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.

New for 2019 - Outstanding Achievement Awards

The Outstanding Achievement Awards were newly developed to recognize product developers and educators in the area of Culinology®. Categories include: Product Development for Retail, Product Development for Food Science, and Culinology® Education.

Lifetime Achievement Award

The Lifetime Achievement 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.

2019 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient



Mark Crowell, CRC®, Principal Culinologist, CuliNex

View Past Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients


Pioneer Award

The 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.

2019 Pioneer Award Recipient



Mario Valdovino, Corporate Executive Chef and Senior Director of Culinary Innovations, Tyson Foods, Inc.

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.

2019 President's Award Recipients

John Marcy, Ph.D.

University of Arkansas

Jeff Cowles, CCS®
Director Culinary Sales
Sugar Creek Sous Vide



Allen Freed
AJ Freed, L.L.C.


View Past President’s Award 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 the Culinology® Expo Product Award.

2019 Culinology® Expo Product Award Recipient

Red Arrow
Product: Cherrywood Smoked Sugar

View Past Recipients

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

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