Gerry Fernandez is founder and president of The Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance (MFHA). Fernandez founded MFHA in 1996 while employed as a national account manager at Minneapolis-based General Mills, Inc. He began his research and development career with General Mills in 1992. Before joining General Mills, Fernandez spent more than 10 years as a senior manager for restaurant company RARE Hospitality, Inc. (now owned by Darden), which is known for such fine – dining concepts as The Capital Grille, Hemenway’s Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar, and The Old Grist Mill Tavern.
Fernandez currently is a trustee of Johnson & Wales University, a member of the board of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, and an industry representative for the National Restaurant Association. He is an active member of the Women’s Foodservice Forum, the American Culinary Federation, Meeting Professionals International, the American Society of Association Executives, and founding member of the Research Chefs Association. He also is a life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and a member of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs, National Council of La Raza, and National Association of Black Meeting Planners.
Fernandez has received numerous awards such as the Fathering Hall of Fame in 1996 from the National Center for Fathers and General Mills’ “Champion’s Award” in 1997. He was the first recipient of MFHA’s Ernest Henry Royal “Pioneer Award,” a recipient of Nation’s Restaurant News’ “Innovator of the Year” award, and was named a “Rising Star” by Restaurant Hospitality magazine in 1998.
He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Foodservice Management and Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI. In addition, he holds an honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from Johnson & Wales University.