Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program

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Honoring the Use of Fresh Produce in the Culinary Arts

The United Fresh Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program honors chefs for their use of fresh produce in the culinary arts. United Fresh is proud to extend the produce industry's thanks to all chefs and foodservice operations throughout the country!

Special thanks to our program sponsor:


Each year, seven winning chefs are recognized in the following business categories:

  • Business in Industry
  • Casual and Family Dining Restaurants
  • Colleges & Universities
  • Fine Dining Restaurants
  • Hotels and Healthcare Industry
  • K-12 School Foodservice
  • Quick Service Restaurants

Winners are selected by a team of produce foodservice experts, based on the following:

  • 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, but not limited to, community service projects, local educational outreach, etc.
  • Recognition among peers and/or by the company, including, but not limited to awards, additional responsibilities, training and performance-based recognition

Winners and each of their corporate executives receive complimentary registration to United Fresh 2014 in Chicago; coach-class, roundtrip airfare to Chicago and two nights of accommodations during United Fresh 2014.  They also receive special recognition and reserved seating at the Produce Celebration Gala on June 11.

Click here to download the 2014 Foodservice Awards Nomination Brochure.

Benefits of Participation

The United Fresh Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program is an exceptional opportunity to honor a chef for their use of fresh produce in the culinary arts. Here are just a few reasons to nominate a chef for this award:

  • Foodservice management can recognize key associates at no cost
  • Winning chefs and foodservice operations are recognized as leaders in the use of fresh produce
  • Winners further their produce knowledge by participating in educational workshops, engaging with industry leaders and learning about the newest products at the United Fresh convention
  • Industry can salute chefs who work to increase the consumption of fresh produce

How to Nominate a Chef

  • Complete a nomination form using either the:
    -Online nomination form
    -Download the form in Microsoft Word
  • Nominations must have company approval
  • Winners are selected by a panel of produce foodservice experts
  • Winners attend United Fresh 2014 and are recognized at the United Fresh Produce Celebration Gala
  • PRO* ACT will make a donation to a charitable organization of choice for each of the seven winners

Nominations are accepted in the following seven business categories:

  1. Business in Industry - This category recognizes chefs who regularly serve a company's employees and guests. This might include an employee cafeteria or a corporate dining room and administrative catering where produce is used to create great cuisine and impress clients. Nominees in this category must operate in an establishment that offers regular/daily foodservice catering.
  2. Casual and Family Dining Restaurants - This category includes sit-down restaurants with a casual atmosphere. Casual dining restaurants may provide table service (i.e. waiter/waitress service) to patrons who order and are served while they are seated and pay after eating, or provide buffet-style service.
  3. Colleges & Universities - This category includes chefs who are in charge of dining services for a college or university. This might include cafeteria-style service for students, on-campus quick service concepts or more formal dining concepts and special event catering where produce is used to create great cuisine and impress campus visitors. Nominees in this category must operate in a college or university setting that offers regular/daily foodservice operations.
  4. Fine Dining Restaurants - This category includes "white tablecloth" restaurants that, most typically, serve prepared food for lunch and dinner, or dinner only. Full table service is provided in a formal setting, and the meal is served by wait staff.
  5. Hotels and Healthcare Industry - This category includes hotels (independent and chain) and hospitals or other healthcare facilities. While these two categories are different in some ways, they are similar in others. For example, they likely serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the properties may never "close." Patients/guests are often present for several days, and menus might vary frequently.
  6. K-12 School Foodservice - This category includes public, private, parochial and charter schools for primary and/or secondary students (K-12). Responsibilities likely include oversight of a school district's cafeteria menus for breakfast and/or lunch, purchasing and distribution, as well as for other school-related meals and events.
  7. Quick Service Restaurants - This category includes establishments primarily engaged in providing foodservice (including snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars) where patrons generally order or select items and pay before eating. Food and drink may be consumed on premises, taken out or delivered.

Companies may nominate multiple chefs.  Former winners are not eligible.

For questions about the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , vice president, membership and marketing, at 202-303-3410.

Past Foodservice Award Winners

Business in Industry & Colleges*:

  • 2013 - Chef Joshua Distenfeld, Executive Chef, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD
  • 2012 - Chef David Kramer, Chef Instructor, College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL
  • 2011 - Chef Martin Breslin, Director of Culinary Operations, Harvard University Dining Services, Cambridge, MA
  • 2010 - Chef Fred Reynaud, Corporate Executive Chef, Guest Services, Inc., Fairfax, VA
  • 2009 - Glenn Pruden, CEC, Executive Chef/Assistant Director University Dining, University of Richmond, Richmond, VA
  • 2008 - Jonathan Davey, Chef, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

*Starting in 2014, this category will be split into two discrete categories, "Business in Industry" and "Colleges & Universities"

Casual & Family Dining:

