LOUISVILLE, Ky., June 17, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF)'s fourth annual conference, held between June 4 and June 8, 2013 at the Sheraton Hotel New Orleans, was a huge success. There was an increase in operators at this year's conference, resulting in a nearly 30% increase in healthcare facilities represented on site.

Highlights included eight award presentations; a new partnership with the American Culinary Federation (ACF); a well-attended Culinary Competition; a successful new tradeshow format; and more than $2,800 raised on site for Café Hope, a non-profit in New Orleans.

The 2014 conference was also announced: it will be held from June 3 to June 6 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando.

Award Recipients
Exemplary Leadership: Betty Perez, senior director, NYU Langone Medical Center
Exemplary Leadership: Eric Eisenberg, executive chef and retail operations manager at Swedish Health Services
Future Horizon: Aatul Jain, retail operations manager and chef at Saint Clare's Health System
Lifetime Achievement: Denisa Cate, director of food and nutrition services at Henry County Medical Center
Making a Difference: Cindy Parker, national account manager at Basic American Foods
Partnership in Leadership: Julie Jones, director of nutrition services, Mary Angela Miller, administrative director, Kent Hess, associate executive director and Randy Allen, CFO, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center • Presidential Special Services: Andrew Shakman, co-founder of LeanPath, Inc., Dexter Hancock, retired director of nutritional services at DCH Health System and Scott Saklad, chairman of the board of Computrition
Spotlight Award: Dan Henroid, director of nutrition and food services, UCSF Medical Center
Spotlight Award: Angelo Mojica, Director of Food and Nutrition Services, UNC Hospitals

http://www.healthcarefoodservice.org/PR2013CulinaryCompetition">Culinary Competition Highlights
The AHF Culinary Competition was held on the evening of June 7. Each of the five competing teams was challenged to create an innovative entrée using Potato Pearls® Natural Mashed Potatoes from Culinary Competition sponsor Basic American Foods.

Winners included:

• First Place
James Roth, Certified Executive Chef
Yanka Manikatova, Lead Retail Cook
Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare
Elmhurst, IL
Potato Pearls® Goat Cheese Mashed Potato Cake atop Crab & Corn Maque Choux, with New Orleans-style BBQ Shrimp, Abita Amber Ale Glaze & Pineapple Compote

• Second Place
Steven Bressler, Retail Services Manager
John Graziano, Executive Chef
The Valley Hospital
Ridgewood, NJ
Arabian Snapper with an Avocado Yogurt Sauce, Saffron Potato and Red Quinoa Cake, Garlic and Thyme Flat Bread and Kale, Red Peppers, Carrots and Beet

• Third Place
Joanne McMillian, Director
Aatul Jain, Retail Operation Manager, Chef
Saint Clare's Health System
Denville, NJ
Jazzed Quartet: Potato Pearl Wild Mushroom Roll – Super Food Pilaf of Quinoa – Edamame, Pomegranate – Sorrel Pesto; Whisper of Rosemary Glaze

The other two teams who competed this year included Michael Atanasio, Director of Food Services and Todd Daigneault, Executive Chef, Overlook Medical Center, Summit, NJ and Dan Powers, Manager, Operations and Glenton Goodwill, Cook, Centra , Lynchburg, VA. Atanasio and Daigneault created Wicked Potato Tuna - potato stuffed wasabi crusted tuna accompanied by a cactus leaf chayote slaw and potato quinoa cakes. Powers and Goodwill created Creole Chicken Stack - boneless skinless chicken breast stuffed with andouille sausage served atop fresh sautéed vegetables and potato strudel; garnished with crayfish etoufee.

The teams and their dishes were judged on organization, time management, culinary skills, originality, and taste and plate presentation. As first place winner, Chef James Roth and Yanka Manikatova were awarded the AHF Gold Medal.

"There's no other competition that showcases such extraordinary talent and creativity, the hallmarks of self-operation in healthcare foodservice," says Cindy Parker with Basic American Foods. "We're proud to sponsor these outstanding teams and the difference they're making in facilities all across the country."

Recipes for the Culinary Competition dishes can be found on the Basic American Foods website.

American Culinary Federation (ACF)

Partnership As an innovation for 2013, AHF partnered with the ACF to offer Certified Executive Chef (CEC) certification for members. During the inaugural event, both AHF chefs who participated passed the certification exam. Ryan Conklin, executive chef, REX Healthcare and Eric Eisenberg, executive chef and retail operations manager, Swedish Health Services have received their CEC honors.

New Tradeshow Format

Nearly 100 vendors participated in a successful tradeshow. Vendors were able to highlight their products by providing lunch items, a format that was well received by the foodservice operators. This new feature allowed many non-food vendors to attract additional attendees to their booths.

Charitable Donations

AHF members donated $2,831 to Café Hope, which helps at-risk young adults get training in the restaurant and hospitality industries. "We were so pleased to help Café Hope make a difference through foodservice training," said Beth Yesford, AHF President. "As self-operators, we have the freedom and flexibility to impact our communities on the local level, so supporting this non-profit made a lot of sense."

About AHF:

The Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF) is the preeminent professional society dedicated to advancing self-operated healthcare foodservice as the industry best practice. AHF develops healthcare foodservice professionals assuring food and nutrition services are valued as an essential contributor to the healthcare organization's mission. For more information, please visit www.healthcarefoodservice.org.

Andrea Parr
Director, PR & Digital Media