NEW YORK CITY, N.Y., Feb. 18, 2011 /New York Netwire/ — Electrolux Professional will be the chair and title sponsor in celebrating diversity at the BCA’s 18th Annual Gala and Cultural Awareness Salute March 12th,, 2011, at the New York Marriott Marquis. Supporting corporate sponsors include Hobart, Marriott, Restaurant Associates-Compass, Food Network, Sodexo, Beam Global, Tyson Foods and Irinox among other supporters at this trademark annual event focused on increasing diversity awareness and advancement in the industry.

“Our support of the BCA affords us the opportunity to ‘walk the talk’ and I believe the BCA will make the Industry stronger by focusing on career opportunities in the industry,” comments Mark Whalen, Senior Vice President of Global Accounts.

BCA will also honor role models and leaders at the annual black tie Cultural Awareness Salute. Honorees include: Bernard Carmouche, Culinary Director of Chef Emeril’s Homebase and Corporate Headquarters, South African Restaurateur Mark Moodley and Internationally recognized Jamaican Chef Anthony Miller. The evening will also include special presentations by the Food Network, and the South African Consulate.

Now in its 18th year, the BCA’s Cultural Awareness Salute honors the achievements of people of color in the hospitality and culinary business, provides a space for industry networking and dialogue about the advancement of diversity, and gives culinary students from around the country the opportunity to cook alongside nationally renowned chefs Season Six Top Chef Ron Duprat, Sodexo Executive Chef Tim Pitts, Restaurant Associates-Compass-Compass Chefs Marc Payeros and Rolando Rivera and BCA Chef de Cuisine coordinators.

The gala will begin with a VIP and cocktail reception, followed by a multi-course dinner, Viennese reception, and dancing and entertainment throughout the night. The gala dinner will give a taste of the future of the industry with four courses and wine pairings prepared by students from Johnson & Wales University, South Bronx Job Corps Academy, Prince George Community College, Cordon Bleu Dallas, the Culinary Program at Brooklyn Job Corps Academy, Hudson County Community College, Foodservice Training Academy of NJ, Star Academy of NY, William Grady High School, Culinary Training Institute, Newark Vocational High School, the Academy of Vocational Careers, the University of Northern Texas, and the Culinary Institute of America.

“Students from different schools and different backgrounds come together in the same kitchen and cook in a non-competitive environment,” says Alex Askew, President of BCA. “Those of us who attend are honored to witness the promise of future leaders and work together towards a more diverse industry.”

Tickets for the BCA’s 18th Cultural Awareness Salute are $200 per person ($300 per person for the VIP reception) and are available by contacting BCA at (212) 643-6570 or via online ticketing at the BCA website: . Event start 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET.