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Gold Plate announcement postponed until November due to coronavirus

This year's winner will be revealed five months later than usual.
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The announcement of this year’s winner of the Gold Plate Award, an honor synonymous with foodservice operator of the year, has been postponed until Nov. 2 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) had originally planned to announce the winner at a gala banquet on May 16 in Chicago, the traditional time and place of year for the big reveal. With Illinois now under a state of emergency because of the epidemic, IFMA said it has rescheduled the announcement until its Presidents Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The Gold Plate winner is selected from among the winners of the Silver Plates, an annual honor bestowed on the individual selected as the best foodservice operator within his or her market segment. This year, eight operators were named Silver Plate winners. Included among the winners from noncommercial foodservice were:

  • Eric Eisenberg, director of dining services, Rogue Valley Manor, in the Healthcare category.
  • Bertrand Weber, director of culinary and wellness services, Minneapolis Public Schools, Elementary and Secondary Schools.
  • Zia Ahmed, senior director of dining services, The Ohio State University, Colleges & Universities.
  • Victoria Vega, SVP of the specialty group, Unidine Corp., Business & Industry/Foodservice Management.

The Silver Plate winners were selected by a jury consisting of past winners and editors from the foodservice media, including FoodService Director Editor-at-Large Peter Romeo.

The jurists vote by secret ballot for whom among the Silver Plate winners deserves to be named the best of the best, the Gold Plate recipient. The winner is kept a secret until the sealed voting results are revealed at the annual Silver Plate dinner.

Past Gold Plate winners have included Rafi Taherian, associate VP of Yale Hospitality, the foodservice operations of Yale University; John Metz Jr., CEO of Sterling Hospitality; and Mary Molt, assistant director of housing and dining services at Kansas State University.

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