Honoring the Use of Fresh Produce in the Culinary Arts
The United Fresh Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program, now in its twelfth year, pays special tribute to chefs and foodservice operations for excellence in the use of fresh produce in the culinary arts. Nominated chefs were offered an opportunity to further enhance their produce knowledge, engage with produce leaders and experience the newest fresh fruit and vegetable products during the United Fresh 2019 Convention & Expo where they were joined by thousands of attendees in Chicago this past June.
““We once again look forward to honoring chefs and foodservice leaders who are highlighting fresh produce on their menus, introducing diners to new flavors and creative ways to enjoy fresh produce,” said Tom Stenzel, United Fresh President & CEO. “We are proud to recognize those chefs who are committed to making produce the centerpiece of the meal, as well as inspiring colleagues, and home chefs alike, to incorporate more fresh produce on their plates.” ”
After two days of industry engagement through networking and education throughout the expo, we’ll all gather to recognize and celebrate this year’s 25 Retail Produce Manager Award Winners during the Retail-Foodservice Celebration on Wednesday, June 12 at 3:00 pm.
These eight winning chefs from the various business categories explored the expo to find new and innovative products and flavors that changed the way they present produce to their customers:
Business in Industry:
Chef Allan Wambaa, Executive Chef PCIII, CEC, pacificwild Catering, Oregon Convention Center, Portland, OR
Executive Chef Allan Wambaa is one of only a handful of culinary professionals certified as a Pro–Chef II and Pro-Chef III, through the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. His work continues to earn numerous accolades including an additional Venue Magazine showcase of his award winning Kuku Paka in the August 2014 Issue and his magazine feature in Meetings Today Top chefs in the country August 2017 Edition.
Casual & Family Dining Restaurants:
Peter Rosenberg, Director of Operations Support, Texas Roadhouse, Louisville, KY
Casual & Family Dining Restaurants:
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
Executive Chef Lesa Holford is responsible for The Ohio State University’s Dining Services' overall menu planning, collaboration and research with suppliers, local food purchasing, and selecting locally sourced foods. Her culinary expertise is constantly bundled with the creativity and analysis required to meet the student populations' diverse and ever-changing dietary needs and requests.
Fine Dining Restaurants:
Chef Brian Clevenger, Owner, General Harvest Restaurants, Seattle, WA
Prior to opening General Harvest Restaurants (Vendemmia, Raccolto, East Anchor Seafood, Le Messe, G.H. Pasta Co.), Chef Brian Clevenger had worked and learned in a restaurant in France, the James Beard Award winning Delfina in San Francisco, and most recently as Chef at two Ethan Stowell Restaurants; Staple & Fancy Mercantile and Tavolata.
Hospitals & Healthcare:
Chef Jeffrey Quasha, Corporate Executive R & D Chef, Morrison Healthcare, Savannah, GA
As Corporate Executive R& D Chef for Morrison Healthcare, Jeffrey Quasha identifies food and beverage trends emerging in the industry and develops products and programs to land Morrison and its partners in the middle of those trends. Over the past few years Morrison has developed over 28 pop food hall style concepts, 3 fast casual restaurants and has emerged as a leader in the Healthcare industry.
Hotels & Resorts:
Chef Lance S. Cook, CEC, CCA, WCEC, CFBE, FSM, Executive Chef, Hammock Dunes Club, Palm Coast, FL
Executive Chef Lance S. Cook of Hammock Dunes Club in Palm Coast, FL, received his World Certified Executive Chef credentials (WCEC) from World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) in January 2019. Previously, he has earned the distinction of Certified Food and Beverage Executive (CFBE) through the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute; is a Certified Food Safety Manager (FSM) through the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals; a Certified Mixologist through the School of Bartending; and has appeared on television, radio and featured in numerous newspaper spotlights.
K-12 School Foodservice:
Bertrand Weber, Director of Culinary & Wellness Services, Minneapolis Public Schools, Minneapolis, MN
As Director for Minneapolis Public School Culinary and Wellness Services since January 2012, Bertrand Weber wasted no time rethinking School Lunch. Bertrand has introduced Market Cart Salad Bars in 60 schools. All seven high schools, five junior high schools and 21 elementary schools in the Minneapolis Public Schools system have returned to scratch cooking. Most recently, he launched both the Plant Protein/Plant Forward Initiative and The True Food no Waste Action Plan.
Quick Service Restaurants:
Chef Brandon Hudson, Corporate Chef, Jason’s Deli, Grand Prairie, TX
Brandon Hudson is a Fort Worth based chef with more than fifteen years of culinary experience. He has worked in world renowned restaurants such as the former “Best Restaurant in the World” El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain, and SMOKE in Dallas. In 2014 he was named “Best Chef in Fort Worth” by Fort Worth Weekly as chef of Sera Dining and Wine. In April of 2015, Brandon joined the Jason's Deli family as Executive Chef.
The eight 2019 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Winners was celebrated this past June during the Retail-Produce Celebration on Wednesday, June 12 at 3:00 pm.
The nomination period for the 2020 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards will open this fall. For more information about the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program, contact Andrew Marshall at 202-303-3407.