Gold Plate award goes to a noncommercial operator

Rafi Taherian, the head of foodservice operations for Yale University, was named the 2016 winner of the Gold Plate, an award recognizing the year’s outstanding foodservice executive.

Taherian, associate vice president of Yale Hospitality, has transformed Yale’s tradition-based foodservice programs since joining the university from Stanford University in 2008.

“I love this industry,” said Taherian. “Tonight this industry showed they love me back.”

He was chosen for one of the industry’s top honors, the equivalent of Operator of the Year, from among the nine foodservice executives who were adjudged the best within their respective channels. Those segment standouts, the winners of a Silver Plate, included:

  • Diane Imrie, University of Vermont Medical Center, healthcare feeding
  • Jeff Denton, Ponca City, Fla., public schools, elementary and secondary schools
  • Mike Barclay, Southern Foodservice Management, business and industry
  • Rick Abramson, Delaware North, specialty foodservice
  • Steve Carley, CEO of Red Robin, winner of the full-service restaurant category
  • Charlie Morrison, CEO of Wingstop, limited service
  • Thom Sehnert, founder-proprietor of Annie Gunn’s and Smokehouse Market, independent restaurants

Winners of the Gold and Silver Plate were chosen by a jury that included past winners and the editors of foodservice publications. The selection group included Peter Romeo, representing FoodService Director and Restaurant Business magazines.

The Silver Plate winners were recognized in a gala event that coincides with the National Restaurant Association’s annual convention in Chicago.

Taherian was named FoodService Director’s 2013 Foodservice Director of the Year.

The Silver and Gold Plate awards are presented by the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association.

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