2010 International Chefs Congress Wrap-Up: The Innovator Awards presented by TriMark USA

2010 International Chefs Congress Wrap-Up: The Innovator Awards presented by TriMark USA

The 2010 StarChefs Innovator Awards presented by TriMark USA were announced on the Congress Main Stage on Wednesday, September 22. These awards were given to three chefs and four products for their outstanding performance in the realm of American cuisine. It was a proud moment for all honorees and an opportunity to celebrate leaders and innovators in the culinary industry. And it was a rare instance of recognition within the industry, as all the awards were voted on by Congress attendees, except the Contribution to American Cuisine Award, which was voted on by the StarChefs.com Chefs Advisory Board. As a community of their peers, protégés and pundits, we honored chefs Nora Pouillon (Contribution to American Cuisine Award), Ken Oringer (Mentoring Award), and Rick Moonen (Community Award) for their outstanding contributions to the industry. And as a community of working chefs and industry professionals, we recognized the Randell Sous Vide Packet Management System, Polyscience’s The New Sous Vide Professional, and Nueske Applewood Smoked Meats’ Smoked Bacon for their incomparable utility in the kitchen.

presented by True Manufacturing and Chef Larry Forgione, 2008 Contribution to American Cuisine Award Recipient
The Mentor Award recognizes a chef who is instrumental in supporting young cooks in their quest for success. Through their commitment to hands-on education both within their kitchens and without, these chefs are working to shape the next generation of culinary leaders.

Ken Oringer of Clio – Boston, MA

When Ken Oringer decides he’s going to do something, he does it and he does it well. He knew he wanted to be a chef when he was a kid. So he set about making that happen once he graduated high school. After graduating from The Culinary Institute of America Oringer’s first kitchen job was at Brooklyn’s famed River Café when a young and hyper-creative David Burke was at the helm. His next move was to Al Forno in Providence, Rhode Island and then he was off to Jean-George Vongerichten’s Le Marquis de Lafayette in Boston.

Oringer moved to San Francisco and quickly landed a job as chef de cuisine at Silks in the Mandarin Oriental and reinvented their menu. After five years, success at Silks, and trips abroad to Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Spain, and Argentina, Oringer decided the time was right for his own restaurant.

Sensing that Boston was ready for more innovative cooking, Oringer opened Clio in 1997. Oringer earned a James Beard Award for Best Chef Northeast in 2001. In 2002, Oringer opened sashimi bar Uni in the lounge of Clio. In 2005, he opened Toro; then in 2007 he opened the Mexican restaurant La Verdad adjacent to Fenway Park; he was also the consulting chef for KO Prime steakhouse in Hotel Nine Zero. In 2009, Oringer together with partner Chef Jamie Bissonette opened Coppa.

Oringer has produced more than his fair share of StarChefs.com Rising Star award winners, which is a testament to his commitment to mentoring. And although he’s the chef and restaurateur behind a mini Boston restaurant empire—not to mention a member of the StarChefs.com advisory board—he still has time to educate the next generation of chefs.

presented by Vitamix
The Community Award honors chefs who are consistently active in their local communities, and to whom community involvement is an essential part of their professional mission. They are generous with their knowledge, resources, and time, making them role models to other chefs. And they reach out to fellow chefs whenever possible to strengthen the bonds of their culinary community and beyond.

Rick Moonen of rm Seafood – Las Vegas, NV

When you think of sustainable seafood advocates, Rick Moonen should be the first name to come to mind. An advocate for sustainable fishing and seafood, Moonen’s undying passion for conservation has made him an expert in the subject and an educator and role model for others.

A native New Yorker, Moonen graduated first in his class from The Culinary Institute of America in 1978. He apprenticed at L’Hostellerie Bressane with Chef Jean Morel, assumed the saucier position at Manhattan’s La Cote Basque, and spent two years at Le Cirque with Alain Sailhac. In the ensuing years, Moonen was executive chef at some of the city’s most iconic restaurants, including Le Relais, Century Café, and Chelsea Central before joining Buzzy O’Keefe at The Water Club.

