WASHINGTON, D.C. – Eight of the country's most exciting chefs and foodservice professionals representing an array of culinary styles and backgrounds will be honored this June as part of the United Fresh Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program. Sponsored by PRO*ACT LLC, and now in its tenth year, the program honors chefs and their companies for their innovative and influential use of fresh produce in the culinary arts. Winners will be honored guests at the United Fresh 2017 convention and trade show, June 13-15 in Chicago.
"Year after year, these award-winning chefs and foodservice professionals continue to impress us with their creativity and ingenuity," said PRO*ACT President/CEO Max Yeater. "We are so proud to be the sponsor of the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards since the inception of the program, and we thank all of the chefs and foodservice operations who dedicate their efforts to increase the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables."
"These eight winners are using fresh fruits and vegetables on their menus in very innovative ways. We are proud to honor them for the important role that they play in showcasing our industry, as well as introducing their customers to fruit and vegetable trends and new products," said United Fresh President & CEO Tom Stenzel. "We appreciate their tremendous commitment and recognize PRO*ACT's continued generosity and support in honoring these winners and their positive impact on our nation's dining habits, and we look forward to celebrating the program’s tenth anniversary at United Fresh 2017 in Chicago."
The 2017 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award winners are:
Business in Industry:
Chef Ted Mathesius, Executive Chef, Adobe Café Lehi/Bon Appetit Management Company, Lehi, UT
Casual & Family Dining Restaurants:
Chef Shane Schaibly, Corporate Chef and Vice President of Culinary Strategy, First Watch Restaurants, Inc., Brandenton, FL
Colleges & Universities:
Chef Eric Lindstrom, Deputy Director of Retail Dining/Executive Chef, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD
Fine Dining Restaurants:
Chef Varin Keokitvon, Chef, Heartwood Provisions, Seattle, WA
Hospitals & Healthcare:
Chef Ralph Chavez, System Executive Chef, Touchpoint Healthcare Services, Austin, TX
Hotels & Resorts:
Chef Matt Smith, CEC, Executive Chef, Sheraton Columbus Hotel at Capitol Square, Columbus, OH
K-12 School Foodservice:
Robert Cuellar, Jr., Child Nutrition Program Director, Laredo Independent School District, Laredo, TX
Quick Service Restaurants:
Lacey Hudgins, Head of Product Development, Wildflower Bread Company, Scottsdale, AZ
These winners were selected from more than 100 nominations submitted by produce companies and foodservice operations across North America. A panel of produce and foodservice industry leaders reviewed each nominee's incorporation of fresh produce into menu development, use of food safety protocols for proper storage and handling of produce, leadership in produce-related community service and special events, and recognition by their company and industry peers.
The winners, along with an executive from their company, will attend United Fresh 2017 in Chicago. They also will be featured in a panel discussion on the United Fresh 2017 trade show floor in the FreshMKT Learning Center on Thursday, June 15, and will be presented with their awards during the Retail-Foodservice Celebration Dinner that evening.
United Fresh 2017 will include the United FreshMKT Expo and United FreshTEC Expo, and is co-located with the Global Cold Chain Expo and International Floriculture Expo. Attendees can visit more than 700 exhibitors displaying the newest innovations in fresh foods, produce and floral products; new technologies to develop and merchandise those products; and technological solutions to ensure quality control throughout the cold chain from field to table. Registration is available at www.unitedfreshshow.org.
For more information about the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program, contact Miriam Wolk, Vice President, Member Services, at 202-303-3410 or firstname.lastname@example.org. United Fresh will start accepting nominations for 2018 beginning this fall, with winners to be honored at United Fresh 2018 in Chicago.
About United Fresh Produce Association
Founded in 1904, the United Fresh Produce Association brings together companies across every segment of the fresh produce supply chain, including growers, shippers, fresh cut processors, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, foodservice operators, industry suppliers and allied associations. We empower industry leaders to shape sound government policy. We deliver the resources and expertise companies need to succeed in managing complex business and technical issues. We provide the training and development individuals need to advance their careers in produce. Through these endeavors, we unite our industry with a common purpose – to build long-term value for our members and grow produce consumption.
PRO*ACT is North America’s leading distributor of fresh food to the foodservice and retail industries, sourcing from premier national, regional and local farmers. PRO*ACT streamlines the produce supply chain, offering significant cost benefits and an easy, one-call solution to source the freshest produce from more than 70 third-party inspected, independently owned, local distribution centers across the United States and Canada. PRO*ACT provides category cost management through commodity contract pricing, in-house consultation services and integrated produce program distribution management.
Source: United Fresh Produce Association