Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum and Urban Expositions Family of Foodservice Events Announce Inaugural Torch Awards and 2015 Recipients

Susan Feniger, Mary Sue Milliken and Norman Van Aken to Receive Awards

SHELTON, CT, July 30, 2015 - Urban Expositions, producers of the Family of Foodservice Events and the Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum proudly present the 2015 TORCH AWARDS.   Three times per year, in conjunction with their regional events - Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show, and International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York - they will recognize an individual or group of individuals whose achievements have enhanced and brought innovation to the restaurant and foodservice community. 
 
"The awards are named to echo the definition of torch - referring to a valuable quality, principal or cause that needs to be protected or maintained.  When reviewing nominees, we strive to honor leaders and dynamic individuals who have propelled our industry forward as well as serve as leaders in education and the sharing of knowledge," outlined Ferdinand Metz, CMC, Chairman of the event education programs which bear his name, and President Emeritus of the Culinary Institute of America.  "The sharing of knowledge and ideas is instrumental in preserving the culinary arts and ultimately leads to more creativity and innovation".  
 
The winners of the inaugural awards will be presented at the Los Angeles and Orlando events:
 
Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, Chefs and Owners of Border Grill & Truck will receive the TORCH Award at the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo - August 24, 2015 - Los Angeles Convention Center at 1:00 pm in the Culinary Demonstration Theater on the Show floor.

     Their first restaurants, City Café and then CITY, featured a menu of groundbreaking, eclectic, and adventurous dishes from all over the world, and that tradition continued at Ciudad with dishes from around the globe containing a seductive Latin flair. At CITY, Ciudad, and now at Border Grill, Mary Sue and Susan are unusually approachable, winning over a broad clientele not only with their cooking, but also with their warmth and casual interaction.  They swap recipes, answer cooking questions, and get guests to try something different. Natural teachers, they make the world of Mexican ingredients and authentic dishes completely fun and accessible.

Norman Van Aken, Chef and Founder of NORMAN'S at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lake will receive the TORCH Award at the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show - October 7, 2015 - Orange County Convention Center at 1:00 pm in the Culinary Demonstration Theater on the Show floor.

     Norman Van Aken has been described as 'legendary, visionary and a trailblazer' as well as 'the culinary Titan of Florida.' He is "the founding father of New World Cuisine," a celebration of Latin, Caribbean, Asian, African and American flavors. He is also known internationally for introducing the concept of "Fusion" to the culinary world.  He is the only Floridian inducted into the prestigious James Beard list of "Who's Who in American Food and Beverage."  He has published five cookbooks, and his radio show, "A Word on Food," appears twice a week on NPR station WLRN.

"These awards recognize commendable professionals who trail blaze a leadership role in the restaurant and foodservice industry, along with the Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum; for providing exemplary innovation; and initiating improvement and education by engaging the industry", said Ron Mathews, Vice President for the Urban Expositions Family of Foodservice Events.  "The awards honor individuals whose professional accomplishments drive the industry forward".  
 
About Ferdinand Metz:
Ferdinand Metz is a Certified Master Chef and President Emeritus of the Culinary Institute of America. He is also the past President of the World Association of Chefs Societies and the past Chairman of the NRAEF. Chef Metz was selected to lead the Forum because of his breadth and depth of experience, which includes his influence on the American foodservice industry, and for his achievements in the culinary industry, having received the Lifetime Achievement Awards from the James Beard Foundation, the American Academy of Chefs, The World Association of Chefs and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). As the former Manager of the Culinary Team USA, Chef Metz led the team to three consecutive world championships and one World Cup, and was author of four editions of The Culinary Olympics Cookbook. His foodservice experiences include two apprenticeships in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts, 15 years as Senior R & D Manager of Heinz, as well as positions as Banquet Chef at New York's prestigious Plaza Hotel and Tournament at the renowned Le Pavilion restaurant in New York City. 
 
About the Urban Expositions Family of Foodservice Events:
Since 1936, hundreds of thousands of restaurant and foodservice industry professionals have attended The Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show, and International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York to gain experience and knowledge on how to become more informed, more educated, more competitive, and more profitable in the industry. The tradeshow and conferences, sponsored by the California Restaurant Association, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, and New York State Restaurant Association respectively, are the largest showcases of foodservice products in the regions they serve, giving attendees everything they need to know in terms of the latest trends, newest product options, and idea generating special events.
 
The events, along with the accompanying Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum, are produced and managed by Urban Expositions. For more information on exhibiting or attending, visit http://www.thefoodshows.com.  Based in Kennesaw, GA, Urban Expositions offers a complete roster of trade show management services, including exhibit sales and marketing, operations, exhibitor/attendee promotions and services, media relations, seminar and event coordination, database development and management.  Through a logical, hands-on approach, Urban Expositions has become one of the fastest growing and most successful trade show companies in the United States.  Contact Urban Expositions at www.urban-expo.com

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For further Information or to register for press credentials, contact:
Amy Riemer, Media Relations
978-475-4441 (office)
978-502-4895 (cell)
amy@riemercommunications.com

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