RCA Awards

Throught the RCA awards program, the Research Chefs Association pays tribute to the most accomplished, deserving professionals in the food product development industry.

RCA is committed to recognizing excellence in our profession and service to our association. See below for RCA award descriptions and past award recipients.

Please reach out to info@culinology.org with any questions regarding the awards programs or nominations process.

Lifetime
Achievement
Award

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a person or persons who, through their own lifetime achievements, has become a recognized leader in the food industry utilizing the practice of combining culinary craftsmanship and food science.

The award is presented to an RCA member recognized as a leader in the food industry.

Eligibility Requirements

Nominees must meet the following criteria and guidelines to be considered as a potential candidate.

 Individual must be a current RCA member.

Individual must have become recognized as a leader in the food industry through their own lifetime achievements, 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.

 Submit a Nomination for the 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award

Nominations due February 1, 2024.

Past Recipients

The RCA Lifetime Achievement Award was not presented in 2014, 2015, or 2023.

  • 2022
    Hadley Katzenbach
    Southeastern Mills
  • 2021
    Susanna Tolini, CRC®
    Kayem Foods, Inc.
  • 2020
    Frank Petersen, CRC®
    Product Development Consultant
  • 2019
    Mark Crowell, CRC®
    Culinex, LLC
  • 2018
    Dolf DeRovira
    Flavor Dynamics, Inc.
  • 2017
    Michael Joy
    Park 100 Foods
  • 2016*
    Jeff Cousminer
  • 2013
    Chef John D. Folse
  • 2012
    Michael Holleman
    InHarvest
  • 2010
    Dr. Jerald Chesser, CEC, FMP, CCE, AAC
  • 2010
    The Collins College of Hospitality Management California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  • 2009
    Nick Spinelli, Jr., CEC
    Kraft Foods Global
  • 2008
    Robert Okura
    The Cheesecake Factory, Inc.
  • 2007
    Michael Minor
    Custom Culinary
  • 2005
    Paul Prudhomme
    Magic Seasoning Blends
  • 2004
    Jacques Pepin, Chef and Author

RCA Pioneer Award

The RCA Pioneer Award recognizes 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. The nominee’s influence must be apparent throughout the food industry, including in education and standard practices.

Submit a Nomination for the 2024 RCA Pioneer Award

Nominations due February 1, 2024.

Past Recipients

  • 2022
    Howard Cantor
    Fuchs North America

    Kimberly Schaub, CCS®
    Griffith Foods
  • 2021
    John Draz, CEC®, CCE®, CRC®
    Ed Miniat
  • 2020
    Dennis Girik
    Griffith Foods
  • 2019
    Mario Valdovino
    Tyson Foods, Inc.
  • 2018
    Thomas W.J. Dickhans
    Hormel Foods Corporate Services , LLC
  • 2017
    Craig Bacon
    Senior Vice President of Research & Development, Tyson Foods
  • 2016
    Mark Crowell
    Principal Culinologist, CuliNex
  • 2015
    Kevin Anderson
    Chef Consultant, Kevin Anderson LLC
  • 2014
    Kevin McDermott, CEC
    Executive Chef, International Flavors & Fragrances
  • 2013
    Stan Frankenthaler
    VP of Global Innovation, Dunkin’ Brands
  • 2012
    Richard Cusick
    Barry Callebaut
    Eric Sparks
    Park 100 Foods, Inc.
  • 2011
    Craig "Skip" Julius, CRC, CCS, CEC
    Advance Pierre Foods
  • 2010
    Michael Lonteen, CEC, Custom Culinary, Inc.
  • 2009
    John L. Csukor, Jr.
    KOR Food Innovation
  • 2008
    Stephen Giunta
    Cargill
    Christopher Loss, AOS
    The Culinary Institute of America
  • 2004
    Robert E. Rich, Rich’s Foods
  • 2003
    Nancy Silverton, Campanile Restaurant and La Brea Bakery
  • 2002
    Ben Cohen, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
  • 2001
    Michael Minor, Nestle Food Services
  • 2000
    Harold McGee, author
    Martin Yan, chef
  • 1999
    Jeff Cousminer, Firmenich, Inc.
    John Folse, John Folse & Co.
  • 1999
    Ferdinand Metz, The Culinary Institute of America
  • 1998
    Graham Kerr, Kerr Corporation
    Warren Leruth
    Winston Shelton

