Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County Announces its 2013 Person of the Year – James Brennan, CEO of Enlightened Hospitality Group | Award Ceremony to Take Place at 51st Annual Gourmet Dinner on Oct. 24

Partners in dining
Brian Malarkey (left) & James Brennan (right)
October 4, 2013

Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County (BBBS of SDC) has announced that James Brennan has been selected as the “Person of the Year.” James Brennan, a former Big Brother himself, will receive his award at Big Brothers Big Sisters 51st Annual Gourmet Dinner on October 24, which will be held at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine and sponsored by LPL Financial. This year’s event emcee is Brennan's partner in Enlightened Hospitality Group - Chef Brian Malarkey, winning Mentor/Judge on ABC’s cooking show The Taste, Top Chef finalist, and Executive Chef/Partner of the Fabric of Social Dining restaurants (Searsucker, Gabardine, Gingham and Herringbone).

Brennan has been a longtime supporter of the San Diego Big Brothers Big Sisters program, serving as a  Big Brother from 2003-2006, joining the BBBS of SDC Board of Directors in 2006, and co-founding the San Diego Young Professionals Committee,  a committed group of emerging leaders who plan networking, recruitment and fundraising events to benefit BBBS in San Diego County. James also co-chaired the 50th Anniversary Gourmet Dinner in 2011. His leadership and generous donations were key drivers in making the 2011 Dinner one the most profitable events in its history.

“James truly walks the walk of being a man who believes in volunteering for one’s community,” said Deborah Condon, President and CEO of BBBS San Diego County. “As BBBS launches its Man Up CA campaign to find more male mentors for waiting boys across the state, who better to help us raise awareness than a man who really cares and leads with integrity.”

A fast talking New York native, Brennan is the CEO of Enlightened Hospitality Group, a renowned restaurant/entertainment enterprise that employs over 700 people in San Diego and holds Stingaree, the Fabric Family restaurants, and Campine Catering under its umbrella. Brennan and Executive Chef Malarkey have plans to expand nationally, opening 15 additional restaurants over the next 5 years.  James is an active member of the YPO San Diego Chapter and sits on the Board of Directors for Catholic Charities of San Diego, Father Joe’s Villages, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Cathedral Catholic High School. A Rockaway Beach, NY native, Brennan, also raised over $1.4 million, including $300,000 from his own pocket, for the families who were left devastated after Hurricane Sandy.

"I am beyond honored to be recognized for the Person of the Year Award by Big Brothers Big Sisters,” said Brennan.  “It is an organization that I have given part of my heart to, and to be recognized for that is extremely humbling! As a Big Brother, I have seen first-hand what the affects of mentorship can do for a young child.  At the same time I have felt what it can do for the heart and soul of the MENTOR! BBBS will always be the place that transformed me from a guy who just wrote checks to organizations, to one who actually got involved."

Big Brothers Big Sisters Persons of Year award winners are community leaders, both in the business world and philanthropically, who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment and concern for Big Brothers Big Sisters and the cause of mentoring our community’s youth.  Former Persons of the Year have included many esteemed community leaders including: Ron Fowler, Chairman & CEO of Liquid Investments Inc. and Executive Chairman of the San Diego Padres (2012); Linda Lang, President/CEO of Jack in the Box (2011); and many more.

For more on the 51st Annual Gourmet Dinner, visit