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2019 Legacy Award Recipients




CMI Communications has been providing superior audiovisual services for more than twenty-five years. The concept of their organization has been to change the audiovisual business from simply an equipment supplier to a full-service convention and meeting company. This is evidenced by the fact that CMI is one of the country’s premier production and staging providers for presentations that span the globe. CMI provides sound systems, stage lighting, graphics/video projection and complete production coordination, along with superior day to day audiovisual equipment and services, using the latest equipment and technology.

Based in New York, CMI Communications has provided equipment and technical support in nearly every major city throughout the United States and Canada. CMI’s clients range from Fortune 500 companies to international and national associations, major hotels to community organizations. CMI has created an amazing look and feel to The Albany Chefs’ Food and Wine Festival each year and does the same for countless NFP organizations.

THE HONORABLE GERALD D. JENNINGS BACKSTAGE AWARD: The Backstage Award will honors the service, accomplishments and contributions to the Albany Arts community by Gerald D. Jennings. The award is given to a venue or individual that supports the endeavors of other Arts organizations and therefore enhances the quality of life in our region. In addition, to recognize Mr. Jennings’ many years in Education, there is a scholarship or award given annually to assist a City of Albany Arts program or student focusing on performing, fine or culinary arts.



Stephen P. Baboulis is Vice President and General Manager of WNYT-TV NewsChannel 13 and WNYA-My4, the Hubbard Broadcasting stations in the Capital Region. He has worked at WNYT since 1977 in a number of capacities and is marking his 22nd year as General Manager of WNYT, and his fifth year supervising WNYA since it was purchased in 2013.

Steve serves on a number of boards, including as Treasurer of the New York State Broadcasters Association and as a member of the national NBC Affiliates Association board. Localy, he is Past-board Chair of Equinox and remains an active board member today.

Especially near and dear to his heart is the Palace Theater, where he is currently the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors. Steve has served on the Palace board since 1994 and is deeply involved in the theater’s current $35 million dollar renovation and improvement project. His involvement with the theater is one way in which Steve supports his core belief about the arts-that they are vitally important to the fabric of a community and must be nurtured and enhanced for our society to continue moving forward to a better place. Steve has two adult children and lives in Bethlehem with Jill, his wife of 37 years. Steve, along with the WNYT family, have been amazing, generous partners to Albany Chefs’ Food and Wine Festival since our first year. We are grateful for this partnership.

THE KAREN SMITH SFARA OVATION AWARD: The Ovation Award honors the memory of Founding Member Karen Smith-Sfara. Karen was a pioneer in the wine industry and paved the way for women to gain entry into this field. Karen was instrumental in bringing the Albany Chefs’ Food and Wine Festival to fruition. The only thing that outweighed her passion and professionalism was her kindness and generosity. The Ovation Award is given to a Capital Region outstanding patron or organization demonstrating a significant contribution to the Arts in the City of Albany, through dedication of time, talent, expertise and/or personal financial contribution.



Ric Orlando brings an inspired blend of lust for life, an outspoken passion for the flavors and ingredients of the world community, and nationally renowned cooking prowess to his roles as chef, podcaster, author, and media source. He has won the Food Network’s Chopped twice, beaten Bobby Flay and has won the Albany Times Union people’s choice for best Chef 3 years running, His tireless work promoting the products, people, and beauty of the region combined with his quirky sense of humor and rock and roll pedigree has made him one of the Capital Region and Hudson Valley’s leading culinary spokespeople. He has been called the Pioneer of Hudson Valley Farm to Table cooking. Ric oversees the kitchen of Albany’s New World Bistro Bar, the award-winning Global Bistro he designed and manages. He is also a Chef-partner with Hannaford supermarkets, helping to raise funds for hunger and nutrition programs region wide. Ric’s cultural roots stem from the underground music and art scene of the 1980’s in New York, New Haven, and Boston, where he also gathered his passion for global flavors -eating and redefining urban ethnic eats. Ric is among or region’s Chefs that we can always count on to say “YES” before he’s even heard the question.

SPIRIT OF THE INDUSTRY AWARD: Presented with deep gratitude by our Board of Directors, this award honors the unending generosity, commitment to our community, the professionalism of our Region’s chefs and restaurateurs and the sincere spirit of giving back.