May 1, 2020
The first of the month, for me, always indicates a new start. As we say good-bye (and good riddance) to another month of quarantine, social distancing and disrupted business, I’m optimistic that maybe we’ve been through the worst. Here in the epicenter of New York City, I sense I’m not alone in thinking we’re turning the corner toward a much more positive future.
I’ve shared that my business at Baldor has been all about the restaurant and hospitality community. Yes, we’re reinventing ourselves in these dark days, but I’m also confident that, one day, our city’s finest restaurants and hotels will be brimming with business. That’s why I’m excited that United Fresh announced our Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award Program winners today.
These are nine of the country’s most innovative chefs and foodservice professionals representing an array of culinary styles and backgrounds. Even though most of these chefs have seen their dining rooms close, they’ve demonstrated fortitude and creativity to help their communities and find new ways to operate in this unprecedented environment. From quick-serve to casual to fine dining, these chefs have made it a priority to support the health and well-being of their communities during this time.
It’s also fun that today we celebrate School Lunch Hero Day, honoring those frontline school food heroes who are still serving kids and their families in so many creative ways! Our award winner in the K-12 School Foodservice category, Chef Mike Yip, District Chef at Union Public Schools in Tulsa, OK, shared how his 180 colleagues are the real heroes.
“Our team members are truly super-heroes with no capes! Schools use a labor metric of number of meals produced per labor hour. Normally we aim for 17-20 meals per labor hour, but now we are producing 56-58 meals per labor hour! Many fresh fruits and vegetables are being provided every day!”
We’ll be honoring all of these chef winners at our general session on United Fresh LIVE! Thursday, June 18, so be sure to join us and foodservice leaders from around the world for that special occasion. And a big shout out to FreshEdge, our program sponsor. It is the support of companies like FreshEdge that not only helps us honor these chefs, but deliver the every-day value that United Fresh has made so apparent throughout this crisis.
Please join me in looking to the future with optimism!