FoodService Director has undertaken a bold initiative this month by identifying people who we believe are having the biggest impact on non-commercial foodservice. Our list may surprise you and should certainly intrigue you. Our honorees have backgrounds as varied as their personalities. They range from the father of the modern-day food truck to the wife of a sitting president. They include operators and suppliers, chefs and consultants, CEOs and civil servants. There are traditionalists and there are mavericks. Well-known names share space with hot newcomers. In all, 17 people, two groups of individuals and one institution compose the list. It’s time to meet FSD’s 20 Most Influential.
Bon Appétit Management Co.,
Palo Alto, Calif.
An idealist is a person with a dream of changing the world. An idealist with power is a person with the ability to turn that dream into reality. Fedele Bauccio is an idealist with power, and he has been changing the shape of the non-commercial foodservice landscape for 25 years.
The Celebrity Chef
There is no doubt that celebrity chef worship has had a tangible effect on modern foodservice like never before. With the rise of the Food Network, “Top Chef” and countless other food-obsessed media, every customer has become a critic, and often what satisfies them is food with an aura of fame. And it’s not just the customers who have starry eyes.
Kogi Korean BBQ,
The birth of the Kogi Korean BBQ food truck has become the stuff of culinary legend. When the Los Angeles-based fusion food truck made its debut in 2008 it harnessed the perfect storm of culinary know-how and emergence of social media to turn food trucks into a nationwide phenomenon. Roy Choi has been the face of the food truck revolution.
Executive Director of Food Services,
New Haven Public Schools,
New Haven, Conn.
In child nutrition there’s a dichotomy between obesity and hunger. In the New England city that Yale calls home, Tim Cipriano is combatting both sides of that food coin. Cipriano came to the district in the summer of 2008 to transition the department to self-op and remake the program into a healthy dining experience.
Director of Foodservice,
Boulder Valley School District,
Ann Cooper calls herself the Renegade Lunch Lady. What Cooper does shouldn’t be considered renegade. She’s simply bringing together communities to create a healthy school lunch program. So why all the fuss?
The Culinary Institute of America
Hyde Park, N.Y.
No educational institution has done more in recent years to provide guidance for those in non-commercial foodservice than The Culinary Institute of America. Scores of operators have praised the CIA for its efforts to simultaneously provide the tools they need to meet customer demand for healthier foods and more authentic world cuisines and raise awareness of the quality of foodservice found in these segments.
Executive Director of Nutrition Services,
Memphis City Public Schools,
“I was never very good at following the rules,” Tony Geraci once admitted. However, that rule-breaking, whatever-it-takes attitude is exactly what has enabled him to make waves in child nutrition. Take his time in Baltimore City Schools, when Geraci turned an abandoned 33-acre lot into the Great Kids Farm, a learning laboratory for students to experience the produce life cycle firsthand. The project had little funding from the district, so Geraci turned to the community and invited them to lift a hand—literally—in the farm’s creation.
Photo by John Dean
Institute for a Sustainable Future;
Founder, Healthy Food in Health Care,
Hospitals should be bastions of healthy eating behaviors. The notion seems simple, but in reality that wasn’t necessarily happening, according to Jamie Harvie. In 2005 Harvie created Healthy Food in Health Care, an initiative developed with Health Care Without Harm, that helps hospitals make the connection between the health of patients, staff and the community and the foods being served. In 2006, the Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge was launched.
Dayle Hayes, R.D.
Nutrition for the Future,
The saying “any press is good press” is not something Dayle Hayes buys into. After Mrs. Q’s Fed Up with School Lunch blog, a not-so-flattering firsthand account of a teacher eating school lunch in Chicago, Hayes decided to fight back. She did so by starting a Facebook page, School Meals That Rock, to show people that school lunch shouldn’t be a punch line anymore.
Director, Consultant Services,
At Hobart, Dick Hynes might be listed as a consultant, but when it comes to his involvement in the foodservice industry, he does more than consult. He advises, he mentors, he leads, he guides and he champions.
Vice President, Industry Relations,
If influence were measured by mere involvement, Barbara Kane would be at the top of our list. Kane is the current president of the Society for Foodservice Management. She is the chair of the Industry Advisory Board of the Association for Healthcare Foodservice. She is active in the American Dietetic Association, the Women’s Foodservice Forum, the International Food Manufacturers Association, the National Association of College and University Food Services, the National Restaurant Association and more.
Director of Campus Dining Services,
University of Missouri,
Some people influence by getting lots of headlines and making splashy announcements. Others influence by digging in and doing the work. Julaine Kiehn is a digger. What Kiehn has done to influence the industry in her 24 years in foodservice is to help nurture and guide others.
Director of Cal Dining,
University of California, Berkeley
Shawn LaPean lives to serve, and that doesn’t mean just his customers. LaPean is well aware that Berkeley customers are a very different clientele than the “normal” campus culture. LaPean has been able to thrive by acting as a change agent for his department and his peers in foodservice. He was recognized for his efforts with a Silver Plate in 2008.
Assistant Director, Housing and Dining
Kansas State University
If you mention Mary Molt to operators outside of the college and university segment, very often the name will not ring a bell with them. But mention “Food For Fifty” to those same people and usually there is instant recognition, followed by praise for the book, which has been a guide for non-commercial operators and chefs for decades.
First Lady; Creator,
It’s good to have friends in high places. And it doesn’t get much higher than the White House. Never before has one person brought so much attention to school cafeterias. Since her family took up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in early 2009, Michelle Obama has been the biggest advocate on a nationwide basis for child nutrition. She started Lets Move!, a campaign dedicated to solving obesity within a generation.
Official White House photo by Chuck KennedyAndrew Shakman
Co-founder, President & CEO,
Andrew Shakman is not a scientist, just a man with a passion for the environment. But it is precisely that passion that places him on our list. About 10 years ago, Shakman channeled his concern over a problem that has bedeviled many foodservice operators and restaurateurs—waste reduction—into the invention of a food waste tracking system to help operators in the foodservice industry monitor the amount of waste they are producing.
Bill St. John
President and CEO,
Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals
On Jan. 1, the 50-year-old Dietary Managers Association changed its name and its focus as an organization. In becoming the Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals, the organization has acknowledged the need to adapt to a changing foodservice environment and evolving membership.
Students have become the customer of every segment of non-commercial foodservice. They directly influence the operations at K-12 schools and universities through tastings, student dining committees, social media and a variety of other channels. Operators in healthcare and B&I realize that today’s students are their future customers, so keeping up with student demands is imperative to keeping their operations current down the line.
Executive Director of Auxiliary Services,
University of Massachusetts,
It’s exhausting for us as trade journalists to keep up with Ken Toong, so imagine what it’s like for his staff. Toong has turned the dining services department into a renowned entity—in 2011 alone UMass Dining was honored with three national awards. During his tenure at UMass, Toong has increased meal plan participation from 8,900 students in 1999 to 16,075 in 2011. While many operators may have accomplished similar feats, the difference is Toong is eager to share what he has done in order to help others reach similar heights.
Dr. Janey Thornton
Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services,
U.S. Department of Agriculture,
It’s hard to imagine a more dynamic time in child nutrition than the past three years, which corresponds to the start of Janey Thornton’s tenure with the USDA. Appointed by President Obama to the agency in 2009, Thornton was challenged with the administration’s charge to make school meals healthier. Obama and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack clearly thought Thornton had the goods to effect change. After more than 25 years as school nutrition director for Hardin County Schools in Kentucky and serving as SNA’s president in 2006-2007, Thornton had the hands-on experience to provide the federal agency with the voice of the everyday child nutrition director. Something other directors were excited about.