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Hotelier Jay Stein ’83 and Oenologist Dino Tantawi Honored
by City Tech

City Tech’s Department of Hospitality Management honored Jay Stein ’83, chief operating officer of Hampshire Hotels & Resorts, and Dino Tantawi, owner and president of VIgnaioli Selection, at its annual Spring 2010 Baccalaureate Celebration.

Stein received the Distinguished Alumnus Award and Tantawi received the Outstanding Industry Professional Award at the event, which was attended by most of the College’s 165 hospitality management students who just graduated as part of the Class of 2010.

According to City Tech Hospitality Management Professor Liz Schaible, chair of the department, “Mr. Stein has been an incredible role model for our students through our ‘A Day In the Life Alumni Initiative.’  Every semester, students have an opportunity to visit him at the corporate office to gain first-hand knowledge  about the hospitality industry and gain insights into their chosen career path.”

“Mr. Tantawi has been a dedicated supporter of the City Tech Department of Hospitality Management for over eight years,” she continues. “His generosity is witnessed in both his donation of Italian wine and his ability to passionately share his knowledge with students in the ‘Wine and Beverage Management’ and ‘Wines of Italy’ courses. He is a true leader who has a great respect for education.”

Stein receives award from City Tech’s Julia Jordan.

Jay Stein: Distinguished Hotelier
Stein graduated from Queens College with a Bachelor of Arts in 1979 and then received an associate degree in hospitality management from City Tech in 1983.

That same year, he started his career with Hilton International at the Vista International Hotel in the World Trade Center. After five years of extensive food and beverage management positions, he joined Doral Hotels and became the resident manager for the Doral Court Hotel in New York City. He eventually became the managing director for the three boutique Doral Hotels in New York – Doral Court, Doral Tuscany and Doral Park Avenue.

His next position was as executive vice president of operations and now chief operating officer for Hampshire Hotels and Resorts, overseeing the company’s eight hotels in New York City as well as their properties in Miami, Bangkok, India and London.  He also oversees the development of new hotel projects for the company.

Tantawi receives award from Master Sommelier Roger Dagorn, who teaches at City Tech.

Dino Tantawi: Acclaimed Wine Authority
As president of Vignaioli Selections, Tantawi has assembled an award-winning wine import portfolio. Through his expertise, the New York-based wine importer offers a distinguished, unique collection of “cult wines,” those from small producers, who bottle 5,000 cases or fewer.

Tantawi, who has been called the “ambassador” for Italian wine in the United States, has been featured in a number of newspapers and magazines. Writers and reviewers seek to discern his “wine-attitude,” “wine philosophy” and “wine experience.”

In searching out the exceptional wines from cult wine producers, Tantawi looks for those winemakers using all natural processes, combined with the perfect balance of sun, rainfall, and soil composition. A major priority in the quest is evaluating the terroir, a term borrowed from the French, which denotes the unique combination of elements that make up the personality of a given vineyard – the very essence of the site that produces the grapes specific to that location.

Tantawi brings a wealth of experience to the selection process, having tasted about 250,000 different kinds of wines over the years. He excels in blind tastings and occasionally sips a wine that he accurately identifies as having tasted years before. He brings all his wisdom and knowledge to the classes he teaches at City Tech and those he has offered to U.S. sommeliers since 1988.

Prior to launching Vignaioli Selections in 1999, Tantawi was Italian wine director for two years at Winebow, Inc. Before that, he was the wine consultant for four years with Casanova Opici Wine Group and ten years as part-owner and New York manager of Vias Imports, Ltd.

City Tech’s hospitality management program, founded in 1947, offers the only public bachelor’s degree program in New York City. Currently, 800 hospitality management students are pursuing either associate or bachelor’s degrees. Alumni include some of the New York City and the country's top chefs, such as Michael Lomonaco (Porter House New York), Michael Romano (Union Square Café) and Sherry Yard (Spago Beverly Hills).


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