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For the past 25 years, Don Odiorne, vice president of foodservice for the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC), has focused his considerable energies on creating national awareness and customer preference for Idaho Potatoes in the foodservice sector. In recognition his commitment to his industry and his job, The Packer, a leading produce industry publication, selected Odiorne to receive its prestigious 2013 Foodservice Achievement Award during this year’s Produce Marketing Association Foodservice Conference and Expo. In presenting the award, The Packer’s publisher, Shannon Shuman, called Odiorne “a dedicated foodservice professional…a doctor and a rock star.”
In the close-knit foodservice industry, Odiorne is admiringly associated with all three traits. In his years at the IPC, he has launched the mascot career of Stunt Tater and friends; conceptualized and produced the IPC’s annual Chef Calendar (now in its 15th year) that features Idaho potato recipes from twelve well known and emerging culinary stars; spearheaded the IPC Foodservice Toolkit and Potato 101, comprehensive Idaho potato training and usage manuals; shepherded the IPC’s web/online and social networking presence (he contributes to a blog as Dr. Potato); developed both menu promotion and culinary education programs; and expanded its outreach through a team of foodservice regional managers. At the same time, Odiorne remains an active member and participant in produce and foodservice industry organizations, serving as president and treasurer for the International Foodservice Editorial Council (foodservice communicators), and as foodservice board member for the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association and the Produce Marketing Association.
Ever modest about his achievements, Odiorne is pleased with this honor from his industry peers. “It’s pretty exciting to win this award, knowing the caliber of individuals who have received it before me. As a seasoned veteran, I encourage industry newcomers to invest themselves in their foodservice careers. They’ll be rewarded many times over with job satisfaction in a dynamic industry, a valued network of colleagues and relationships, and a vibrant connection to the culinary past, present, and future of our nation.”