Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards

The United Fresh Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program, now in its fourteenth year, pays special tribute to chefs and foodservice operations for excellence in the use of fresh produce in the culinary arts. 

Watch our webinar from July 13 featuring insights from the 2021 winners!

Foodservice Insights from Award-Winning Chefs

Hear from this year’s winners who are designing menus that delight their diners with fresh fruits and vegetables and learn about their latest strategies for increasing produce consumption at foodservice.

Watch on-demand

The 2021 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award winners were recognized at the PMA Foodservice Conference July 21-22 in Monterey, CA. 

Congratulations to the 2021 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award winners!

  • Business in Industry:
    • Chef Stephen Palm, Director of Culinary, Lifeworks Restaurant Group, Beaverton, OR

  • Casual & Family Dining Restaurants:
    • Chef Sachia Tinsley, Chef/Owner, Peyrassol Café at Southport, Renton, WA

  • Colleges & Universities:
    • Chef Darren Lewis, Executive Chef, Dining Services, Quest Food Management Services at University of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN

  • Fine Dining Restaurants:
    • Chef Kyle Patrick Hash, Executive Chef, 28 North Gastropub, Melbourne, FL

  • Hospitals & Healthcare:
    • Chef Samantha Moore, Head Chef, Goshen Health, Goshen, IN

  • Hotels & Resorts:
    • Chef Kristin Butterworth, Executive Chef of Restaurants, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa, Farmington, PA

  • K-12 School Foodservice:
    • Lauren Couchois, Culinary Specialist, Greenville County School District, Greenville, SC

  • Quick Service Restaurants:
    • Chef Matt Colgan, Culinary Director, MIXT, San Francisco, CA

  • Supermarkets & Retail Operators:
    • Sarah Griswold, Prepared Foods Manager, Green Zebra Grocery, Portland, OR


Thank you to our program sponsor:

About The Categories

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.

Casual & 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.

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.

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.

Hospitals & Healthcare – This category includes hospitals or other healthcare facilities, such as senior living or long term care facilities. 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.

Hotels & Resorts – This category includes hotels (independent and chain), as well as resort properties. This might include chefs in charge of property restaurant concepts, special event catering and room service menus.

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.

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.

Supermarkets & Retail Operators – This category includes establishments that primarily sell food and grocery items to customers, but who also offer foodservice options that patrons can consume in the store or take out.  This might include an onsite restaurant or café, salad and prepared food bars, and/or a grab & go/prepared meals section. 


Selection Criteria

A panel of produce foodservice experts evaluated nominees on the following criteria:

  • 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
  • Adaptations and new practices developed in response to challenges brought on by the pandemic
  • 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

Benefits of Participating

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.
  • Foodservice executives can recognize their culinary professionals at no cost.
  • Winning foodservice operations are recognized as leaders in the use of fresh produce.

Past Winners2008-2020

2020 Award Winners

Business in Industry: Chef Michael Smith, Executive Chef, Company Kitchen, Omaha, NE

Casual & Family Dining Restaurants: Chef Travis Peters, Executive Chef, The Parish, Tucson, AZ

Colleges & Universities: Chef Joey Martin & Al Ferrone, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

Fine Dining Restaurants: Chef Bonnie Morales, Executive Chef & Owner, Katchka, Portland, OR

Hospitals & Healthcare: Chef Laura Gomez, Executive Chef, The Stratford, Carmel, IN

Hotels & Resorts: Chef Daniel Bruce, The Boston Harbor Hotel, Boston, MA

K-12 School Foodservice: Chef Mike Yip, District Chef, Union Public Schools, Tulsa, OK

Quick Service Restaurants: Marissa Thiry, Nutrition Specialist, Taco Bell, Irvine, CA

Supermarkets & Retail Operators: Chef Randy Weed, Vice President Culinary, Plum Market, Farmington Hills, MI  

2019 Award Winners

Business in Industry: Chef Allan Wambaa, Executive Chef PCIII, CEC, pacificwild Catering, Oregon Convention Center, Portland, OR

Casual & Family Dining Restaurants: Peter Rosenberg, Director of Operations Support & 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

Fine Dining Restaurants: Chef Brian Clevenger, Owner, General Harvest Restaurants, Seattle, WA

Hospitals & Healthcare: Chef Jeffrey Quasha, Corporate Executive R & D Chef, Morrison Healthcare, Savannah, GA

Hotels & Resorts: Chef Lance S. Cook, CEC, CCA, WCEC, CFBE, FSM, Executive Chef, Hammock Dunes Club, Palm Coast, FL

K-12 School Foodservice: Bertrand Weber, Director of Culinary & Wellness Services, Minneapolis Public Schools, Minneapolis, MN

Quick Service Restaurants: Chef Brandon Hudson, Corporate Chef, Jason’s Deli, Grand Prairie, TX

2018 Award 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

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 more information about the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program, contact Miriam Wolk, Vice President, Member Services at 202-303-3410.