US Foods' Food Fanatics Movement adds 11 Culinary Experts
US Foods announced Monday that 11 US Foods chefs have joined the elite team of Food Fanatics Chefs focused on sharing culinary expertise and industry insights that will help chefs and restaurateurs take their businesses to the next level.
The new Food Fanatic Chefs were carefully chosen for their rich, culinary backgrounds, deep knowledge of the restaurant industry and love of all things food. They join US Foods’ group of more than 25 Food Fanatics Chefs in local markets across the country. All Food Fanatics Chefs complete a rigorous university program that focuses on testing and expanding their skills to ensure they meet the Food Fanatics designation.
“We are always looking for new ways to bring value to our customers and our Food Fanatics Chefs are great examples of how we do just that,” says Marshall Warkentin, vice president of marketing at US Foods. “The Food Fanatics Chefs’ blend of culinary skills and business acumen provides our customers with someone they can turn to when they have a problem or want to explore new ways to reach greater success. We’re thrilled to add these new chefs to the program and continue to grow the ranks so that our customers everywhere can benefit from a Food Fanatics partnership.”
Using their own culinary expertise, as well as insights from the company’s work with more than 250,000 restaurants and foodservice operations, the Food Fanatics Chefs collaborate with chefs and restaurateurs across the country. Their responsibilities include introducing the latest US Foods products and innovations to local chefs, offering in-depth menu and recipe analysis for restaurateurs and consulting with operators on enhancements they can make to help their businesses succeed. The newest Food Fanatic Chefs include:
Chef Stephen Afflixio from Tampa: Through his more than 25 years of experience in the foodservice industry, Chef Afflixio has gained extensive knowledge in consulting, menu development, and food distribution. For the past 20 years, Chef Afflixio has served as a board member for the Tampa Bay chapter of the American Culinary Federation. Most recently, he was inducted into the American Academy of Chefs.
Chef Jeff Bland from Roanoke, Virginia: Chef Bland is an award-winning chef with more than 34 years of food service experience. He began his culinary career at the age of 14 and has since gained valuable knowledge working in restaurants and foodservice facilities across the country, including Walt Disney World and La Petite France. Chef Bland is also an esteemed culinary arts educator who has taught at both the high school and college levels.
Chef Ed Butler from Knoxville, Tennessee: Chef Butler began his culinary career in Nashville at the age of 16. He quickly discovered his love of the culinary arts and devoted himself to learning from anyone and everyone. Since then, he’s held various leadership positions at restaurants, country clubs, and banquet halls.
Chef Foster Deadman from Milwaukee: With more than 19 years of experience in the culinary and hospitality industry, Chef Deadman came to US Foods after serving as the Corporate Chef for Supple Restaurant Group in Wisconsin, as well as extensive work with high-volume catering and events for notable hotels and restaurants.
Chef Rahm Fama from Los Angeles: A former Food Network personality, Chef Fama has roamed the country sharing his love of food. He served as the host of the Food Network series, Meat & Potatoes, where he traveled around the U.S. seeking out the best spots for mouthwatering, meaty dishes. Chef Fama discovered his love of food and appreciation for meat growing up on his mother’s cattle ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Since beginning his culinary career at the age of 15, he’s taken his chops to restaurants and hotels in Austin, Texas, Phoenix, New York, Colorado Springs, Colorado, and St. Lucia.
Chef Cory Guyer from Omaha, Nebraska: Hailing from Mississippi, with a brief stop in Okinawa, Japan, Chef Guyer has been exposed to his fair share of different cuisines. After settling in Omaha, he cut his teeth in the restaurant industry at 14 years old, working his way up through the ranks at some of Omaha’s finest establishments. Following culinary school, he served as room chef for Jack Binion’s Prime Steakhouse at Horseshoe Casino and 360 at Harrah’s Casino, before finally landing at US Foods.
Chef Don Price from Lubbock, Texas: With more than 28 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Chef Price knows all about the obstacles and decisions chefs and restaurateurs face every day. He got his start washing dishes for a local steakhouse and worked his way up to executive chef at a French Brasserie before attending The Culinary Institute of America. After graduating, he spent time as banquet chef at Waldorf Astoria and running dining facilities for the Compass Group in New York City, ultimately joining the US Foods team.
Chef Charles Ramseyer from Seattle: A native of Switzerland, Chef Ramseyer discovered his love of the kitchen as a teenager and soon afterward became an apprentice at the exclusive Hotel Vorderen Sternen in Zurich. Prior to joining US Foods, he spent 15 years at Ray’s Boathouse in Puget Sound, where he co-authored the Ray’s Boathouse cookbook titled “Ray’s Boathouse: Seafood Secrets of the Pacific Northwest,” and was invited to be a guest chef of the James Beard Foundation.
Chef Jeffrey Schlissel from Boca Raton, Florida: Chef Schlissel has more than 30 years of experience in the culinary field. A native of South Florida, Chef Schlissel has amassed extensive knowledge for cooking all types of cuisines, but is best known for his Pan Asian Floribbean signature style. Chef Schlissel has a strong track record of helping restaurateurs increase profitability by using local resources and sustainable products in his dishes and is well respected by his peers as an efficient restaurant consultant and creative menu designer.
Chef Jaci Shelby from Kansas City: Originally from Milwaukee, Chef Shelby’s culinary roots span from Wisconsin to New Orleans to South Carolina to Kansas City. Her first culinary adventure was learning how to peel shrimp in New Orleans. Intrigued with the quality level of the food, she jumped into the pastry world at Restaurant August. She completed additional stints at The Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans and the Embassy Suites Greenville, S.C. before switching gears to work on the savory side at The Biltmore Estate in North Carolina.
Chef Melissa Trimmer from Chicago: Chef Trimmer has a passion for the sweeter things in life, and infuses that into every dish she creates. She graduated Johnson & Wales University with an Associate degree in Baking and Pastry Arts then took an internship at Confiseur Bachmann’s in Luzern, Switzerland. Since then, she has used her Swiss training and techniques in many roles throughout the Midwest, including bringing the pastry kitchen at Carnivale in Chicago to life and leading the pastry department as Executive Pastry Chef when both Lula Café and Nightwood restaurants received the Bib Gourmand rating from The Chicago Michelin Guide’s inaugural edition in 2010. Chef Trimmer is a Certified Executive Pastry Chef from the American Culinary Federation and led the team at Le Cordon Bleu through first-time programmatic accreditation by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation.