Bon Appétit Management Co. founder/CEO Fedele Bauccio has been honored with one of the inaugural James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards. The new awards were established to recognize visionaries in the business, government, and education sectors responsible for creating a healthier, safer, and more sustainable food world.
Beside Baucciothe honorees include First Lady Michelle Obama, for her fight against childhood obesity; Edible Schoolyard revolutionary Alice Waters; sustainable agriculture pioneer Fred Kirschenmann; urban-farming superhero Will Allen; and the other distinguished luminaries Debra Eschmeyer, Sheri L. Flies, Jan Kees Vis, Janet Poppendieck, and Craig Watson.
The Leadership Awards represent a new focal point for the James Beard Foundation as the culinary arts organization enters its 25th anniversary year.
“Our Foundation is widely known for recognizing the best chefs and restaurateurs in America through our annual James Beard Awards,” says James Beard Foundation President Susan Ungaro. “Our new Leadership Awards shine the spotlight on game-changing pioneers who have inspired positive action to improve our country’s food system.”
Honorees were chosen by an advisory board comprised of a dozen experts from diverse areas of expertise. The Leadership Awards recognize specific outstanding initiatives as well as bodies of work and lifetime achievement. Among the criteria used to select final honorees are excellence of work, innovation in approach, and scale of impact within a community or the nation.
Under Bauccio’s leadership, Bon Appétit has provided “food services for a sustainable future” since 1987. Bauccio believes that sustainability is an ever-expanding goal that the company must work toward, involving the well-being of not only its customers, but also the communities in which it operates and the Earth itself.
Bon Appétit launched its Farm to Fork program in 1999. Its chefs now buy much of their food from a network of more than a thousand small, owner-operated farms and artisans within 150 miles of the company’s 400-plus cafes in 31 states.
“Quality ingredients grown and raised with care are what make our food flavorful and great-tasting,” says Bauccio. “We’re also happy that our Farm to Fork program keeps farmers on the land and strengthens the communities we work in.”
The inaugural cohort of recipients of the Leadership Awards will be honored at a ceremony and dinner prepared by James Beard Award-winning chefs Michel Nischan and Anne Quatrano during the second annual James Beard Foundation Food Conference, cohosted by Good Housekeeping, which will take place on October 12 and 13 at the Hearst Tower in New York City.