Georgia Restaurant Association

Georgia Restaurant Association

GRA creates partnership between chefs, Georgia Grown program


The Georgia Restaurant Association evolved from the Georgia Restaurant Council. It began in early 2003 by a small group of prominent Georgia restaurateurs. The council was created in order to provide an independent restaurant association to represent Georgia’s restaurant industry which had previously been served by the Georgia Hospitality & Travel Association. Established in 1977, GHTA operated three hospitality associations under one – a hotel association, a restaurant association and a travel association.

With 23 board members and five staff members, GRA represents more than 3,000 restaurants in the industry. “We serve as a unified voice for an industry comprising over 16,000 foodservice and drinking places in the State of Georgia,” said Rachel Matthews, marketing and communications manager for GRA. “GRA’s mission is to promote three key issues for Georgia’s restaurant industry: advocacy, education and awareness,” Matthews said.


In an effort to promote the state of Georgia’s culinary abundance and to truly live out its mission, GRA teamed up with Georgia Grown on an initiative to increase awareness and the use of Georgia agricultural products among culinary professionals. Thus, the Georgia Grown Executive Chef Program was formed.


“Georgia’s restaurants are increasingly planning their menus around locally grown foods, so it made sense for GRA to support this outstanding program,” said GRA Executive Director Karen Bremer.

“We are proud to support Georgia Grown as an economic development program that helps connect restaurants with the state’s top producers. Participating restaurants can ensure that they are offering their customers top-quality food products, while supporting local growers and reducing their carbon footprint.”


The program recognizes four outstanding chefs as ambassadors to promote a better understanding of the availability and quality of Georgia products. Public school culinary education and school food nutrition programs are also a major part of the Executive Chef Program, offering training and recipe development.


“The new Georgia Grown Executive Chef program enables us to further promote and foster relationships between Georgia farmers and local chefs. Our state has a great deal of culinary talent – we need to use this talent for showcasing our locally grown produce and goods,” said Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary W. Black.


The four chefs for 2013 are Chef Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene and Resurgens Hospitality in Atlanta; Chef David Synder of Halyards, Tramici Restaurant, and Halyards Catering in St. Simons; Chef Jennifer Hill Booker of Your Resident Gourmet, LLC in Atlanta; and Chef Ahmad Nourzad of Affairs to Remember Catering in Atlanta.

Are You Getting Enough . . . ?

Are you getting enough . . . . sleep, that is? 
Every morning I wake up, make my bed, and fantasize about the next time I’ll be able to get back into it!
I LOVE my sleep. I love quick cat naps, long lazy naps on rainy days, and even dozing on the couch during Sunday football. I’m not picky-I just want it. The problem is that I’m just not getting enough of it. So this week’s Your Resident Gourmet’s Newsletter is sharing the importance of getting enough sleep and hopefully helping you find ways to get more of it!

Sweet Dreams!

Chef Jennifer   


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All Sleep is NOT Created Equal!      

A restful night’s sleep determines more than what kind of day you’ll have, it also has a big influence on your health and safety!
To insure that you are getting a restful night’s sleep-you need to go through the

4 Stages of Sleep:
Stage 1:
This is a light sleep, when your muscles begin to relax. You can be awakened easily and muscles occasionally twitch.

Stage 2:

This is the official onset of sleep and where you disengage from your surroundings. Your heart rate and breathing become regular at this stage.
Stages  3 and 4:
These two are the deepest and most restorative stages of sleep. They are necessary to feel well rested and energetic the next day. Completing these stages also have Major Health Benefits.
Here are some
Major Health Benefits of Sleep:

1. Increased Energy
2. Improved memory function
3. Ability to maintain a healthy weight
4. Lower Stress (which has been linked to belly fat)
5. Improved mood
6. Better immune function
7. Decreased risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease

*The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep to reap these health benefits. Unfortunately there are 20% of adults getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night*

Health Issues Caused by

Lack of Sleep

Sleep Loss and Weight Gain


Getting 7-8 hours a night of restful sleep is vital to your health.  Let’s start with the number one thing most people are concerned with – weight loss.  Recent studies have shown that sleep loss affects fat loss.  When dieters get a good night’s sleep, more than half of the weight they lost was fat compared to losing only one fourth of fat loss when they cut back on sleep.

Lack of sleep also increases your appetite and research has found that chronic insomnia affects two of your hormones, Ghrelin and Leptiin.  According to researchers at UCLA, “Sleep loss leads to increased ghrelin and decreased leptin, a “double whammy” that stimulates appetite”.


Weight Gain and Sleep Apnea

Many people who are overweight suffer from sleep apnea.  What is sleep apnea?  WebMd best explains it “Sleep apnea briefly stops your breathing throughout the night. Each interruption wakes you for a moment, but you may not be aware of it. The result: you’re sleep-deprived despite spending eight hours in bed.”   WebMd recommends the following  for sleep apnea. ” Lose weight if you’re overweight, quit smoking, and sleep with a CPAP device to help keep airway passages open at night.”

Sleep Loss, Stress and Cortisol

Not getting enough sleep can cause irritability, mood swings and increase stress levels, particularly the hormone cortisol which has also been associated with weight gain.  Stress is one of the leading causes of insomnia. This becomes a vicious cycle.  The less sleep you get, the more your stress levels increase as does your secretion of cortisol.  Chronically elevated levels of cortisol are bad for our bodies and minds as well as our ability to sleep.

Sleep Loss and Your Immune System

Chronic lack of sleep can wreak havoc on your immune system.  Our immune system is designed to protect us from cold, flu and other illnesses and how well we fight them (i.e, the duration of said cold, flu, etc.).  Chronic sleep loss can make us more susceptible to nasty little buggers.

According to Diwakar Balachandran, MD, director of the Sleep Center at the University of Texas, ” Studies have shown that people who are sleep deprived also get less protection from flu vaccines than those who are getting adequate sleep”.


Science Daily has also reported on lack of sleep and your immune system and in one article, they talk about how loss of sleep (even 1 night) increases inflammation in the body and trust me, inflammation is not something you want as it can lead to all sorts of unpleasant health issues, but that’s a whole other story.

Loss of sleep, and even part of one night,  produces inflammation that damages tissue.   Findings by a research team at the UCLA Cousins Center suggests a good night’s sleep can ease the risk of both heart disease and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Dangers of Driving Sleepy

~Drowsy driving causes 1 million crashes each year! Resulting in half a million injuries and 8,000 deaths a year!
~Just one sleepless night can impair your driving performance as much as a blood alcohol level of 0.10!
~Up all night? Staying awake 17 hours straight slows your reaction time by about 50% compared to a well rested you!
How can you get a better night’s sleep?

Make these simple easy changes . . .

1. Invest in a quality mattress, soft sheets, and supportive pillows. Your bedroom should be your sanctuary.

2. Exercise regularly and if possible-in the morning. An early morning workout can help you sleep better at bed time.

3. Be sure that your bedroom is dark and shut down all electronics. Yes-that includes TVs, tablets, and radios.

4. Give yourself time to wind down before going to bed by establishing a relaxing bedtime routine, like taking a cool shower or reading a book.

5. Still can’t fall asleep? Don’t force it. I after 20 minutes of lying awake-get up and find something quiet to do until you start to feel sleepy.


Sleep by Ellen Olson
Health Benefits of Sleep, by Shari Fitness