• Holiday Inn Express & Suites Minneapolis-Downtown’s Asha Hassan Receives Meet Minneapolis’ ‘Hospitality Hero’ Award

    POSTED November 26, 2018

Asha Hassan, a housekeeper at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Minneapolis-Downtown (Convention Center) has been named the “Hospitality Hero” award winner for the third quarter of 2018 by Meet Minneapolis, Convention and Visitors Association. This honor is for an individual or company that has made valuable contributions to the image and culture of Minneapolis through outstanding hospitality and service.

Nominated by Director of Sales Esta Goodman, Hassan embodies “Minnesota nice” through her dedication to her job. In a recent example, Hassan found a suitcase in a vacant guest room she was cleaning that contained several thousands of dollars and ensured a safe return to the guest.

Hassan has been serving the Minneapolis community at Holiday Inn Express & Suites since 2000. As a refugee, she spoke little English but is now fluent in the language. She greets everyone with pep and genuine joy, and takes great pride in being a Minnesotan as well as an American citizen. That pride carries over into her work, where she goes above and beyond for hotel guests and is always eager to lend a hand to colleagues.

Her work sets the bar high as a golden standard of Minneapolis hospitality,” added Goodman. “Asha’s 18 years of dedication, diligence and pride in her work exemplify her as a Hospitality Hero that Minneapolis should be proud of. We sure are!”

“I feel great, honored and very thankful,” said Hassan of the award.

Leah Henderson was recently appointed pastry chef for D'Amico Catering. We caught up with her to learn more about her experiences in the industry... and her personal favorite sweet treats.

What are you looking forward to in your new role as pastry chef?

I’ve had the pleasure to work in fine dining for the past 25 years. Now, I’m excited to incorporate that level of perfection to elevate D’Amico Catering’s pastry program, especially at some of our more upscale venues and events.


Lela Restaurant has rolled out new lunch and dinner menus, created by new executive chef Thomas Orbison.

Chef Orbison discovered his passion and talent for cooking following his career in the United States Air Force. “After six years in the military, I developed a passion for cooking and moved to Paris to study at Le Cordon Bleu, which is like Harvard for chefs,” said Orbison.

Now that he’s back in Minnesota for the first time since 2004, Orbison is excited to launch some new entrees in the southwest metro.


Maite Kuhns, a corporate trainer and recruiter for Parasole restaurants has been named the Hospitality Hero award winner for fourth quarter by 2017 by Meet Minneapolis, Convention and Visitors Association. This honor that is nominated by their colleagues, is given quarterly to a member who has made valuable contributions to the image and culture within the Minneapolis hospitality community.