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The International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (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 will be announced by way of secret ballot at the 63rd Annual Gold & Silver Plate Awards Celebration—taking place Saturday, May 20, during NRA Show Week at the Revel Fulton Market in Chicago's  West Loop neighborhood. 

About the Event

Tickets are now available to attend the 63rd Annual Gold & Silver Plate Awards Celebration, where the winner of the prestigious IFMA Gold Plate for overall industry excellence will be announced. In addition, a new award will be unveiled by the National Restaurant Association that recognizes an operator for their distinguished career in foodservice. For more information, go to

About International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA)
IFMA is the leading trade association comprised of the world's most prestigious food, equipment and supply manufacturers in the $600 billion foodservice industry, as well as related marketing service organizations, trade publications, distributors and brokers. IFMA's Vision is to provide our member community and industry partners the opportunity to enhance the consumer's enjoyment of the foodservice choice. For more information, visit Follow IFMA on Twitter: @IFMAWORLD and Facebook or join our group on LinkedIn