(Dec. 15) The United Fresh Research & Education Foundation, Washington, D.C., is accepting nominations for the 2009 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards.

Sponsored by Pro*Act LLC, Monterey, Calif., the awards honor foodservice companies and chefs for using produce in menu development, correct storage and handling protocols and providing an overall positive dining experience featuring fresh produce.

“We have our retail produce manager award, honoring retail managers who help promote fresh fruits and vegetables. It just makes sense that we would do this for the foodservice side,” said vice president of communications Amy Philpott. “There are so many chefs using creative and innovative ways of incorporating fresh produce into their menus, so we wanted to honor them.”

Selected by a panel of United Fresh member representatives, winners will be named in five business categories: fine-dining restaurants, casual and family-dining restaurants, quick-service restaurants, business in industry/colleges and hotels/health care operations, Philpott said.

“This is our second year, so we’re hoping to have at least 100 entries,” Philpott said. “Last year we had just under that, and we’d like to increase the number that we get.”

Five winning chefs and their corporate executives will win trips to the United Fresh show April 21-24 in Las Vegas. The winners will be honored at the annual awards banquet on April 23, Philpott said.

Nominations are due by Feb. 15, Forms are available online at www.unitedfresh.org.

United Fresh seeks foodservice honorees
Steve Grinstead (from left), president of program sponsor Pro*Act LLC, Monterey, Calif.; award winners executive chef Jean Paul Hascoat of Peconic Landing, Greenport, N.Y.; chef Jonathan Davey of Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; chef Dan Coudreaut of McDonald’s USA, Oakbrook, Ill.; chef Tony J. Baker of Montrio Bistro, Monterey; Phil Muir of Muir Copper Canyon Farms, West Salt Lake City, Utah, and chairman of Pro*Act LLC; and United Fresh President Tom Stenzel on stage at the 2008 awards banquet during the United Fresh show in Las Vegas.

Courtesy United Fresh