Presidio dining facility advances to finals of Connelly Award
October 15, 2010
- The Belas Dining Facility at the Presidio of Monterey is one of six finalists for a Connelly Award for Excellence in Food Service.
- The Connelly Award is sponsored by the International Food Service Executives Association (IFSEA).
- An IFSEA evaluation team visited the Belas facility on Oct. 6.
- The Connelly Award winner is expected to be announced in December.
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Competition among contending Army dining facilities for the 2010 Philip A. Connelly Award for Excellence in Army Food Service grew keener Oct. 6 when the Presidio's Belas Hall Dining Facility hosted an evaluation team sent by the award's sponsor, the International Food Service Executives Association (IFSEA).
Last July the Presidio's Food Service management team was notified that its Belas facility is one of six finalists for the Connelly Award in the "small garrison" dining facility category, a category for facilities that serve an average of 300 or fewer diners per meal.
"We expect to know in December which facility gets the award," said Presidio Food Service Manager and Food Service Contracting Officer's Representative Ernest Meadows. He said the Connelly Award consists of a coveted silver bowl and that winners and runners-up also receive scholarship privileges at the prestigious culinary school at Chicago's Robert Morris University. The 2010 Connelly Awards are scheduled to be presented in an IFSEA ceremony March 29 through April 3, 2011, in the Chicago suburb of Schaumberg, Ill.
The other finalists for the small garrison award are the Camp Zama, Japan, Dining Facility; the 501st Military Brigade Dining Facility of Camp Humphreys, Korea; the Regional Training Center Dining Facility of Fort McCoy, Wisc.; the Panzer Kaserne Dining Facility of Boblingen, Germany; and the Combat Aviation Brigade Consolidated Facility of Fort Bragg, N.C.
The award is named for the late Philip A. Connelly, former president of IFSEA, and has been bestowed annually since 1968 to Army dining facilities in five categories. Beside the small garrison category, IFSEA presents a Connelly Award in a large garrison category (facilities serving an average of 301 or more diners per meal), active Army field kitchen category, National Guard field kitchen category and Army Reserve field kitchen category.
Recognized as the "food service industry's oldest trade association," IFSEA was organized in 1901 and today has branches throughout the United States and in Guam, Okinawa and Tokyo. Its stated mission is "to raise food service industry standards, to educate members and future industry leaders, to recognize member achievements and to serve the growing needs of the diverse, dynamic, multi-billion-dollar-year market."
Meadows said IFSEA and the Joint Culinary Center of Excellence of the Army Quartermaster Center and School of Fort Lee, Va., work together to judge the Connelly Award competition, which begins with competitors submitting self-nomination materials. After finalists are determined, the award goes to the facility that scores highest in an on-site observation of the facility in operation.
The IFSEA evaluation team that visited the Belas facility was comprised of civilian chef Ronald C. Coneybear of IFSEA; Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Georgene Frances Davis, 6th Army Food Advisor, Fort Lee, Va.; and Army Sgt. Maj. Michael A. Dixon of the Army Center of Excellence.
The visit was an opportunity for evaluation team members to extend IFSEA's congratulations to the Belas staff for reaching the finals. Meadows and the Presidio's Director of Logistics Adam Barno used the occasion to recognize staff members for achievements. At an informal ceremony in the dining area soon after lunch had been served, all staff members received certificates of appreciation and three received in-house "most valuable player" (MVP) certificates. Grill Cook Teacolia Alexander was selected as the facility's MVP, with 1st Cook Helen Harper and Food Service Worker Ana Garcia the first and second runners-up, respectively.
On behalf of the Belas staff, Meadows accepted an IFSEA award plaque from the evaluation team. The team also recognized the Presidio's civilian contractor for food services, Sacramento-based Linker, Inc., for its contributions.
"Working in the Army Food Service Program has its everyday challenges," said Meadows, "but being a finalist for the Connelly Award is a great honor that shows hard work is rewarded. And I want to thank the Presidio Garrison command and many members of the Garrison staff for the support they've given to the Food Service in this competition."
"Receiving this elite recognition highlights our commitment to excellence in food service by enhancing the quality of life for our service members," Barno said. "I am very proud of my staff and the staff of Linker, Inc., for their hard work and dedication to the Belas Dining Facility."
Meadows said the evaluation team will base its final scoring on a long checklist of findings. He said evaluators look at every aspect of dining facility operation, including food safety, food quality and preparation, the appearance and attitude of personnel, dining area dAfAcor, and the facility's business practices and records-keeping.
In addition to the Belas facility, the Presidio's Food Service oversees the Combs Hall Dining Facility and Combs Hall Kiosk.