made his way up in the industry, starting his career directly out of college and following his passion to Las Vegas. Mr. Hoenemeyer is a charter member of ECF and still continues to give back to the hospitality industry today.

Scholarship season is now upon us and we encourage everyone to help spread the word to deserving local high school students. Our application and all corresponding information may be found at with a deadline of Monday, March 2. Last year’s scholarship recipients combined for an outstanding 4.21 GPA during their senior years and are nearing the end of their respective freshman years at UNLV. We are looking for the next group of talented, motivated students to take the first step in becoming a future leader of the Las Vegas hospitality industry.

As always, the success of our students and graduates would not be possible without your continued support. Through donations, participation in M.E.N.U.S. and other fundraising events, listed below, we are able to change the lives of young people in our community and positively impact one of the city’s most prominent industries. More information, news and updates may be found at or following on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @EpicureanLV.

All the best,

Michael Kennedy

Michael Kennedy
Chairman of the Board for ECF
Director of Food Operations for South Point Hotel Casino & Spa

  Michael Kennedy

Sean DiCicco

ECF President 2015-16
Vice President of Food & Beverage at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino


Michael Kennedy

ECF Chairman of the Board 2015-16
Director of Food Operations at South Point Hotel Casino & Spa


Ana Marie Mormando

ECF Vice President 2015-16
General Manager at The Mansion at MGM


Joseph Romano

ECF Treasurer 2015-16
Vice President of Operations for PT’s Entertainment Group


Brent Cook

ECF Secretary
Executive Director of Food and Beverage at New York- New York Hotel & Casino


Melissa Arias, Veronica Bonazza, Sophia Athen


Mike Olsen and Sujoy Brahma


Jason Shkorupa, Claudia Soler, Nachely Martinez, Michael Severino


Vildan Buric


Michael Kennedy, David Hoenemeyer, Sean DiCicco


Leizell Joy Seligbon, Cindy Ureno, Scott Blazek


Alexandria von Mohr and Aily Rodriguez


A complete collection of Mentorship Matters photos may be found here.


Facials for the Foundation

March - April 2015

In partnership with ECF, WAX Hair Removal Bar will donate 50 percent of all facials from March and April to ECF when they are booked mentioning the promotion. WAX will donate 10 percent of all Eminence Skincare products purchased from these facials.

Visit 9809 West Flamingo Road or call 702-221-4929 for more information.


Nevada’s Big Give

Thursday, March 12


ECF will join NevadaGIVES’ fourth statewide online giving event: Nevada’s Big Give. The event will be held during a 24-hour period beginning at 12 a.m. on Thursday, March, 12.

ECF will join other Nevada nonprofits for a day of charitable giving through an easy to access online platform. Nevadans across the state are encouraged to donate to their favorite charity as well as explore new nonprofits. Participants can give by simply logging on to the website, To date, Nevada’s Big Give has raised over $1,440,600 for 463 Nevada charities from 10,744 unique donors.



Where Are They Now?


Nachely Martinez

Nachely graduated from UNLV in 2013 with a major in Hospitality Management and minor in Spanish. She began her career while still in college working for The Palazzo Las Vegas as a relief trainer and then as a front office lead. After graduation, Nachely moved to The Venetian to take on the front office night audit position. Today, she is still a part of The Venetian/Palazzo team as the front desk manager. As an ECF graduate, Nachely is already paying it forward by helping current ECF students find employment opportunities within the industry.


Malek Sadri

Malek graduated from UNLV in 2013 with a degree in hospitality management. During his college career, he participated in the Human Resources Training and Development Internship at Aria Resort & Casino and then earned a position as a receptionist at Vdara Hotel & Spa. Upon graduation, Malek utilized his experience to earn a position as a concierge at Wynn Las Vegas where he has been for the past two years.


On Thursday, Feb. 12 we held our L.O.V.E. (Leaders of Vegas’ Education) event and we would like to thank all who came and made the night a success. We would also like to extend a special thank you to The Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino for hosting us. With the money raised through an evening of great company, good friends, beautiful views and exciting prizes, ECF can continue our mission to educate and mentor our industry’s future leaders.


A special luncheon was held on Thursday, Jan. 29 at Jimmy Choo inside the Shops at Crystals. The designer shoe store showed off their spring 2015 collection with portion of the day’s sales benefitting the foundation.


Congratulations to Ana Marie Mormando, who recently accepted a position as general manager of The Mansion at MGM.


Please join us in welcoming two new board members to the ECF family: David Suppe, director of food & beverage for The Signature at MGM Grand; and Mike Olsen, director of operations for Emeril’s Restaurants – Las Vegas.

Upcoming ECF Events  We hope you'll join us at MENUS on Friday, Sept. 30 at M Resort.  The evening will culminate in a private concert by Lifehouse.  For sponsorship and event information please contact Elizabeth Muto at 702.932.5098 or via email at
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