Six years later, Moonen became executive chef and partner at Oceana and then partnered to create Molyvos, a Greek fish house. Moonen then decided to develop his own restaurant and created rm. In 2005, Moonen was drawn to the rapidly developing culinary scene in Las Vegas and moved his signature restaurant westward. In 2008, Moonen accomplished a lifelong dream with the publication of his first cookbook Fish Without a Doubt.

When not behind the stove, Moonen can be found traveling the country to educate about ocean conservation and the dangers of over fishing. He has testified for environmental and sustainability policy issues in Washington, DC and New York. Additionally, he is a founding member of the Seafood Choices Alliances, which named him Seafood Champion in 2006, and an active member of Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch and Seaweb. He also serves on the StarChefs.com Advisory Board.

Contribution to American Cuisine AwardCONTRIBUTION TO AMERICAN CUISINE AWARD
presented by Wisconsin Cheese and Chef David Burke, the 2009 Contribution to American Cuisine Award Recipient
Wisconsin Cheese
The Contribution to American Cuisine Award honors chefs whose culinary vision and accomplishments have changed the face of American cuisine for the better. Keeping in mind the diverse identity of American food, these are chefs who have cultivated new ideas and brought them to the forefront of the culinary world.

Nora Pouillon of Restaurant Nora – Washington, DC

Born in Vienna in 1943, Nora Pouillon attributes her commitment to healthy dining to her parents. And while she may have grown up in Austria, after 40-plus years in the US she has helped to define contemporary American Cuisine. A true believer in a sustainable lifestyle, Pouillon is a longtime advocate for increasing the quality and nutritional value of the food supply.

Pouillon opened Restaurant Nora in 1979 and was immediately recognized for her ability to create not only healthy but also delicous organic dishes. In 1999, 20 years later, the restaurant became the nation’s first certified organic restaurant. Only three other restaurants have since achieved this goal. Pouillon has also been instrumental in creating the organic certification standards for restaurants that guarantee at least 95% of all food served originates from certified organic sources.

While serving as a board member of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, Pouillon established an organic internship program and still receives five interns each year at Restaurant Nora. She is the author of Cooking with Nora, a seasonal menu cookbook, which was a finalist for the Julia Child Cookbook Award.

Pouillon presently sits on the board of directors for several organizations including the Amazon Conservation Team, the Environmental Film Festival, Fresh Farm Markets, Earth Day Network and Wholesome Wave. Nora also plays an advisory role to the Center for Mind Body Medicine’s “Food as Medicine” program, and Rachel’s Network.

TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION AWARDS These awards recognize a company who offers a product that is innovative in its mission or design, and instrumental in helping chefs or culinary professionals succeed in their endeavors. Nominees are voted on by attendees of the International Chefs Congress, and awards are given in four categories: Heavy Equipment, Specialty Equipment/Smallwares, Food and Beverage, and Tabletop.
Heavy Equipment:
Unified Brands/Randell
Randell Sous Vide Packet Management System
Unified Brands
The Randell Sous Vide packet Management System is a self-contained temperature system for vacuum or non-vacuum cooking methods. The temperature management system provides optimum food safety through all phases of hot and cold temperature management, allowing the end-user to store materials and manage temperature. www.unifiedbrands.net Contact: Michael Williams

Specialty Equipment/Smallwares Polyscience The New Sous Vide Professional
The Sous Vide Professional achieves perfect, repeatable results every time. its aesthetics, easy handling, and flexibility are unique and without compromise. Precise temperature control, consistent water circulation, and compact design allow the sous vide professional to set the standard for sous vide cooking. www.polyscience.com Contact: Jason Sayers

Food & Beverage Nueske's Applewood Smoked Meats Smoked Bacon
Nueske's smoked bacon is prepared with the utmost attention to detail. We start with the highest quality meat and add our imported spices by hand. The meat is then patiently smoked over glowing embers of sweet applewood and randomly sampled to guarantee the best product for our customers. www.nueskes.com Contact: Megan Dorsch