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IFMA Presents the 63rd Annual Gold Plate Award to Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group Chef/Owner. 

CHICAGO, MAY 20, 2017—Wolfgang Puck, Chef/Owner, Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, was named the 2017 Gold Plate Award winner by IFMA. Wolfgang was nominated by Nestlé Professional and was one of eight outstanding operator executives who were eligible for the award this year after being nominated in March for the IFMA Silver Plate award. Wolfgang represented the Independent Restaurants/Multi-Concept Category.   



“It is indeed a great pleasure to be here and recognized,” Wolfgang said while accepting his award during the IFMA Gold & Silver Plate Celebration that took place in front of more than 700 foodservice professionals. “I’m so proud, and to me this whole thing is like a dream.”

Wolfgang has changed the way Americans cook and eat by combining classic French techniques with California and Asian influences as well as the freshest and finest ingredients. He has also changed the face of dining in cities throughout the nation, first in Los Angeles, then in Las Vegas, where he was the first star chef to create a contemporary fine dining restaurant, paving the way for other celebrated chefs and the city’s metamorphosis into an acclaimed dining destination. 

About the Silver Plate Class of 2017:

In addition to Mr. Puck, the 2017 Silver Plate recipients (and the industry leading companies that nominated them) include:  

  • Chain Full ServiceG.J. Hart, Executive Chairman & CEO, California Pizza Kitchen (nominated by Wayne Farms)
  • Health CarePatti Oliver, Director of Nutrition, UCLA Health (nominated by Hobart Corporation & Basic American Foods)
  • Retail & Specialty FoodserviceChris Gheysens, President & CEO, Wawa Inc. (nominated by Nestlé Professional)
  • Chain Limited ServiceChris Newcomb, Co-founder, President & CEO, Newk’s Eatery (nominated by Wenner Bakery)
  • Elementary & Secondary SchoolsBetti Wiggins, Executive Director, Office of School Nutrition, Detroit Public Schools (nominated by Schwan’s Food Service)
  • Business & Industry/Foodservice ManagementJeff Metz, President & CEO, Metz Culinary Management (nominated by Basic American Foods)
  • Colleges & UniversitiesTed Faulkner, Director of Dining Services, Virginia Tech (nominated by Basic American Foods)

“The Foodservice Industry salutes the 2017 IFMA Gold & Silver Plate winners, who continue the tradition of demonstrating the highest levels of excellence,” said Larry Oberkfell, IFMA President & CEO.

About the Gold Plate & Silver Plate Awards:

Celebrating its 63rd year, the IFMA Gold & Silver Plate Awards are considered the most coveted operator awards in the foodservice industry. The awards pay tribute to leading foodservice operators who have contributed to the advancement of their individual segments and the foodservice industry as a whole.

About the Gold Plate Selection Process:

The Gold Plate Award recipient was determined through secret ballot by a jury of past Silver Plate winners, national trade press editors and foodservice experts. Overseeing the selection process was the chairperson of the International Gold & Silver Plate Society, Julie Stewart, Food Service Director at SAS. The Selection Jury was chaired by Nancy Kruse, The Kruse Company. The ballot was tallied by BDO USA, LLP and kept confidential until the announcement at the Gold & Silver Plate Celebration on May 20.

About Past Gold Plate Winners:

James Collins ('77), Ted Balestreri ('84), Richard Melman ('89), J.W. Marriott Jr. ('93), Joseph K. Fassler ('96), Ralph Brennan ('97), Sally Smith ('09), Timothy J. Dietzler ('10), George L. Miller ('11), Mary Molt ('12), John Metz, Jr. ('13), Jim Broadhurst ('14), John Miller ('15) and Rafi Taherian (’16) are among the renowned operators who have received IFMA Gold Plates over the years.