LongHorn Steakhouse recently named a long-time employee "Grill Master Legend" -- an honor only bestowed on 13 others.

On April 22, Gayle Dudley was awarded a $5,000 check for her hard work. She has worked at a Columbus, Georgia, location for more than 20 years, according to Darden Restaurants, the group that owns the restaurant chain.

"I was taken aback. To be named a Grill Master Legend means a lot to me. What made me happiest is that I had the opportunity to share it with my mother and see how proud she was," Dudley said in a statement.

"I love the people. I love my coworkers, I love my guests too. Because at the end of the day, when they tell me they enjoyed that steak, that gives me the most joy in the world," Dudley said.

Before she was given the award, the restaurant threw Dudley a surprise ceremony that was attended by her co-workers and family. She was also given a special gold chef’s coat.

LongHorn Steakhouse officials say that Dudley’s recognition is part of the company’s effort to honor extraordinary team members across its more than 540 U.S. restaurants.