(Sept. 29) CHEF OF THE YEAR

Roderick Smith, certified executive chef of The Country Club of Florida at Village of Golf in Palm Beach County, was named Chef of the Year at the American Culinary Federation’s annual convention in Washington, D.C., in July. He competed in a culinary competition with three other regional finalists.

“I want to dedicate this award to all the chefs and cooks who have delivered 500 covers with only three people on the line,” he said to the audience of 1,100 at the convention grand ball.

Smith received a trophy, a check for $5,000 and a chef’s jacket embroidered with 2003 Chef of the Year.

FOODSERVICE WINNERS

Joe Redden accepted Produce Concepts’ /The Packer’s second annual Foodservice Achievement ward on behalf of Wendy’s International Inc., Dublin, Ohio, from publisher Robb Bertels at the Produce Marketing Association’s Foodservice Conference in Monterey, Calif., in July. Redden is director of supply chain management.

Bertels recognized Wendy’s for advances it has made for itself and for the produce industry with its Garden Sensations line of gourmet salads.

The show also featured these new products from produce suppliers:

ARTICHOKES: Ocean Mist Farms, Castroville, Calif., introduced a 10-pound carton of baby artichokes for small foodservice operators. They previously were available only in 22-pound cartons.

BANANAS: Apio Inc., Guadalupe, Calif., offers bagged bananas in controlled-atmosphere packaging, which extends the shelf life by three days.

CANTALOUPE: New Produce Network, Ladera Ranch, Calif., introduced the bella heart cantaloupe, which has a sweet, creamy flesh and green suturing on the rind that changes colors to match the rest of the melon as it ripens.

CILANTRO: Bonipak Produce Co., Santa Maria, Calif., introduced 8-ounce and 1-pound packs of washed cilantro for smaller restaurant operators.

LETTUCE: Dole Fresh Vegetables Inc., Salinas, Calif., showed its new 64-ounce foodservice pack of Just Lettuce for restaurants. The pack contains 55% iceberg lettuce and 45% romaine lettuce.

Epic Roots LLC, Salinas, introduced a 1.5-pound bag of Tre Savore salad, which includes a colorful mix of mache, endigia and frisee.

Natural Selection Foods LLC, San Juan Bautista, Calif., introduced two salad blends in 3-pound pillow packs. The Bella Verde blend contains arugula, belgian endive and frisee. The Bistro Blend features mache, frisee, pea greens, red mustard and an assortment of baby lettuces.

MUSHROOMS: Monterey Mushrooms, Watsonville, Calif., cleans white mushrooms for you and offers them in 40-ounce packages under the Clean N Ready label.

South Mill Mushrooms Sales Inc., Kennett Square, Pa., also now offers ready-to-eat, washed white mushrooms, either whole or sliced, in 3-, 5- and 10-pound boxes.

Phillips Mushroom Farms, Kennett Square, now offers a 4.5-pound bulk variety pack , which contains oyster, crimini and shiitake mushrooms.

RASPBERRIES: Driscoll Strawberry Associates Inc., Watsonville, Calif., now offers long-stem raspberries — which are available in 7-ounce clamshells, six per case — appropriate for chocolate dipping.

SNAP PEAS: Metz Fresh LLC, King City, Calif., introduced sweet, stringless snap peas in 5-pound packs available year-round.

TROPICAL FRUIT MIX: Simply Fresh Fruit, Los Angeles, now offers a fresh-cut tropical fruit mix featuring cantaloupe, honeydew, orange, pineapple, red grapes and papaya.

VEGETABLES: River Ranch Fresh Foods LLC, Salinas, introduces broccoli miniflorets, cauliflower florets and Popeye field select spinach.

STATE OF THE PLATE

Those who attended the American Culinary Federation annual convention in Washington, D.C., in July had the opportunity to discuss trends in fruit and vegetable consumption. Brenda Fried, director of foodservice for the Produce for Better Health Foundation, Wilmington, Del., highlighted the results of a survey published in the PBH report “State of the Plate: Study on America’s consumption of fruits and vegetables.” Here are some of the highlights:

  • Per capita consumption of vegetables declined 18% between 1990 and 2002 while consumption of fruit declined 11%.


  • The most consumed vegetables are potatoes, tomatoes and lettuce. The most consumed fruits are fruit juice, bananas and apples/applesauce.


  • The top uses for fruit are with cereal and in salads. The top uses for vegetables are casseroles, salads and sandwiches.


  • Seventy-two percent of produce is consumed at dinner compared to 23% consumed at lunch.


  • Older consumers are more likely to consume five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Nearly 40% of those age 65 or older achieve 5 a Day compared to 20% of those ages 13-54.


  • Men are 70% more likely to achieve 5 a Day than women.


To order a copy of the report for $35, contact Produce for Better Health Foundation, 5341 Limestone Road, Wilmington, DE 19808; phone: (302) 235-2329; Web: www.5aday.com.