Sodexo Future Chefs Program Earns National Restaurant Association Recognition in First-Ever Innovator of the Year Awards

Program Wins Menu Development Category for Using Kid-Created Recipes to Improve Student Nutrition Nationally
May 24, 2012 7:45 PM ET
Press Release

(3BL Media) Gaithersburg, MD - May 24, 2012 - Sodexo Future Chefs, a national program that encourages students to learn about good nutrition by creating their own fun, creative and healthy recipes, won the Innovator of the Year Award in the Menu Development category in the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) inaugural Operator Innovations Awards.  The Future Chefs national challenge was formally recognized at the NRA Show 2012 in Chicago.

Through Sodexo Future Chefs, students at Sodexo-served schools learn about the importance of making healthy food choices by creating and submitting their own recipes to Sodexo’s student nutrition experts.  Following district-wide events across the country, five national finalists are selected to create videos of their recipes.  These videos are then posted online and the public is encouraged to view them and vote for their favorite.

In addition to crowning a national champion, Sodexo takes the best 12 recipes from the challenge each year and features them on school meal menus in the nearly 500 school districts the company serves nationally.  This “For Kids, By Kids” approach to menu development has helped encourage reluctant students to try new things while also increasing overall school meal participation in schools.

“It’s such an honor to be recognized by the National Restaurant Association for our innovative approach to creating healthy, fun and nutritious school meals kids love to eat,” said Steve Dunmore, president of Sodexo Education-Schools. “Sodexo works hard to constantly improve the food we serve students each day and the Future Chefs program allows us to offer exciting new menu items made specifically for students by students.”

Along with winning the award in the Menu Development category, Sodexo also earned Operator Innovations Award recognition for two other programs.  The company’s Did You Know Café, a concept designed to make the cafeteria an extension of the classroom specifically for middle and junior high school students, was selected as a finalist in the Health and Nutrition category.  Additionally, Sodexo’s industry-leading ISO 22000:2005 Food Safety Management System certification was recognized as a finalist in the Food Safety category.

Commenting on Sodexo and the other award winners, Jack Crawford, Convention Chair for NRA Show 2012 and President and CEO of Ground Round Independent Owners Cooperative, LLC said, “These restaurant operators are true pioneers of innovation and leadership, who are breaking new ground on how to successfully run a restaurant business.”  He added, “It is our honor to recognize our Operator Innovations Award winners and, we believe they will serve as an inspiration to restaurateurs throughout our industry.”




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Sodexo Inc. (, leading Quality of Daily Life Solutions company in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, delivers On-site Service Solutions in Corporate, Education, Health Care, Government and Remote Site segments, and Motivation Solutions such as Esteem Pass. Sodexo Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Foundation (, an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $17 million in grants to end childhood hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog at

Sodexo, world leader in Quality of Daily Life Solutions
Quality of Life plays an important role in the progress of individuals and the performance of organizations. Based on this conviction, Sodexo acts as a partner for companies and institutions that place a premium on performance and employee well-being, as it has since Pierre Bellon founded the company in 1966. Sharing the same passion for service, Sodexo’s 413,000 employees in 80 countries design, manage and deliver an unrivaled array of Quality of Life Services. Sodexo has created a new form of service business that contributes to the fulfillment of its employees and the economic, social and environmental development of the communities, regions and countries in which it operates.

Greg Yost
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