LAS VEGAS — The United Fresh Produce Association will honor five chefs with the inaugural “Produce Excellence in Foodservice” award here at its Chairman's Reception and Annual Awards Banquet at Bally's Hotel on May 6.
Modeled after United Fresh's Retail Produce Manager Award, the foodservice award was developed to recognize chefs who are incorporating fresh produce into their menus in exciting, unique ways. Almost 100 nominations were submitted by restaurants and produce companies for this inaugural award, sponsored by Pro*Act, a leading U.S. distributor of produce to the foodservice industry.
Winners were selected in five separate categories by a panel of produce industry representatives focused on the foodservice sector, who scored the nominees based on submissions that describe how the chefs incorporate fresh produce into their menus, how they develop and use protocols for proper storage and handling of produce, and how they use produce to create an overall positive dining experience.
This year's winners are chef Tony Baker, Montrio Bistro, Monterey, Calif., in the fine dining category; chef Reinhard Dorhuber, Elephant Bar Restaurant, La Mirada, Calif., in the casual and family dining category; chef Daniel Coudreaut, director of culinary innovation, McDonald's USA, Oak Brook, Ill., in the quick service category; chef Jonathan Davey, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, in the business in industry and colleges category; and chef JP Hagot, Peconic Landing, Greenport, N.Y. in the hotels and health care category.
“The response to this first-year program was really exciting. We received so many excellent nominations from chefs around the country and from very diverse foodservice operations,” Amy Philpott, United Fresh vice president of marketing and industry relations, said in a release. “We encourage chefs and companies around the country to begin thinking about next year's nominations.”
The winning chefs, and a corporate or management representative from their company, will receive complimentary airfare, hotel accommodations for two nights and free registration for the United Fresh show, May 5-7. Other conference attendees can get tips directly from these award winners when they discuss their views on current produce trends at the “Foodservice Trends to Explode Produce Sales” session at 9:15 a.m. on Tuesday, May 6, at Bally's.
“With Pro*Act's generous support, we're delighted to honor individuals and companies that are committed to incorporating fresh produce into menu offerings,” said Tom Stenzel, president of United Fresh. “And what better place than Las Vegas to celebrate the culinary arts?”