Epicurean International Associates was founded in 1998 by Hal and Norma Stayman. Until July of 2005, most of the Professional Members were selected outside the USA and included such extraordinary properties as the Ritz Hotels in Lisbon, Barcelona and Madrid; and the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo, plus Rias Gallegas in Valencia, Spain among others. Our two latest international members are the acclaimed Roly’s Bistro in Dublin, Ireland and Brenner Park Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden, Germany.
Previously selected restaurants in the United States include Le Perigord, Le Cirque and Smith & Wollensky, New York City; Tony’s, St. Louis; Chops, Atlanta; The Sardine Factory, Monterey and Café L’Europe, Palm Beach. Private Clubs, hotels and resorts are members as well. Epicurean International Associates is now in the process of considering other USA restaurateurs for Professional Membership which will be limited to one hundred founding members.
The Association consists of Directors, Professional Members, Ambassadors, and Associates - all outstanding in their respective fields.
Professional Members are exceptional individuals, men and women who are owners, directors and/or managing partners of qualified and recognized award-winning restaurants; perennial favorites in their cities, states and, often, nationally. Membership is select, by invitation only and is extended to those nominated and approved by Epicurean International Associates.
Professional Members will receive an elegant membership plaque and jeweled lapel pins for staff. Memorable annual meetings/reunions and other interesting social events are planned.
Ambassador Members are composed of those who enjoy the finest cuisine, wines and spirits, and who wish to share fellowship with the Professional Members of EIA. They will be called upon to represent the Association in their travels and will bring to the organization their valuable views as patrons and enthusiastic supporters - true 21st Century connoisseurs!
Associate Members include up to 20 members who are recognized for their exceptional knowledge of cuisinese, wines, and spirits and are invited to participate in EIA social events.
All expenses and operations have been underwritten by Norma and Hal Stayman and have been complimented by a one-time donation from the Directors. EIA is not funded by sponsors. Everyone in leadership serves as a volunteer.
Hal was co-founder and Bailli (President) of the Palm Beach Chapter of la Chaine des Rotisseurs. He was later elevated to Chief Operating Officer/Director General of the Chaine des Rotisseurs USA, a position in which he served for eight years. He was the first and only person to hold this position. Hal also was a Chevalier/Commandeur of the Chevaliers du Tastevin in Palm Beach, New York and Houston; and a Master Commander and Provost General USA of the Knights of the Vine. Among numerous awards, he received the coveted honor of the Escoffier Society "Man of the Year" award.
In 1993 he joined Distinguished Restaurants of North America (DiRoNA) and served as Director of Inspections for twelve years. Norma and Hal's company, Distinguished Dining Associates, was the exclusive and independent evaluating agency for DiRoNA for twelve years.
Hal served as Executive Director of the Florida State Turnpike Authority. He was the youngest director of a major US turnpike then or since. Later, he was named Founding Secretary of the Florida Department of Professional and Business Regulations, (Governor's Cabinet).
After serving as Executive Director of the prestigious Florida Council of 100, he was appointed Founding Executive Director for the Economic Council of Palm Beach County.
Hal was appointed a Director of the 35 member Florida Bicentennial Commission and was elected Vice Chairman, under Florida's Lt Governor, serving until the completion of Bicentennial activities in the state.
Prior to her move to Palm Beach, Norma was very active in civic affairs including serving as a Board member of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Miami Opera, United Way, Florida Fine Arts Council (Secretary of State's Grant Board), Junior league of Greater Miami, the University of Miami Business College Board and the Lowe Art Museum among others. Norma directed the production and distribution of the anti-drug film "Drugs Are Like That" for the Junior League which won the White House and United Nations award for excellence. She was President of the greater Miami Bicentennial organization, Third Century USA,for 3 years, (the largest organization of its type in America. 15,000 volunteers) She was President and co-owner of Hunt/Meyer Community Relations, a public relations firm.
Norma co-founded and was an officer of the Palm Beach Chapter of the Chaine des Rotisseurs and was Master Commander of the Knights of the Vine, Palm Beach. She is an author and editor of many restaurant guides and articles on culinary topics. She was the Inspection Coordinator for the DiRoNA (Distinguished Restaurants of North America) award program. She is President of Epicurean International Associates.
La Chaine des Rotisseurs is the oldest (1248) and largest prestigious gastronomic society with chapters world-wide (more than 100 in America).
Chevalier du Tastevin is smaller in numbers but is an elegant and exclusive wine society with an emphasis on Burgundy and Bordeaux wines.
DiRoNA is the successor to the famous Travel Holiday Award for fine dining in North America. Leading restaurants are independently evaluated and the best are selected in the USA, Canada and Mexico.
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