Utah Chef Earns Top Honors at United Fresh 2013

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Utah Chef Ethan Kawasaki, Executive Chef at Café Zupas Restaurant, Wins Sixth Annual Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award

Ethan Kawasaki, Executive Chef at Cafe Zupas

“It’s important to use fresh vegetables and produce, especially in this day and age of heavily processed foods."

Chef Ethan Kawasaki, Executive Chef at Café Zupas, a Utah restaurant based out of Sandy, Utah, has been selected as one of six winners of the 2013 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award. This award recognizes chefs and food professionals from around the country who are highlighting fresh fruits and vegetables in their menus every day. Chef Kawasaki was the only chef in Utah to be honored with this award and was also one of the only individuals nominated in the Western U.S.

Kawasaki is a native Utah resident. He grew up in Provo, UT and graduated from culinary school at Utah Valley University. He has worked as a line cook at the Sundance Tree Room and as Executive Chef at both Pizzaria 712 in Orem and Communal Restaurant in Provo. Chef Kawasaki has been with Café Zupas for the past year and has brought to the company a deep understanding of how to use produce in unique and inventive ways.

Kawaski believes strongly in the importance of using fresh produce in his cooking. He said, “It’s important to use fresh vegetables and produce, especially in this day and age of heavily processed foods. Getting back to the basics by making fresh food in house, utilizing the vibrant flavors found in hand-cut fruits and vegetables, is a mark I always strive to hit.”

Kawasaki will be traveling to San Diego with the other six winners in May to attend United Fresh 2013. While there he will participate in a panel session, Restaurant Flavors and Trends from the Best, which will take place on Thursday, May 16 at 2:30 p.m.

About Café Zupas
Café Zupas opened its doors in 2004, and specializes in house-made soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts using fresh, exotic ingredients in a fast-casual setting. Café Zupas is a local Utah company. It currently has 17 store locations throughout Utah and Arizona, with its first Nevada location opening in Las Vegas at the end of April. Café Zupas has won 18 Best of State - Utah awards over eight consecutive years, three of which came in 2013 for best soups, best salads and best sandwiches. Each restaurant location also offers professional catering services for offices, weddings, meetings and other events— large or small. For more information, visit their website at http://www.CafeZupas.com.

About the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards
The Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award recognizes chefs and food professionals from around the country who are highlighting fresh fruits and vegetables in their menus every day. This year’s winners were selected from nearly 120 nominations submitted by produce companies and foodservice operations across North America. Six of the country’s most exciting chefs and foodservice professionals will be honored in May as part of the United Fresh Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program. Sponsored by PRO*ACT LLC and now in its sixth year, the program honors chefs and their companies for their innovative and influential use of fresh produce in the culinary arts.

The 2013 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award winners are:

  •      Business in Industry & Colleges: Chef Joshua Distenfeld, Executive Chef, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD
  •      Casual & Family Dining Restaurants: Chef Christopher John Raucci, Corporate Chef, Ted’s Montana Grill, Atlanta, GA
  •      Fine Dining Restaurants: Chef John Johnson, Regional Executive Chef, St. Louis, Pinnacle Entertainment Company, St. Louis, MO
  •      Hotels & Healthcare: Chef Chad Tyler Brodkin, The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center, Benchmark Hospitality International, Blacksburg, VA
  •      K-12 School Foodservice: Kevin LaPittus, Director of Child Nutrition Services, Encinitas Union School District, Encinitas, CA
  •      Quick Service Restaurants: Chef Ethan Kawasaki, Executive Chef, Café Zupas, Sandy, UT

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Devin Markle
Cafe Zupas
(801) 878-4536
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