RCA Outstanding Achievement Award

The Research Chefs Association (RCA) Outstanding Achievement Award recognizes food industry professionals and educators for their accomplishments in research and product development.

Award Description and Criteria

The RCA Outstanding Achievement Award 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.

  • Individual must be a current RCA member.
  • Accomplishment must span the 24-month period, December 2017 – present.

*Culinology educators will be considered for the achievements in progressing Culinology degree programs.

2021 award nominations will open later this year. 

Past Recipients


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Eve Lawson, CCS®
Principal Scientist, Seasoning & Flavors Innovation
PepsiCo Frito Lay R&D


Holly Ramage, MSFS, CCS®
Food Scientist

With 10 years of product development experience at Pepscio, Holly Ramage, MS, CCS, has developed products for many of America’s most loved brands including Doritos, Tostitos, Lays, and Sunchips. Some of the highlights include development of Tostitos Dipitizers, a line up culinary inspired flavors such as 4 Cheese Queso, in a microwavable tray with a re-closeable lid feature. This project involved not only formulation work to prefect the restaurant inspired formulations for retort application, but involved sourcing new manufacturing options and close connection with packaging engineers for optimization of bowl and lid design. Additionally, Holly has worked in extrusion technology with the expansion of Sunchips brand into Sunchips Veggie Harvest which utilizes yellow peas as the number one ingredient. Further, Holly’s developments include a lengthy list of seasoning and flavor designs including Hispanic focused flavor profiles for Doritos and a line up of Lightly Salted flavor offerings for Lays Kettle Cooked chips. In all projects, Holly works to combine culinary insights with science fundamentals to inspire delicious finished product design.

Angela Wadlington, CCS®
Manager, Culinary & Commercialization
Chick-fil-A, Inc.

As a 15-year employee of Chick-fil-A, Inc., I’ve had the pleasure of developing several products across various categories of our menu. Several of those menu items include ; Spicy Chicken Sandwich, Spicy chicken strips, Spicy chicken biscuit , Spicy grilled sandwich (with new bun), Chick-n- strips; Cobb Salad, Market Salad, Spicy Southwest Salad; Side Salad, Jalapeno salsa, Hashbrown Scramble Bowl and Burrito, Superfood side (alongside chef/restaurateur Ford Fry); milkshakes including seasonal Peach and Peppermint Chocolate Chip; the cool and refreshing Frosted Lemonade; dipping Sauces including Chick-fil-A sauce, Sweet and Spicy Sriracha, Zesty Buffalo and Garlic & Herb Ranch; salad dressings including Avocado Lime Ranch, Zesty Apple Cider Vinaigrette, Creamy Salsa, Light Italian, Garlic & Herb Ranch; and soups, Chicken Tortilla soup and Chicken Noodle Soup improvement.

The chain wide launch of the Spicy chicken sandwich and our milkshakes were two of several milestones for Chick-fil-A.

We are always looking of ways to simplify processes in our restaurants and one of the processes that I was able to influence and change was simplifying the way we make our milkshakes.

A few menu items I’ve also had the pleasure to work on, but are no longer on the menu include Asian Salad (before replaced with spicy SW salad), Fudge brownie, Banana Pudding Milkshake, Coffee Caramel Milkshake.

The combination of products mentioned above and others from the team, as well as contributions from many individuals from cross-functional teams, our Operators, Team Members and most importantly our customers have helped us grow into a $10 billon company.


Rosemary Trout, MSFS
Program Director and Assistant Clinical Professor, Culinary Arts & Food Science
Drexel University

When I became a full-time faculty member in Culinary Arts & Food Science in 2013, one of my first points of business was to apply for our Culinology certification through RCA. I saw the value of our organization for our students as a means of networking, learning about the entirety of the food world, and for future employment, immediately! Since then, I’ve been actively involved in RCA, mainly on the Board of Directors since 2016 and as Chair of the Education Committee, and thereby with the higher education committee. We’ve updated core competencies, Culinology approval and renewal processes, implemented a learning library and webinars that are open to RCA members and non-members. As Program Director at Drexel University, with colleagues, I’ve established a Bachelors Degree program that brings both science and culinary classes together, with a focus on product development, and a Master’s Degree that brings culinary aspects to our food science curriculum. We work on projects and products with food companies within our curriculum to give our students experience that sets them apart from their peers. I introduced Culinology through the James Beard Foundation, Creating a Full Use Kitchen online course to many culinary educators internationally. I’ve presented at our higher education summit and have made great connections and friends with the colleagues I’ve met through RCA