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The awards are presented to winners at the Penton Foodservice Group’s annual MUFSO Conference, which will be held in Dallas, Sept. 30-Oct. 2. Also look for full winner profiles in August, online and in the FM August issue.
Best Wellness Initiative, Special Event and more
Best Wellness Initiative
Hallmark Cards, Inc.’s “Health Rewards Program”
This wellness incentive program allows Hallmark employees to earn up to $250/points a year which they can take in the form of cash or as a gift card. To earn points, they participate in wellness education programs, undergo preventative care and/or demonstrate weight loss. Points are automatically uploaded for formal program participation. On the dining front, the in-house dining program has committed to offering healthy choices and offers a 25% discount on them, a significant incentive.
The cafeteria has a whole Health Works section for these selections. Dining services also participates in the education program, providing highly visible nutritional information about food items; it also offers nutritional education sessions and educational displays during the company’s Wellness promotion period, when vendors come on campus to detail wellness and health related products and services.
The program was noted because it demonstrates a full-featured wellness program that clearly achieves the active participation of a large percentage of company employees.
Best Special Event
The Ohio State University Medical Center’s “Top Docs” program
Top Docs is modeled on popular Top Chefs style Food Network culinary competitions but goes well beyond being a simple “wannabe” program. It is designed both to highlight the culinary expertise residing in OSUMC’s dining department and to promote the hospital’s JamesCare for Life program, which supports cancer survivors and their families.
The event took place this past March and featured four teams, each pairing an OSUMC chef with a top oncologist for the hospital. The teams then competed as they developed and prepared a meal using a mystery basket of ingredients, including many believed to have therapeutic value for cancer survivors. Judged by prominent local chefs (including Cameron Mitchell and Chris Doody) and the food editor from the Columbus Dispatch, the event garnered significant local publicity, which was the intent.
The event went beyond the “monotony breaker” goal of most such programs and achieved multiple goals, including nutrition education, patient support service and promotional value for both the medical center’s foodservices department and the JamesCare for Life progam.
Most Creative Menu and Dining Concept
UCLA’s “Feast at Rieber”
As part of a dining hall remodel, this all-you-care-to-eat facility completely re-designed its servery and menu concept to serve a mix of seven Asian cuisines exclusively: Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Indian and Hawaiian. Two of the seven are featured at each meal on a rotating basis, with stations offering a mix of traditional and innovative fusion creations inspired by these cuisines.
The menu database consists of over a thousand recipes. Two exhibition stations focus on authentic entrees and combination plates, while the Market and Grill stations serve up fusion and Asian-inspired creations. A self-service side dish bar offers a selection of fresh and traditional sides, such as Indian puffed rice or Korean kimchi. There’s also a full salad/soup bar and a dessert bar featuring authentic Asian selections and condiments.
Rieber is located at one of the high points of the UCLA campus, where a long stair climb historically has tended to reduce participation levels. The “Feast at Rieber” concept has reversed that effect and has proven especially popular with the very large student population of Asian heritage.
The dining hall and menu concept breaks new ground in the way it goes well beyond offering authentic cuisine by giving its chefs a creative environment in which innovative new menu offerings can be developed by crossing traditional culinary lines.
Best Convenience Retailing Concept
New Haven Public Schools’ Summer Food Truck Program
New Haven (CT) Schools' food truck delivers free meals to children in underserved neighborhoods in the interim period between the end of the district's summer meals program and the beginning of school. The $20,000 vehicle, donated by United Way of Greater New Haven, debuted for 20 days last year, serving free breakfast and snacks to youngsters 18 and under in inner city neighborhoods. This year, it will be offering whole grain cereal for breakfast and alternating deli sandwich and salad, both accompanied by fruit, for lunch and dinner. It has been cited by First Lady Michelle Obama as an "innovative way" to improve child nutrition. The program was recognized for the highly creative way it allows a school nutrition program to extend the reach of USDA’s summer feeding program to address hunger and nutrition challenges in urban neighborhoods.
Food Management’s editors base their award decisions on a variety of factors, ranging from the impact of a given program, its effectiveness in achieving targeted results, the impact it may have on others in the field and the level of innovation it represents when considered in light of standard practices in a given noncommercial segment of the foodservice industry.
Nominations are solicited from the industry over the course of the preceding year and are also made by the magazine’s editors. The winning concepts are the result of team efforts, and team members are cited individually in the special Best Concepts editorial package that appears in the August issue of Food Management and on its website, food-management.com.
The awards are presented to winners at the Penton Foodservice Group’s annual Conference, which will be held in Dallas later this year on Sept. 30-Oct. 2.