(May 19, PACKER WEB EXCLUSIVE) United Fresh Produce Association honored the winners of the 2008 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award at its annual awards banquet in Las Vegas on May 6.

The winners were determined by a panel of industry representatives based upon submissions describing how each nominee incorporates fresh produce into menu development, uses protocols for correct storage and handling of produce and builds and overall positive dining experience featuring fresh produce, according to an association news release.

The award in the fine dining category went to chef Tony Baker, Montrio Bistro, Monterey, Calif.

Baker was recognized for his use of produce to drive his menu offerings, as well as his commitment to sustainability, which includes using local produce and using proper storage and handling procedures.

“Our guests expect us to take a certain amount of environmental responsibility,” he said in the news release. “Although we are not a completely green restaurant, we do our part by recycling food oil, plastic, foil, glass and paper cardboard.”

In the casual and family dining category, the award winner was chef Reinhard Dorfhuber, Elephant Bar Restaurant, La Mirada, Calif.

Dorfhuber is known for his quarterly menu promotions highlighting seasonal produce. His commitment to healthy food is demonstrated in his emphasis on salads and fresh sides.

For the quick service category, the winner was chef Dan Coudreaut, director of culinary innovation for McDonald’s USA, Oak Brook, Ill.

Since joining the fast-food giant in 2004, Coudreaut has overseen the development of such healthy menu items as edamame, snow peas, mandarin oranges and salads featuring 16 different greens, according to the news release.

The award in the business in industry and colleges category was presented to chef Jonathan Davey, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

Overseeing menu development for campus foodservice operations, Davey is responsible for thousands of meals each day. In order to cater to a diverse group of customers, he has developed such dishes as fried basil and lotus root chips, but his specialty is his vegan cuisine, according to the release.

Hotels and healthcare category winner executive chef Jean-Paul Hascoat, Peconic Landing, Greenport, N.Y., uses only fresh produce in his recipes at the upscale assisted living community on eastern Long Island. He encourages healthy eating by including fresh fruits and vegetables in his menus, including two daily soups using local produce and freshly prepared salads, according to the release.