FARE Announces Participants for 2nd Annual Culinary Competition

Contestants span QSR, noncommercial, convenience store, hospitality channels

FARE Andrew Franco, executive chef for Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes, and Laurence Shiner, executive chef at Western Illinois University (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Foodservice)

2013 competition winners Andrew Franco, executive chef for Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes, and Laurence Shiner, executive chef at Western Illinois University.

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. -- FARE 2014, produced by CSP Business Media, has announced the contestants of its second annual Culinary Competition, which will take place during the conference, Monday, June 16.

This year's event consists of four teams of two who will be tasked to create an innovative dish from a market basket of mandatory ingredients along with a limited pantry of staple items for a panel of five judges. Items will be judged on taste, creativity, presentation and portability/convenience.

Competing in the event is All-Pro running back and current foodservice entrepreneur Herschel Walker. Following his 15-year professional football career, Walker founded and is the president and CEO of H. Walker Enterprises LLC (HWE) and Renaissance Man Food Services LLC (RMFS), a certified minority business enterprise that supplies poultry, pork and bakery products to the foodservice and retail marketplace under such brands as Herschel's Famous 34 and Herschel's Mama's Cookin.

Herschel's teammate is director of food and beverage at Max Brenner, Katzie Guy-Hamilton, who was most recently named one of Dessert Professional magazine's Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America for 2014.

The other powerhouse teams comprise contestants from a wide variety of channels and include Jason Beecher, culinary manager of product development for Wawa Inc., and Paul Glassman, food and beverage director for Five Star Senior Living; Edward Rodriguez, senior kitchen manager at the University of Southern California, and Andy Wittman, culinary operations manager for Pizza Inn/Pie Five Pizza Co.; and Ben Lucky, director of foodservice at Sprint Food Stores, and Pete Torres, executive chef at the Dallas Medical Center.

"Following last year's success, we enhanced the competition by extending attendee viewing and included some additional excitement during the Strolling Dinner," said CSP's Abbie Westra, who worked with FARE Advisory Council members to build the cross-channel teams. "There were so many applicants that it was very difficult to only choose eight people. It will be a hotly contested event with some of the best culinary craftsmen across the foodservice industry. Everyone should check it out and cheer on their favorite team."

The judges of the Culinary Competition also come from various channels of the foodservice industry. They include Pat Cobe, senior editor for Restaurant Business magazine; Darrick Henry, Dietary Director/Chef, Baylor Orthopedic and Spine Hospital at Arlington; Dan Phalen, corporate executive chef, Luby's Fuddrucker's; and the 2013 FARE Culinary Competition winners Andrew Franco, executive chef for Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes, and Laurence Shiner, executive chef at Western Illinois University.

The 2013 winning dish created by Andrew and Laurence was an Asian banh mi "maco," which is a crisp flatbread with spicy glazed chicken, pickled vegetables, peach pico, avocado ranch sauce and a pineapple, black bean and red pepper salad.

FARE--a sister conference of CSP's Restaurant Leadership Conference, MenuDirections and the newly acquired FSTEC--offers a unique conference experience with high-quality, face-to-face relationship-building opportunities bringing you the best, brightest and most progressive foodservice executives from across a plethora of channels. Attendees include operators in convenience store, college and university, entertainment venues, grocery/drug/mass retail, healthcare, military, QSR/fast-casual restaurants and recreation and lodging. The 2014 FARE conference will be held June 16-18 at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. For more information, visit www.fareconference.com.

Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based CSP Business Media, publisher of CSP, Convenience Store Products, FoodService Director and Restaurant Business magazines, is a market-dominant, business-to-business, multi-media communication company specializing in the convenience retailing, restaurant and on-the-go food industries. In addition to its print products, CSP Business Media has an extensive portfolio of online products: e-newsletters (including CSP Daily News, Convenience Store Products E-Newsletter andTobacco E-News), websites, web conferences, CSPTV and other video products, mobile applications and custom solutions. And CSP Leadership Conferences & Events produces more than 20 major EduNetworking live conferences and focused meetings.

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