RCA Awards

Every year the Research Chefs Association pays tribute to the most accomplished, deserving professionals in the food product development industry. These individuals are recognized during an Awards Ceremony that takes place during the RCA Annual Conference.

Lifetime Achievement Award

This award is given to an individual who has achieved industry-wide recognition, if not mainstream recognition, for their lifetime achievements in Culinology®. To earn this honor, an individual must have significantly influenced the food industry and/or the consumer market through their career. Nominees must be veterans (at least 25 years) in the food industry serving as an inspiration to others in the industry.

2017 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Michael Joy, Park 100 Foods

View Past Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients

Pioneer Award

Is awarded to an individual who has, through their own achievements, become recognized as a leader in the food industry utilizing the practice of combining culinary craftsmanship and food science (applied the discipline/concept of Culinology®) for at least 10 years. Nominee’s influence must be apparent throughout the food industry, including in education and standard practices.

2017 Pioneer Award

Craig Bacon, Tyson Foods

View Past Pioneer Award Recipients

President’s Award

Is awarded at the discretion of the RCA President, to members whose contributions to the association or industry have made a significant impact.

2017 President's Award

Susan Murray
Bob Garrison
Jackie Kleis
Nelson Serrano-Bahri
Kimberly Schaub
Dr Neethiahnanthan Ari Ragavan

View Past President’s Award Recipients


“I joined RCA in 2012-2013 and absolutely love every aspect of the organization—its members and reason for being. My work requires me to interview chefs and I always  include a plug for RCA in every discussion. And, after serving on RCA’s Marketing and New Member committees, I think I’ve found my true landing spot with Conference Education & Planning. I love food and beverage trends and it’s fun to see what might best fit RCA member interests. I also invite all members to give me more ideas while we go out for each annual Education Foundation fun run!” - Bob Garrison


"It has been an exciting surprise receiving an award from an association that has taken my culinary career to another dimension.Working this past year with such respectful peers such as John Draz and Jason Beherends has been outstanding!

Personally, it has been an honor receiving it from the President, Catherine Proper, who took the road less taken by holding the annual RCA convention outside the mainland, my beautiful Puerto Rico. Thank you, thank you RCA!" - Jacqueline Kleis 

Kimberley.jpg"At the 2017 Conference, RCA President Catherine Proper chose me as one of the recipients of the President's Award in recognition of the effort to produce a podcast that highlights the Culinology world, whether that's food service, product development, or consultancy work.

It was such a surprise and honor to receive the recognition and to be counted among the other chefs who volunteer their time and money to promote the industry and career. There are leaders in the RCA whom I respect deeply for their careers and their wisdom, and to be considered an up-and-coming contributor is a mantle I bear proudly." - Kimberly Schaub. Hear more from Kimberley

Culinology® Innovation Award

Is awarded to an individual or team for exceeding expectations in the development of a new and innovative product or product line, to acknowledge excellence in three categories:

  • Retail Innovation
  • Food Service Innovation and/or
  • Functional Ingredient Innovation

View Past Recipients

Culinology® Expo Product Award

Attendees of the Culinology® Expo vote on their favorite exhibitor product at the Culinology® Expo, and the winning company is presented with this award.

View Past Recipients

Other Historical RCA Awards

Through the years, the RCA has honored several members for their contributions to Culinology®, the RCA and the industry.

View Past Recipients