Two Portland foodservice industry members, both nominated by Portland’s Pacific Coast Fruit, were winners of 2022 awards presented at the July 28-29 International Fresh Produce Association Conference in Monterey.
The two winners are Whitney Ellersick, Portland Public School’s Sr. Dir. of Nutrition Service, and Crisp Salad founder Emma Dye (shown in the featured image).
Whitney was the winner of the International Fresh Produce Association (IPFA) Excellence in Foodservice Award in the K-12 School Foodservice category, and Emma took home the award in Excellence in Foodservice Award for Quick Service Restaurant.
Ellersick and Dye, along with six other award winners, were honored by IFPA program that recognizes chefs and foodservice operations for their produce innovation, creativity and all-around excellence in the use of fresh produce in the culinary arts.
According to a PCF Company release, the company’s mission is “provide fresh and nutritious produce to the greater Portland community and is deeply rooted in its 45 years of operation. As a Portland-based, family-owned and operated business, the company strives to find ways to educate the community about local produce and living a healthy lifestyle, and its long-standing partnership with the Portland Public Schools (PPS) is a perfect example of the mission.”
PCF Co had developed a strong relationship with Whitney that “has changed the landscape of public school lunches. Whitney spearheaded the removal of a centralized kitchen and developed larger in-school kitchens so that the cooking and preparation is done in-house, which provides fresher, non-processed options for the students.
In addition to building out kitchens, PPS is also rebuilding the lunchroom itself to be more open and inviting. Whitney’s goal is to make the school lunchroom as connected to the students’ education as their math or science rooms. Her team prioritizes buying local products from vendors like PCF Co. and switches up the menu to reflect the cultures of the students.
The IFPA has prioritized dedicating time and resources to working with local and national government agencies to gain more funding and research for the K-12 programs. PCF Co is a proud sponsor this year of the first dedicated K-12 forum that will focus on topics related to food service in the education segment.
“This well-deserved award showcases all the strides that Whitney and PPS have made over the years,” the release said. Whitney commented that she was excited about the new school year and has many more plans to grow the program, including the opening of the new kitchen at Lincoln High School and breaking ground on the new projects for a few other schools including Benson High School.
In the IFPA Excellence in Foodservice Award for Quick Service Restaurant, Emma was presented with the award for the first Chop Salad Quick Service Restaurant in Portland
“In 2015, Emma brought the first made-to-order chopped salad option to the greater Portland market. Having a passion for health and a previous career that forced her to always be on the go, she saw a gap in the market to provide a healthy and delicious to-go option for Portland residences,” the PCF release said.
It added, “Since the opening, Emma focused on online ordering and delivery, which served the restaurant favorably during the pandemic. Crisp was able to successfully deliver healthy food with fresh local produce from Pacific Coast Fruit Company during the lockdown.”
Crisp, in addition to providing versatile options such as vegan, vegetarian, protein forward and keto for all Portland homes, also donates to community organizations every month.
“Understanding that the success of Crisp is because of the Portland community, Emma always wants to give back to her neighbors,” the release said. Crisp donates at least 10 percent of their its profits to organizations such as Self Enhancement, Inc., Friends of the Children, Community Warehouse, and Willamette Give!Guide.
And, the release noted, “This international award comes ahead of some exciting news for Emma and her restaurants.” It said that Crisp “will soon be available in the Moda center for all Blazers games and various concerts and events. The club level will have a Crisp Express showcasing three top salads and grab-and-go options in other areas of the stadium.”