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CHICAGO, MARCH 7, 2017—IFMA has announced the recipients of its 2017 Silver Plate Awards. Eight Silver Plate category winners were unveiled by the 2016 Gold Plate Honoree Rafi Taherian, Associate Vice President, Yale Hospitality at Yale University, at the annual IFMA Chain Operators EXchange (COEX) in Las Vegas.

The annual IFMA Gold & Silver Plate Awards enables the industry to honor the nation’s top foodservice operator talent. Silver Plate winners are nominated by IFMA members and industry leaders, then selected by a distinguished jury including national trade press, foodservice experts and past Gold and Silver Plate award winners. From the Silver Plate winners, one is chosen by the jury to receive the industry's most prestigious recognition, IFMA’s 2017 Gold Plate Award, revealed at the Gold & Silver Plate dinner celebration in May.

"For 63 years now, the Gold & Silver Plate awards have been the pinnacle award for individual excellence in our foodservice industry," said IFMA President and CEO, Larry Oberkfell. “The 2017 Silver Plate Class continues this excellent record with winners that demonstrate the best of our industry. All eight set the standard in their respective segments and we honor them as the best of the best.”



2017 Silver Plate Winners:

  • Independent Restaurants/Multi-Concept: Wolfgang Puck, Chef/Owner, Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group (nominated by Nestlé Professional)
  • Chain Full Service: G.J. Hart, Executive Chairman & CEO, California Pizza Kitchen (nominated by Wayne Farms)
  • Chain Limited Service: Chris Newcomb, Co-founder, President & CEO, Newk’s Eatery (nominated by Wenner Bakery)
  • Health Care: Patti Oliver, Director of Nutrition, UCLA Health (nominated by Hobart Corporation & Basic American Foods)
  • Elementary & Secondary Schools: Betti Wiggins, Executive Director, Office of School Nutrition, Detroit Public Schools (nominated by Schwan’s Food Service)
  • Colleges & Universities: Ted Faulkner, Director of Dining Services, Virginia Tech (nominated by Basic American Foods)
  • Business & Industry/Foodservice Management: Jeff Metz, President & CEO, Metz Culinary Management (nominated by Basic American Foods)
  • Retail & Specialty Foodservice: Chris Gheysens, President & CEO, Wawa Inc. (nominated by Nestlé Professional)


The Gold Plate Award was announced by way of secret ballot at the 63rd Annual Gold & Silver Plate Awards Celebration—on Saturday, May 20, during NRA Show Week at the Revel Fulton Market in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. 

For more information, go to www.IFMAWorld.com/gsp.