Top Chefs Earn Top Honors At United Fresh 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – Six of the country’s most exciting chefs and foodservice professionals representing an array of culinary styles and backgrounds will be honored this May as part of the United Fresh Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program. Sponsored by PRO*ACT LLC, and now in its sixth year, the program honors chefs and their companies for their innovative and influential use of fresh produce in the culinary arts. The United Fresh Produce Association will formally recognize the six winners at United Fresh 2013, the association’s annual convention and expo in San Diego, May 14-16.

“For six years now, we at PRO*ACT continue to be amazed at the creativity, dedication and insight shown by the honorees in this program,” said PRO*ACT President Max Yeater. “We are so proud to be a sponsor of the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards and we thank all of the nominees and all of the chefs who work so hard to increase the consumption of healthy fresh fruits and vegetables.”

“These winners have made extraordinary dishes that feature fresh fruits and vegetables mainstays on their menus, and for the important role that they play in showcasing our industry, we are proud to honor them,” said United Fresh CEO Tom Stenzel. “We appreciate their tremendous commitment and recognize PRO*ACT’s generous support in honoring these winners and their positive impact on our nation’s dining habits.”

The six winners were selected from nearly 120 nominations submitted by produce companies and foodservice operations across North America. A panel of produce and foodservice industry leaders reviewed each nominee’s demonstrated incorporation of fresh produce into menu development, use of protocols for correct storage and handling of produce, leadership in produce related community service and special events and recognition by their company and industry peers.

The six winners, along with an executive from their company, will attend United Fresh 2013 in San Diego. All six winners will participate in panel session, Restaurant Flavors and Trends from the Best which will take place on Thursday, May 16 at 2:30 p.m.

The 2013 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award winners are:

·         Business in Industry & Colleges: Chef Joshua Distenfeld, Executive Chef, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD

·         Casual & Family Dining Restaurants:  Chef Christopher John Raucci, Corporate Chef, Ted’s Montana Grill, Atlanta, GA

·         Fine Dining Restaurants: Chef John Johnson, Regional Executive Chef, St. Louis, Pinnacle Entertainment Company, St. Louis, MO

·         Hotels & Healthcare: Chef Chad Tyler Brodkin, The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center, Benchmark Hospitality International, Blacksburg, VA

·         K-12 School Foodservice: Kevin LaPittus, Director of Child Nutrition Services, Encinitas Union School District, Encinitas, CA

·         Quick Service Restaurants: Chef Ethan Kawasaki, Executive Chef, Café Zupas, Sandy, UT

For more information on the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award program, please contact Miriam Miller Wolk at 202-303-3410.

Founded in 1998, the United Fresh Produce Association Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization committed to meeting the public’s needs for an abundant supply of healthy, safe and affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. The Foundation is dedicated to increasing the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables to children as a critical step in combating childhood obesity and launching a lifetime of healthy choices. To assist industry members in meeting these goals, the Foundation offers educational programs, leadership development, public outreach, and industry training through four different Centers — Center for Leadership Excellence, Center for Nutrition and Health, Center for Food Safety and Quality, and Center for Global Produce Sustainability. For more information, visit or call 202-303-3400.

About PRO*ACT: PRO*ACT is North America’s leading distributor of fresh produce, 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. For more information, please visit PRO*ACT online.

Source: United Fresh Produce Association Foundation