Culinology® Expo
Product Award

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

Past Recipients

  • 2019
    Red Arrow
    Cherrywood Smoked Sugar
  • 2018
    Black Boar Truffle
    Beau Truffe, a Black Truffle Savory Seasoning
  • 2017
    LifeSpice Ingredients
    Glocal Seasonings
  • 2016
    Black Boar Truffle, LLC
    Black Boar Soy Sauce
  • 2015
    Southeastern Mills
    Bayou Biscoffe
  • 2014
    California Garlic Company – Garlic King
    “Mexican Hot Chocolate Cup Cakes”
    Containing black garlic and chipotle purees
  • 2013
    Vegetable Juices Inc.
    Purple Ginger Lemonade
  • 2012
    Black Boar Truffle, LLC
    Smoked Black Truffle Powder
  • 2011
    California Garlic Company Garlic King
    Black Garlic 5th Element
  • 2010
    Danisco USA, Inc.
    House Made Macaroni and Cheese with Wisconsin Cheese Trio and Crispy Bacon
  • 2009
    Fire Roasted Pork with Cherry Mole by Oregon Cherry Growers, Inc.
  • 2008
    Pan Seared Alaskan Wild Salmon by Darifair Foods, Inc.
  • 2007
    Flavor Wands by Firmenich, Inc.
  • 2006
    Ready-to-Use Hollandaise by Darifair Foods
  • 2005
    Del Real Foods
  • 2004
    Fire and Ice Chocolates by International Flavors & Fragrances
  • 2003
    Margarita Ice Cream by Wynn Star Flavors

RCA Outstanding Achievement Award

The RCA Outstanding Achievement Award recognizes food industry professionals and educators for their accomplishments in research and product development. It is awarded to a working food industry professional whose achievements in research and development have demonstrated the application of Culinology® skills, innovative and progressive thinking, and whose successes have served as an inspiration to industry professionals or students. Culinology educators are considered for their achievements in progressing Culinology® degree programs.

 Individual must be a current RCA member.

Accomplishment must span a 24-month period.

 

Past Recipients

  • 2020
    Eve Lawson, CCS®
    Principal Scientist, Seasoning & Flavors Innovation
    PepsiCo Frito Lay R&D
  • 2019
    Holly Ramage, MSFS, CCS®
    Food Scientist
    PepsiCo
  • 2019
    Angela Wadlington, CCS®
    Manager, Culinary & Commercialization
    Chick-fil-A, Inc.
  • 2019
    Rosemary Trout, MSFS
    Program Director and Assistant Clinical Professor, Culinary Arts & Food Science
    Drexel University

RCA President’s
Award Recipients

The RCA 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.

