Henry Warren, a legendary figure amongst hoteliers, was in attendance in 1975 when the RFEC conducted its first conference with ten attendees.
Henry was born on September 22, 1916 in St. Petersburg, Russia, where his family owned an import/export business that supplied the imperial palaces.
As the Russian Revolution progressed, the Warren family fled to Estonia, where his grandfather owned a hotel and where Henry worked as a dishwasher while he attended school.
After serving in the military, he studied hotel and restaurant management at the University of Tartu from 1937 to 1939. He continued his education in Switzerland, followed by a stint at marine purser and chief steward school in England.
During World War II, he moved between the United Kingdom and the United States, working as an interpreter and interrogator. Following the war, he honed his skills in languages, investigation, and counterintelligence at CIC School in Fort Holabird, Maryland. In 1947, he used those skills in Europe, interrogating German and Russian prisoners of war prior to the Nuremberg Trials.
In 1948, Henry became a U.S. citizen, settled in San Francisco with his wife and son, and began his career in hotel management at the Fairmont. While attending Golden State College and receiving his bachelor's degree in business administration and management, he became a partner of the Alexis Tangier and helped it become one of the city's finest venues.
As with all highly successful, innovative people, Henry never stopped learning. He studied food and beverage control at Arizona State University and financial management, motivation, and leadership at Cornell University.
In 1970, Palm Beach called, and, until his retirement fifteen years later, he served as vice president of food and beverage at the Breakers, where he won many awards, including one from the Wine Spectator for establishing the best wine cellar and collection.
I first meet Henry in 1969 at Caneel Bay. I had no idea that I was talking to a Hospitality Legend. Henry, for many years, shaped not only the legendary Food and Beverage program of the world renowned Breakers resort in Palm Beach, Florida, but also the career of many of his peers that were fortunate enough to be mentored by him.
His impeccable world class service style and wealth of wine knowledge made him one of the most influential hospitality leaders in the country if not the world.
Henry was one of the three RFEC founding members establishing the organization's high standards. Henry's vision for quality was uncompromising and a true test to many of the younger generation that aspired to become great Food and Beverage leaders.
Hans Schadler, C.E.C., A.A.C.
Waypoint Seafood & Grill
My first job and first opportunity in the United States of America came at the Five Star, Five Diamond Breakers Resort in Palm Beach Florida. No other than the legendary Henry Warren was Vice President of Food and Beverage.
He ruled with an iron fist and visits to his huge wood paneled office were usually a dreaded endeavor. Being called in there a short time after my arrival had me worried, but a short time after my arrival we were chatting about all the Swiss resorts we both worked at in our careers and the many mutual acquaintances. Not what I was expecting at all.
Henry had a passion for perfection, creativity and follow thru and my time at The Breakers working with Henry was a perfect introduction into the US.
Thankful for Henry's guidance.
Beat Giger, C.E.C., A.A.C.
Director of Special Events / Corporate Chef
Pebble Beach Resorts