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Bloomin' Brands, Papa Johns execs among IFMA Silver Plate Award winners

The annual awards by the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association were announced at COEX. The winner of the Gold Plate will be announced in May.
IFMA Awards
The IFMA awards are in their 69th year. /Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

The International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) on Tuesday revealed the Silver Plate Award winners at the association’s 2023 Chain Operators Exchange (COEX) in Tampa.

The award, which was first launched in 1954 and is in its 69th year, is designed to recognize extraordinary foodservice executives who are chosen from a slate of nominees by a jury of trade press editors and previous award winners. The recipients this year represent nine foodservice categories. The most coveted is the IFMA Gold Plate, for which one of the Silver Plate nominees is selected by secret ballot.

Presentation of the awards is scheduled to take place May 20 at the annual celebration in Chicago’s Union Station, when the Gold Plate winner will also be revealed during the National Restaurant Association Show weekend.

“The IFMA Gold & Silver Plate Awards call out extraordinary achievement from operators across all segments of our industry,” said Phil Kafarakis, IFMA president and CEO. “The awards celebrate the best of food-away-from-home leadership and we’re very proud of the longevity and industry-wide respect the awards have maintained. I can’t want to see which of these remarkable winners will receive the Gold Plate Award this May.”

Here are the 2023 IFMA Silver Plate winners:

Independent Restaurants:

Dickie Brennan, owner and managing partner of Dickie Brennan & Company.

Nominated by Nestlé Professional.

Chain Full Service:

David Deno, CEO, Bloomin’ Brands.

Nominated by Ecolab.

Business & Industry/Foodservice Management:

Sharon Eliatamby, senior project manager, The World Bank Group.

Nominated by PepsiCo Foodservice.

Colleges & Universities:

Jill Horst, executive director, campus dining, University of California, Santa Barbara.

Nominated by BSI, Hobart and Nestlé Professional.

Travel & Leisure:

Max Knoepfel, executive chef, Music City Center.

Nominated by Basic American Foods.

Chain Limited Service:

Rob Lynch, president & CEO, Papa Johns International.

Nominated by PepsiCo Foodservice.

Grocery, Convenience & Specialty Retail:

Mindy Meriwether, director, fresh food and beverage, Wawa.

Nominated by Tyson Foodservice.

Elementary & Secondary Schools:

Jessica Shelly, director, student dining services, Cincinnati Public Schools.

Nominated by Nestlé Professional and P&G Professional.


Randall J. Sparrow, director, food & environmental services, ProHealth Care.

Nominated by Ecolab and PepsiCo Foodservice.

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