The competition is underway again to honor companies and chefs among the foodservice industry’s top produce performers in the United Fresh Research and Education Foundation’s Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards.

Winners will be honored in each of five business categories: Fine Dining Restaurants, Casual and Family Dining Restaurants, Quick Serve Restaurants, Business in Industry/Colleges and Hotels/Healthcare Operations. Nominations must be submitted before February 15, 2009, and a nomination form is available online at

“There are thousands of chefs who work hard every day to include fresh produce in their offerings to diners,” says Tom Stenzel, president of United Fresh. “With Pro*Act’s generous support, we are able to honor individuals and companies that are committed to incorporating fresh produce into menu offerings.”

Either individual chefs or companies can be nominated. Winners will be selected based on examples of how nominees incorporate fresh produce into menu development, use protocols for correct storage and handling of produce, and build an overall positive dining experience featuring fresh produce. Winners will be selected by a panel of United Fresh member representatives focused on excellence in the foodservice sector.

The five winning chefs and their corporate executives will receive complimentary airfare, two nights’ hotel accommodations and registrations to the United Fresh show, April 21-24, 2009 in Las Vegas. The winners will receive their awards at the Annual Awards Banquet Thursday evening, April 23. The chefs will also participate in United Fresh’s convention education program to share their views on produce trends in foodservice.

Now in their second year, the United Fresh Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards are sponsored by Pro*Act, LLC. “In the foodservice business, the chef and the menu that he or she develops are at the heart of the dining experience, and Pro*Act is proud to support this program, honoring chefs who make it a point to incorporate fresh produce into their menu items,” says Steve Grinstead, Pro*Act president and CEO.

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