  • 2013 - Chef Christopher John Raucci, Corporate Chef, Ted's Montana Grill, Atlanta, GA
  • 2012 - Chef Michael Stebner, Director of Culinary, True Food Kitchen, Scottsdale, AZ
  • 2011 - Chef Regis Holden, Senior Director of Culinary Services, Eat'n Park Restaurants, Homestead, PA
  • 2010 - Chef Christopher Jackson, Executive Chef and Owner, Ted & Honey, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2009 - Chef William Fuller, Corporate Chef, big Burrito Restaurant Group, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2008 - Chef Reinhard Dorfhuber, Chef, Elephant Bar Restaurant, La Mirada, CA

Fine Dining Restaurants:

  • 2013 - Chef John Johnson, Regional Executive Chef, St. Louis, Pinnacle Entertainment Company, St. Louis, MO
  • 2012 - Executive Chef Brian Scheehser, Trellis Restaurant, Kirkland, WA
  • 2011 - Chef Clifford Pleau, Senior Director, Culinary and Beverage, Seasons 52 Restaurants, Orlando, FL
  • 2010 - Chef Sydney Meers, Chef/Owner, Stove, The Restaurant, Portsmouth, VA
  • 2009 - Chef George Mavrothalassitis, Chef/Owner, Chef Mavro, Honolulu, Hi
  • 2008 - Chef Tony Baker, Chef, Montrio Bistro, Monterey, CA

Hotels & Healthcare:

  • 2013 - Chef Chad Tyler Brodkin, Executive Chef, The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center, Benchmark Hospitality International, Blacksburg, VA
  • 2012 - Chef Christophe Depuichaffray, Area Executive Chef, InterContinental Mark Hopkins and Hotel InterContinental San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
  • 2011 - Chef Jacques Wilson, Executive Chef, El Camino Hospital, Mountain View, CA
  • 2010 - Chef Michael Reich, Executive Chef, Renaissance Chicago Hotel, Chicago, IL
  • 2009 - Chef Miles McMath, CEC, Senior Executive Chef, Morrison Management Specialists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN
  • 2008 - Chef Jean-Paul Hascoat, Executive Chef, Peconic Landing, Greenport, NY

K-12 School Foodservice:

  • 2013 - Kevin LaPittus, Director of Child Nutrition Services, Encinitas Union School District, Encinitas, CA
  • 2012 - Jessica Shelly, Director of Food Services, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati, OH
  • 2011 - Jenilee McComb, Director, Child Nutrition Program, Provo School District, Provo, UT

*This category was initially awarded in 2011.

Quick Service Restaurants:

  • 2013 - Chef Ethan Kawasaki, Executive Chef, Café Zupas, Sandy, UT
  • 2012 - John Hughes, Senior Vice President & Director of Training, Jersey Mike's Subs, Manasquan, NJ
  • 2011 - Chef Dan Barash, Executive Chef, Moe's Southwest Grill, Atlanta, GA
  • 2010 - Chef Thomas John, Senior Vice President and Executive Chef, Au Bon Pain, Boston, MA
  • 2009 - William "Woody" Faulk, Vice President of Brand Development; Shona Jonson, Sr. Manager of Menu Development and the entire Chick-fil-A Menu Development Team, Chick-fil-A, Inc., Atlanta, GA
  • 2008 - Chef Dan Coudreaut, Chef & Director of Culinary Innovation, McDonald's USA, Oak Brook, IL

What Participants Are Saying

"Having our executive chef receive this award was a great experience for Café Zupas.   By participating in convention activities alongside our chef, from walking the expo to networking with foodservice and produce executives, we were able to make some great contacts in the produce supply chain that we were able to bring back to our company. "

- Chef Ethan Kawasaki, Executive Chef, Café Zupas, Sandy, UT

"As an award winner, I was able to meet produce industry leaders who gave me an inside look at fresh fruit and vegetable items I could incorporate into my menus, as well as engage directly with fellow chefs who are passionate about fresh produce.  I highly recommend this experience for fellow chefs."

- Chef Joshua Distenfeld, Executive Chef, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD, 2013 Award Winner

"As an award winner, I had the opportunity to get an inside look into the key players in the fresh produce industry. The program sessions and trade show were highly educational, and I highly recommend this experience to chefs who are developing fresh produce concepts."

- Chef David Kramer, Chef Instructor, College of DuPage, 2012 Award Winner

"Participating in the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program was an amazing experience. Networking with fellow culinary leaders and industry executives who are passionate about fresh produce will help our district's foodservice program continue to excel."

- Jessica Shelly, Director of Food Services, Cincinnati Public Schools, 2012 Award Winner

"It makes me proud to know that my effort to ensure only the freshest produce is used on my menu has not gone unnoticed. I am honored to have been recognized by United Fresh and to have received the Excellence in Produce award."

- Chef Christopher Jackson, Ted & Honey, 2010 Award Winner