WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 24, 2011)—The United Fresh Produce Association Foundation has announced record nominations for the 2011 United Fresh Produce Excellence in Foodservice Program. With the nomination period closing on February 7, this year’s program drew 115 nominations from 31 states and Canada.
This is the fourth year of the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program, which was established in 2008 through the support of founding sponsor Pro*Act, LLC. The program honors chefs for their use of fresh produce in the culinary arts and the important role they play in increasing fruit and vegetable consumption. Chefs are honored in the categories of fine dining restaurants; casual and family dining; quick service restaurants; business in industry and colleges; hotels and healthcare; and, as a new category for 2011, K-12 school foodservice.
Six chefs will be selected as the 2011 award winners and will be honored at the 2011 United Fresh convention, May 2-5 in New Orleans. The winners will be selected by a committee of foodservice and produce industry leaders including 2010 winners Chris Jackson, Ted & Honey and Thomas John, Au Bon Pain, as well as Lisa McNeece, Grimmway Farms; Kevin Ryan, the International Corporate Chefs Association; and Steve Winders, Loffredo Fresh Produce.
The winners will be selecting on a range of criteria including:
- Creativity in concept development and menu design using fresh produce, including the ability to incorporate produce into culinary trends
- Knowledge and use of proper fresh produce handling procedures
- Produce-related special events or outreach, including community service projects and more
- Recognition among peers and/or by the company
“We are thrilled with the number and quality of this year’s nominees and want to thank every company who submitted a nomination for this year’s program,” said Victoria Backer, United Fresh senior vice president of member services, foundation. “The efforts made by these men and women everyday to bring innovative produce menu items to diners plates will help positively shape the way our nation eats.”
The six winners and their corporate produce directors will receive complimentary airfare, hotel accommodation and registrations to United Fresh 2011. The winners will be honored at the annual United Fresh Awards Banquet on Thursday, May 4.
The 2010 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award winners are: Fine Dining: Chef Sydney Meers, Chef/Owner, Stove, The Restaurant, Portsmouth, Va. Casual & Family Dining: Chef Christopher Jackson, Executive Chef and Owner, Ted & Honey, Brooklyn, N.Y. Quick Service: Chef Thomas John, Senior Vice President and Executive Chef, Au Bon Pain, Boston, Mass. Business in Industry and Colleges: Chef Fred Reynaud, Corporate Executive Chef, Guest Services, Inc., Fairfax, Va. Hotels and Healthcare Industry: Chef Michael Reich, Executive Chef, Renaissance Chicago Hotel, Chicago, Ill.