We really like this platform for showcasing the stalwart efforts of the foodservice industry in what was a year of tremendous challenges, and we hope everyone takes the time to single out a deserving foodservice pro for his or her contributions.
Friday, Jan. 15, is the final day to nominate an outstanding chef or foodservice operator for United Fresh’s 2021 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program. It’s a great opportunity to recognize “the hard work and resilience of foodservice stars to continue supporting their diners and communities, during their most challenging year,” United Fresh said in a recent release.
Now in its 14th year, the United Fresh Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program was created to pay “special tribute to chefs and foodservice operations for excellence in the use of fresh produce in the culinary arts,” and the call is out to nominate a foodservice chef who has done not only outstanding work in incorporating fresh produce into the menu but also who has made it a priority to practice safe handling procedures while engaging with the community. No small task!
All winners in the various categories will be honored during the Retail-Foodservice Celebration planned for United Fresh 2021 June 24-26 in Los Angeles.
The categories are Business in Industry, which recognize chefs who regularly serve a company’s employees and guests in a variety of settings; Casual and Family Dining Restaurants, which include sit-down restaurants with a casual atmosphere; Colleges & Universities, which involves dining services for a college or university and includes cafeteria-style service, on-campus quick-service, more formal dining concepts and special event catering; Fine Dining Restaurants, which include “white tablecloth” which typically serve prepared food for lunch and dinner, or dinner only, with full table service provided in a formal setting, and the meal is served by wait staff; Hospitals and Healthcare, which include hospitals or other healthcare facilities, such as senior living or long term care facilities that serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and possibly open 24/7; Hotels and Resorts, which include hotels (independent and chain), as well as resorts where chefs might in charge of property restaurant concepts, special event catering and room service menus; K-12 School Foodservice, which includes public, private, parochial and charter schools for primary and/or secondary students (K-12) with cooks’ responsibilities likely encompassing cafeteria menus for breakfast and/or lunch, purchasing and distribution, as well as for other school-related meals and events; Quick Service Restaurants, which include establishments primarily engaged in providing foodservice (including snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars) where patrons generally order or select items and pay before eating; and Supermarkets and Retail Operators, which primarily sell food and grocery items to customers but also offer foodservice options that patrons can consume in the store or take out, i.e., an onsite restaurant or café, salad and prepared food bars, and/or a grab & go/prepared meals section.
The nominees will be evaluated by a panel of produce foodservice experts who will select nine wines, one in each category. Criteria for selection include 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.; and recognition among peers and/or by their company, such as awards, additional responsibilities, and training.
For more information about the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program, contact Miriam Wolk, United Fresh Vice President, Member Services, at 202-303-3410.