National Award Winners
Honoring Diversity in Restaurants
The 2016 recipients of the Faces of Diversity American Dream awards represent the diversity and spirit of entreprenuership of the restaurant industry.
Archna Becker arrived in the U.S. from India at the young age of 11. Three years later she began her career in the restaurant industry as a drive-thru worker at a quick service restaurant. She continued to work various industry jobs for another decade before pursuing a career as a business executive. Becker soon realized her passion was in cooking, opening a catering business in the early 90s and a full-service restaurant a few years later. Today, Becker continues to give back to her community, by serving on the Georgia Restaurant Association Board. She has employed more than two dozen Bhutanese refugees and has an intense training program to help them learn English and facilitate their transition to the U.S..
Taylor Hoang is an entrepreneur and leader in the Asian and business communities of Seattle. She is the Executive Director of Ethnic Business Coalition, a nonprofit committed to the long-term growth, sustainability, and success of immigrant and minority-owned small businesses in Washington. Her commitment to Seattle’s minority community is unwavering and she consistently volunteers, mentors and advocates for aspiring entrepreneurs in the Asian community. As an outspoken advocate for ethnic business, Taylor was awarded the 2015 Crosscut Courage Award for Business, which honors local leaders whose personal and professional dedication is making the region more vital, equitable and inclusive. Taylor also operates five retail restaurants, Pho Cyclo Café, which she started at the age of 28, and a successful catering business, Lavender Jade Catering. Taylor also started a mortgage brokerage firm specializing in securing loans for minorities while attending University of Washington and created several businesses in Vietnam, including one to help small coffee farmers facilitate international export.
Executive Kitchen Manager
Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group
New Orleans, Louisiana
Raised by his handicapped grandmother from the age of nine, and becoming a father at age 16 did not stop Titus Perkins from becoming a community leader who now spends time mentoring and encouraging the young men and women he hires to make a positive impact on their communities. The path to his current role as executive kitchen manager at the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group began with a job at the New Orleans Fair Grounds during high school, and soon after as a dishwasher at Ralph Brennan's BACCO. A quick learner, Perkins advanced through the ranks, mastering all the kitchen positions. He was also a general manager for the Sonic Corporation for one year, before landing his current position. Through hardship and adversity, Perkins was able to achieve his American Dream by establishing a career that allows him to support his family and give back to the community.