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TAMPA, March 7, 2023— The International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) revealed the 69th class of IFMA Silver Plate Award winners today at the association’s 2023 Chain Operators EXchange (COEX) in Tampa, FL. This year’s recipients represent nine foodservice categories.


Since 1954, IFMA has recognized extraordinary operator executives with the IFMA Silver Plate Award. Winners are chosen from a slate of industry nominees by a distinguished jury of trade press editors and previous award winners. One Silver Plate honoree is selected by secret ballot to receive the industry's most coveted recognition—the IFMA Gold Plate. Presentation of the Awards will take place at the 69th Annual IFMA Gold & Silver Plate Awards Celebration in Chicago in May.


“The IFMA Gold & Silver Plate Awards call out extraordinary achievement from operators across all segments of our industry,” said Phil Kafarakis, IFMA President and CEO. “The Awards celebrate the best of food-away-from-home leadership and we’re very proud of the longevity and industry-wide respect the Awards have maintained. I can’t wait to see which of these remarkable winners will receive the annual Gold Plate Award this May.”


The 2023 IFMA Silver Plate Winners:


Independent Restaurants:

Dickie Brennan, Owner & Managing Partner, Dickie Brennan & Company

Nominated by Nestle Professional


Chain Full Service:

David Deno, CEO, Bloomin’ Brands

Nominated by Ecolab


Business & Industry/Foodservice Management:

Sharon Eliatamby, Senior Project Manager, The World Bank Group

Nominated by PepsiCo Foodservice


Colleges & Universities:

Jill Horst, Executive Director, Campus Dining, University of California, Santa Barbara

Nominated by BSI, Hobart, and Nestlé Professional


Travel & Leisure:

Max Knoepfel, Executive Chef, Music City Center

Nominated by Basic American Foods


Chain Limited Service:

Rob Lynch, President & CEO, Papa John’s International 

Nominated by PepsiCo Foodservice


Grocery, Convenience, & Specialty Retail:

Mendy Meriwether, Director, Fresh Food & Beverage, Wawa

Nominated by Tyson Foodservice


Elementary & Secondary Schools:

Jessica Shelly, Director, Student Dining Services, Cincinnati Public Schools

Nominated by Nestlé Professional and P&G Professional



Randall J Sparrow, Director, Food & Environmental Services, ProHealth Care

Nominated by Ecolab and PepsiCo Foodservice


The 69th Annual IFMA Gold & Silver Plate Awards Celebration will take place on Saturday night, May 20 at the historic Chicago Union Station. The celebration is open to the industry and will bring together past Gold and Silver Plate winners with esteemed individuals from across foodservice to honor and celebrate the 2023 class. The winner of the industry’s most prestigious award—the coveted IFMA Gold Plate – will be revealed that evening. Reserve tickets and tables at www.ifmaworld.com/events.


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About International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA)

IFMA is a trade association that has served its industry for 70+ years. IFMA’s mission is to equip food-away-from-home manufacturers with the tools needed to navigate the future with confidence. By providing insights, fostering best practices, and developing networking and educational opportunities through events, IFMA enlightens its members and motivates change to improve both individual member organizations and the foodservice industry at large. For more information, visit IFMAworld.com. Follow IFMA on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.


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