Past Recipients

  • 2021
    Jeffrey Block
    Kyle Stuart, CRC®, CFS
  • 2020
    Dr. Chong Li Choo
  • 2019
    Jeff Cowles, CCS®
    Allen Freed
    John Marcy, Ph.D.
    Griffith Foods, Inc.
  • 2018
    Dr. Michael Cheng
    Dr. Aubrey Coffee
    Michael Morrison
    SOSLAND Publishing Company
  • 2017
    Bob Garrison
    Jackie Kleis
    Kimberly Schaub
  • 2017
    Dr Neethiahnanthan Ari Ragavan
    Nelson Serrano-Bahri
    Susan Murray
  • 2016
    Allison Rittman
    Barton Dewing
    Phillip Saneski
    Susanna Tolini
  • 2015
    Dianna Fricke
    Director of Culinology/National Accounts, J.R. Simplot Company
  • 2014
    Christian Hallowell
    Customer Dedicated Executive Chef, Gate Group
  • 2013
    Lynn Tripp
  • 2012
    Marilyn Carlson
    Dogwood Solutions
    Jill Golden
    Orange Coast College
  • 2011
    Stephen Kalil, CEC, CRC
    Frito-Lay
    Marshall Scarborough
    Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen
  • 2010
    Darryl L. Holliday
    Louisiana State University
    Robin Schempp
    Right Stuff Enterprises
  • 2010
    Robert Danhi
    Chef Danhi & Co., Mortar & Press
    Chef Kurt Stiles
    Pure Living
  • 2009
    Aubrey Coffee, Ph.D.
    Clemson University
    Bob Davis
    Max & Erma’s and Damon’s
  • 2008
    Jason Gronlund
    McIlhenny Company TABASCO® Brand Products
    Allison Rittman, CRC
  • 2008
    Culinary Culture
    Hans Schade
    High Result Solutions
  • 2007
    Kevin Anderson
    Burger King Brands
    Carl Borchgrevink
    Michigan State University
  • 2006
    Michael Cheng, Southwest Minnesota State University
    Dolf De Rovira, Flavor Dynamics
  • 2005
    Richard Beaudoin, Impex Monteregie
    Marilyn Carlson, Oberto Sausage Co.
    John Matchuk, T. Hasegawa USA
  • 2003
    Dolf De Rovira, Flavor Dynamics
    Eric Sparks, Park 100 Foods
    RCA Midwest-Chicagoland Region
  • 2002
    Kevin Anderson, Burger King Brands
    Wendy Baskerville
    Michael Cheng, MCC
    Jeff Cousminer, Firmenich, Inc.
  • 2002
    John Cuskor, CA Raisin Marketing Board
    Jennifer Diamond, Firmenich, Inc.
    “Chef J” Hugh McEvoy
    Nina Price
  • 2000
    Steve Flynn, Manufacturers Chefs Group
  • 2000
    Michele Block, Darifair Foods, Inc.
    Bill “Pops” Hahne, Eatem Foods, Inc.
  • 1999
    Gary Freeman, American Saucery
    Michael Leonard, Food Product Design magazine
  • 1998
    Jeff Cousminer, Firmenich, Inc.
    Lisa Marie Morse, The CBORD Group

Culinology®
Innovation Award

The 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

 

Past Recipients

  • 2004
    Foodservice Innovation
    Sweet Street Desserts Chocolate Pyramid Anglaise
  • 2004
    Functional Ingredient Innovation
    Ariake, USA
  • 2004
    Menu Innovation
    Aramark Rolletto’s
  • 2004
    Retail Innovation
    Hershey’s Swoops
  • 2003
    Foodservice Innovation
    Bob Richard, Provimi Veal Co.
  • 2003
    Retail Innovation
    Catherine Zenner, Barilla America
  • 2002
    John Radcliff
    Smokey Bones/Darden Restaurants
  • 2001
    Tara Groves
    Cinnabon
    Forrest Waldo
    ConAgra
  • 2000
    Greg Grisanti, Mane USA, Inc.

Other RCA Awards

Past Recipients

  • 2004
    Gary Holleman Award
    Shirley Corriher, author
  • 2002
    Gary Holleman Award
    Michael Leonard
    Food Product Design magazine
  • 2001
    Gary Holleman Award
    George Sideras
    SYSCO Food Services
  • 2000
    Gary Holleman Award
    Dan Admire, Houlihans Restaurant Group
  • 1999
    Gary Holleman Award
    Ann Cooper, Putney Inn
  • 1998
    Gary Holleman Award
    Francis Lynch, Chef Desk
  • 1998
    Founder’s Award
    Winston Riley, Culinary Corps
  • 1998
    Leadership Award
    Givaudan Roure Flavors
    Wynn Starr Flavors