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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Gordon Heiss Benefit Dinner To Promote NMSU Hospitality Program and Tourism

LAS CRUCES - As a restaurateur, the late Gordon Heiss loved fine food, exquisite dining and supporting students. A Nov. 27 benefit dinner at the El Dorado Hotel in Santa Fe, coordinated by New Mexico State University's hotel, restaurant and tourism management (HRTM) department, will continue Heiss' legacy with a five-course meal to fund an endowment in his name.

Heiss, who served on the board of directors for NMSU's HRTM department, was president of Santa Fe Dining Inc., starting businesses such as the Blue Corn Cafes, the Santa Fe Chocolate Company and the Old Santa Fe Music Hall dinner theater.

"Heiss was a huge supporter of tourism in New Mexico. The endowment will be used to bring professionals and lectures to the university, as well as help buy food preparation and kitchen equipment for the new kitchen in the HRTM program," said Terry Jones, assistant professor in the department. "Last year, we received $50,000 in donations from all over the country."

The dinner, prepared by chef Dominic Geraghty of El Dorado Hotel, features world-class cuisine and premium wines. Appetizers will include a palate-pleasing mix of foie gras empanadas and wild salmon pastrami with sevruga caviar. Diners can also enjoy truffle-infused lobster soup and Moscovy duck salad before the main entrée, roasted tenderloin of veal with rosemary and mustard crust, is served with pumpkin asiago risotto and braised savoy cabbage. The dinner will end with desserts such as a white chocolate Grand Marnier parfait, orange lemon tart and marzipan pear torte.

Tickets for the dinner are $100. A silent auction to support the endowment fund will be held during the dinner at the El Dorado Hotel. A special performance by Tara's Harp Irish School of Dance will also be featured.

"This dinner is a way that people interested in promoting New Mexico tourism and supporting the university can get involved. Plus, they'll get to meet the 'bigwigs' in the tourism industry in New Mexico, from recreational department leaders to bed and breakfast owners and dude ranch managers," Jones said.