Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards


Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program
Honoring the Use of Fresh Produce in the Culinary Arts

Congratulations to the 2018 Winners!

  • Business in Industry:
    • Chef Julie Pearson, Food Service Director – Anthem Richmond, Compass Food Group-Eurest Services, Richmond, VA
  • Casual & Family Dining Restaurants:
    • Chef Michael Rypka, Executive Chef/Vice President of Culinary Marketing-Company Founder, United States Success Foods Management Group, LLC DBA Torchy’s Tacos, Austin, TX
  • Colleges & Universities:
    • Chef Mark Bedzik, Culinary Art Faculty & University Chef/Greenhouse Manager, Culinary Institute of Virginia, College of Culinary Arts at ECPI University, Norfolk, VA
  • Fine Dining Restaurants:
    • Chef Daniel Asher, Executive Chef/Partner, River & Woods, Boulder, CO
  • Hospitals & Healthcare:
    • Chef Damon Mangano, Executive Chef/District Chef, ARAMARK, Hillcrest Hospital Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
  • Hotels & Resorts:
    • Chef Graham Lockwood, Executive Chef, Fairmont Copley Plaza, Boston, MA
  • K-12 School Foodservice:
    • Eric Goldstein, Chief Executive, School Support Services, New York City Department of Education, New York, NY
  • Quick Service Restaurants:
    • Ryan Krebs, Director of Foodservice, Rutter’s, York, PA

The eight winning chefs AND their accompanying corporate executive received:

  • Complimentary roundtrip airfare and registration to United Fresh 2018 – June 25-27 in Chicago, IL
  • Two nights of hotel accommodations
  • Recognition on stage at the Retail-Foodservice Celebration

The nomination period for the 2019 Awards Program will open this Fall.  If you wish to be notified when the nomination period opens, contact Miriam Wolk at

Selection Criteria

The United Fresh Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program pays special tribute to chefs and foodservice operations for excellence in the use of fresh produce in the culinary arts.  Nominations are accepted for each of the following eight business categories:

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

Click here for more details on each business category.

A panel of produce foodservice experts will evaluate nominees on the following criteria, selecting eight winners, one for each business category:

  • Creativity in using fresh produce in concept development and menu design, including the ability to incorporate produce into culinary trends.
  • Knowledge and use of proper fresh produce handling procedures.
  • Produce-related outreach or special events, such as community service projects, local educational outreach, etc.
  • Recognition among peers and/or by their company, such as awards, additional responsibilities, and training

Nominees must commit to attend the United Fresh convention to be eligible to participate.

Why Should You Participate?

By participating in this program, you have an opportunity to honor chefs – leaders in integrating and elevating the use of fresh produce in the culinary arts.

  • You’re recognizing the chefs and culinary professionals who delight consumers with fresh produce on their menus.
  • You’re offering exceptional chefs an opportunity to further their knowledge as they participate in education workshops, engage with industry leaders and learn about new produce products and services at the United Fresh convention.
  • Foodservice executives can recognize their culinary professionals at no cost.
  • Winning foodservice operations are recognized as leaders in the use of fresh produce.

Past Winners2008-2017


2017 Award Winners

Business in Industry: Chef Ted Mathesius, Executive Chef, Adobe Café Lehi/Bon Appetit Management Company, Lehi, UT

Casual & Family Dining Restaurants: Chef Shane Schaibly, Corporate Chef and Vice President of Culinary Strategy, First Watch Restaurants, Inc., Brandenton, FL

Colleges & Universities: Chef Eric Lindstrom, Deputy Director of Retail Dining/Executive Chef, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD

Fine Dining Restaurants: Chef Varin Keokitvon, Chef, Heartwood Provisions, Seattle, WA

Hospitals & Healthcare: Chef Ralph Chavez, System Executive Chef, Touchpoint Healthcare Services, Austin, TX

Hotels & Resorts: Chef Matt Smith, CEC, Executive Chef, Sheraton Columbus Hotel at Capitol Square, Columbus, OH

K-12 School Foodservice: Robert Cuellar, Jr., Child Nutrition Program Director, Laredo Independent School District, Laredo, TX

Quick Service Restaurants:Lacey Hudgins, Head of Product Development, Wildflower Bread Company, Scottsdale, AZ


2016 Award Winners

Business in Industry: Chef Craig Tarrant, Culinary Director; Chef Elijah Coe; Executive Chef Café 16 and Chef Zach Therioakes; Executive Chef Studio H Café, Dining at Microsoft, Redmond, WA

Casual & Family Dining Restaurants: Chef Steven Sturm, Corporate Executive Chef, Firebirds Restaurants, Charlotte, NC

Colleges & Universities: Chef Anthony Lauri, CEC, AAC, ACE, Executive Chef, Chartwells at University of Miami, Miami, FL

Fine Dining Restaurants: Chef Leonard Hollander, Arbor, Chicago, IL

Hotels & Healthcare: Chef Nazim Khan, CEC, Executive Chef, Bryan Health System, Lincoln, NE

K-12 School Foodservice: Marilyn Hughes, PhD, RD, Director, Nutrition Department, Atlanta Public Schools, Atlanta, GA

Quick Service Restaurants: Chef Oliver Plust, Executive Chef & General Manager, Tender Greens Hollywood, Hollywood, CA

2015 Award Winners

Business in Industry: Chef Tim Galligher, Executive Chef, Sodexo, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Omaha, NE

Casual and Family Dining Restaurants: Chef Ype Von Hengst, Executive Chef & Co-Founder, Silver Diner, Rockville, MD

