Selected from more than 100 nominations, eight chefs and foodservice professionals will be honored in June as part of the United Fresh Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program.
The program, sponsored by Pro*Act LLC, is in its 10th year and honors chefs and their companies for innovative use of fresh produce, according to a news release.
Winners will be honored at the United Fresh 2017 convention and trade show, June 13-15 in Chicago.
“Year after year, these award-winning chefs and foodservice professionals continue to impress us with their creativity and ingenuity,” Pro*Act president and CEO Max Yeater said in the release. “We are so proud to be the sponsor of the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards since the inception of the program, and we thank all of the chefs and foodservice operations who dedicate their efforts to increase the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.”
United Fresh Produce Association president and CEO Tom Stenzel said the association is proud to honor foodservice professionals and their role in showcasing fruits and vegetables.
“We appreciate their tremendous commitment and recognize Pro*Act’s continued generosity and support in honoring these winners and their positive impact on our nation’s dining habits, and we look forward to celebrating the program’s tenth anniversary at United Fresh 2017 in Chicago.”
The winners will be featured in a panel discussion on the United Fresh 2017 trade show floor in the FreshMKT Learning Center on June 15, and will be presented with their awards that evening, according to the release.
The 2017 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award winners are:
  • Business in Industry: Ted Mathesius, executive chef, Adobe Café Lehi/Bon Appetit Management Company, Lehi, Utah;
  • Casual & Family Dining Restaurants: Shane Schaibly, corporate chef and vice president of Culinary Strategy, First Watch Restaurants Inc., Brandenton, Fla.;
  • Colleges & Universities: Eric Lindstrom, deputy director of retail dining/executive chef, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.;
  • Fine Dining Restaurants: Varin Keokitvon, chef, Heartwood Provisions, Seattle;
  • Hospitals & Healthcare: Ralph Chavez, system executive chef, Touchpoint Healthcare Services, Austin, Texas;
  • Hotels & Resorts: Matt Smith, executive chef, Sheraton Columbus Hotel at Capitol Square, Columbus, Ohio;
  • K-12 School Foodservice: Robert Cuellar Jr., child nutrition program director, Laredo Independent School District, Laredo, Texas;
  • Quick Service Restaurants: Lacey Hudgins, head of product development, Wildflower Bread Co., Scottsdale, Ariz.;