United selects chefs as tops in produce
Six 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, 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. The winners are:
- Business in Industry & Colleges: Joshua Distenfeld, executive chef, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Md.
- Casual & Family Dining Restaurants: Christopher John Raucci, corporate chef, Ted’s Montana Grill, Atlanta, Ga.
- Fine Dining Restaurants: John Johnson, regional executive chef, St. Louis, Pinnacle Entertainment Company, St. Louis, Mo.
- Hotels & Healthcare: 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, Calif.
- Quick Service Restaurants: Ethan Kawasaki, executive chef, Café Zupas, Sandy, Utah.
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.