Colleges and Universities: Chef Bob Patton, Executive Chef, Aramark, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA

Fine Dining Restaurants: Chef Tony Marchetto, Chef Owner/Proprietor, Prasino’s, St. Charles, MO

Hotels and Healthcare: Chef Rick Laughlin, Chef de Cuisine, Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island, FL

K-12 School Foodservice: Brenda Robinson, Director of Nutrition Services, Bakersfield City School District, Bakersfield, CA

Quick Service Restaurants: Chef Erik Roth, Executive Chef, TownHall, Cleveland, OH

2014 Award Winners

Business in Industry: Chef Daniel Benigno, Guckenheimer Executive Chef at TD Ameritrade, Omaha, NE

Casual & Family Dining Restaurants: Chef Carlito Jocson, Executive Chef, Yard House, Irvine, CA

Colleges & Universities: Chef Chandon Clenard, Senior Executive Chef, Stanford University Residential Dining Services, Stanford, CA

Fine Dining Restaurants: Chef Adam Hegsted, Chef/Owner for Eat Good, Wandering Table and Yards Bruncheon, Spokane, WA

Hotels & Healthcare: Chef Rolf Nettesheim, Executive Chef & Food Service Director, The Palace Group, Miami, FL

K-12 School Foodservice: Chef Jason Morse, Executive Chef, Douglas County School District, Castle Rock, CO

Quick Service Restaurants: Jeff Sinelli, Founder, CEO and Chief Vibe Officer, Which Wich, Dallas, TX

2013 Award Winners

Business in Industry & Colleges: Chef Joshua Distenfeld, Executive Chef, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD

Casual & Family Dining Restaurants:  Chef Christopher John Raucci, Corporate Chef, Ted’s Montana Grill, Atlanta, GA

Fine Dining Restaurants: Chef John Johnson, Regional Executive Chef, St. Louis, Pinnacle Entertainment Company, St. Louis, MO

Hotels & Healthcare: Chef 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, CA

Quick Service Restaurants: Chef Ethan Kawasaki, Executive Chef, Café Zupas, Sandy, UT

2012 Award Winners

Business in Industry & Colleges: Chef David Kramer, Chef Instructor, College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL

Casual & Family Dining Restaurants:  Chef Michael Stebner, Director of Culinary, True Food Kitchen, Scottsdale, AZ

Fine Dining Restaurants: Chef Brian Scheehser, Trellis Restaurant, Kirkland, WA

Hotels & Healthcare: Chef Christophe Depuichaffray, Area Executive Chef, InterContinental Mark Hopkins and Hotel InterContinental San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

K-12 School Foodservice: Jessica Shelly, Director of Food Services, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati, OH

Quick Service Restaurants: John Hughes, Senior Vice President & Director of Training, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Manasquan, NJ

2011 Award Winners

Business in Industry & Colleges: Chef Martin Breslin, Director of Culinary Operations, Harvard University Dining Services, Cambridge, MA

Casual and Family Dining Restaurants: Chef Regis Holden, Senior Director of Culinary Services, Eat’n Park Restaurants, Homestead, PA

Fine Dining Restaurants: Chef Clifford Pleau, Senior Director, Culinary and Beverage, Seasons 52 Restaurants, Orlando, FL

Hotels & Healthcare: Chef Jacques Wilson, Executive Chef, El Camino Hospital, Mountain View, CA

K-12 School Foodservice: Jenilee McComb, Director, Child Nutrition Program, Provo School District, Provo, UT

Quick Service Restaurants: Chef Dan Barash, Executive Chef, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Atlanta, GA

2010 Award Winners

Business in Industry & Colleges Category: Chef Fred Reynaud, Corporate Executive Chef, Guest Services, Inc., Fairfax, VA

Casual & Family Dining Category: Chef Christopher Jackson, Executive Chef and Owner, Ted & Honey, Brooklyn, NY

Fine Dining Category: Chef Sydney Meers, Chef/Owner, Stove, The Restaurant, Portsmouth, VA

Hotels & Healthcare Category: Chef Michael Reich, Executive Chef, Renaissance Chicago Hotel, Chicago, IL

Quick Service Category: Chef Thomas John, Senior Vice President and Executive Chef, Au Bon Pain, Boston, MA

2009 Award Winners

Business in Industry & Colleges:  Glenn Pruden, CEC, Executive Chef/Assistant Director University Dining, University of Richmond, Richmond, VA

Casual & Family Dining: William Fuller, Corporate Chef, big Burrito Restaurant Group, Pittsburgh, PA

Fine Dining: George Mavrothalassitis, Chef/Owner, Chef Mavro, Honolulu, Hawaii

Hotels & Healthcare: Miles McMath, CEC, Senior Executive Chef, Morrison Specialist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN

Quick Service Restaurants:  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 Award Winners

Business in Industry & Colleges: Jonathan Davey, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

Casual & Family Dining: Reinhard Dorfhuber, Elephant Bar Restaurant, La Mirada, CA

Fine Dining: Tony J. Baker, Montrio Bistro, Monterey, CA 

Hotels & Healthcare: Jean-Paul Hascoat, Peconic Landing, Greenport, NY

Quick Service Restaurants: Dan Coudreaut, McDonald’s USA, Oak Brook, IL

For questions about the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program, contact Miriam Wolk, Vice President, Member Services, at 202.303.3410.

Special thanks to our program sponsor:

ProAct Master High Res Transparent 4.3.13