FreshEdge to Sponsor the 2020 United Fresh Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
WASHINGTON, DC - Some of the greatest innovations in our industry occur within the foodservice sector. To honor those chefs and foodservice operators, FreshEdge™, a collection of industry leading produce and specialty food distributors and fresh-cut operations, has teamed up with United Fresh Produce Association to sponsor the 2020 United Fresh Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program. Developed to honor the foodservice industry’s most innovative produce performers, the program pays special tribute to chefs and foodservice operators for excellence in their use of fresh produce in the culinary arts. The program will begin accepting nominations this October.
“More and more retailers are incorporating foodservice as a strategy to create a memorable experience for their customers,” said Tom Stenzel, President and CEO of United Fresh. “The new Supermarkets & Retail Operators category will recognize culinary professionals at retail who lead the way in incorporating fresh produce into their foodservice concepts.”
Since 2008, the program has recognized more than 60 foodservice leaders for their exceptional work incorporating a variety of fresh produce on their menus, a press release stated. The award also recognizes culinarians for their creative use of fresh produce in concept development and menu design, their knowledge of fresh produce handling procedures, participation in produce-related special events and community service, and overall recognition by the foodservice community.
This year, the awards program will include a new category for Supermarkets & Retail Operators, recognizing foodservice innovators who drive menus for in-store restaurant concepts, salad and prepared food bars, and grab-and-go options. Additional categories include Business in Industry, Casual & Family Dining Restaurants, Colleges & Universities, Fine Dining Restaurants, Hospitals & Healthcare, Hotels & Resorts, K-12 School Foodservice, and Quick Service Restaurants.
Winners will be selected by United Fresh Produce Association and will be recognized at United Fresh 2020 Convention & Expo, June 16-19, in San Diego, at the event’s Retail-Foodservice Celebration. The nine winning chefs, along with a corporate purchasing executive, also will receive complimentary airfare, hotel accommodations, and registrations to United Fresh 2020.
The 2019 winners in each category were:
- Business in Industry: Chef Allan Wambaa, Executive Chef PCIII, CEC, pacificwild Catering, Oregon Convention Center, Portland, OR
- Casual & Family Dining Restaurants: Peter Rosenberg, Director of Operations Support, and Jason Mennie, Senior Director of Legendary Food, Texas Roadhouse, Louisville, KY
- Colleges & Universities: Chef Lesa Holford, Corporate Executive Chef, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
- Fine Dining Restaurants: Chef Brian Clevenger, Owner, General Harvest Restaurants, Seattle, WA
- Hospitals & Healthcare: Chef Jeffrey Quasha, Corporate Executive R & D Chef, Morrison Healthcare, Savannah, GA
- Hotels & Resorts: Chef Lance S. Cook, CEC, CCA, WCEC, CFBE, FSM, Executive Chef, Hammock Dunes Club, Palm Coast, FL
- K-12 School Foodservice: Bertrand Weber, Director of Culinary & Wellness Services, Minneapolis Public Schools, Minneapolis, MN
- Quick Service Restaurants: Chef Brandon Hudson, Corporate Chef, Jason’s Deli, Grand Prairie, TX
“We are proud to sponsor the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards and have the opportunity to recognize chefs and foodservice operations who showcase creativity and ingenuity in incorporating fresh produce in their menus,” said Steve Grinstead, Chief Executive Officer of FreshEdge. “Fresh produce plays an important role in menu development and delighting customers around the globe, and this award gives us the opportunity to recognize the best of the best.”
Know of anyone you believe deserves recognition? Be on the lookout for that nomination period.