James Beard Foundation Names Bon Appétit Management Company CEO Fedele Bauccio Recipient of Inaugural Leadership Award

Recognizing 10 visionaries – including First Lady Michelle Obama – who are creating a more healthful, sustainable, and safe food world

Palo Alto, CA (Aug. 10, 2011)— Bon Appétit Management Company is proud to announce that CEO and founder Fedele Bauccio has been honored with one of the inaugural James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards. The new awards were established to recognize visionaries in the business, government, and education sectors responsible for creating a healthier, safer, and more sustainable food world. The honorees range from urban agriculture heroes to tireless school-food pioneers.

Bauccio said he was “deeply humbled” to be recognized alongside First Lady Michelle Obama, for her fight against childhood obesity; Edible Schoolyard revolutionary Alice Waters; sustainable agriculture pioneer Fred Kirschenmann; urban-farming superhero Will Allen; and the other distinguished luminaries Debra Eschmeyer, Sheri L. Flies, Jan Kees Vis, Janet Poppendieck, and Craig Watson.

The Leadership Awards represent a new focal point for the James Beard Foundation as the culinary arts organization enters its 25th anniversary year. “Our Foundation is widely known for recognizing the best chefs and restaurateurs in America through our annual James Beard Awards,” said Susan Ungaro, President of the James Beard Foundation. “Our new Leadership Awards shine the spotlight on game-changing pioneers who have inspired positive action to improve our country’s food system.”

Honorees were chosen by an advisory board comprised of a dozen experts from diverse areas of expertise. The Leadership Awards recognize specific outstanding initiatives as well as bodies of work and lifetime achievement. Among the criteria used to select final honorees are excellence of work, innovation in approach, and scale of impact within a community or the nation.

Under Bauccio’s leadership, Bon Appétit Management Company has provided “food services for a sustainable future” since 1987. Bauccio believes that sustainability is an ever-expanding goal that the company must work toward, involving the well-being of not only its customers, but also the communities in which it operates and the Earth itself. Bon Appétit launched its Farm to Fork program in 1999, years before the word “locavore” entered the dictionary. Its chefs now buy much of their food from a network of more than a thousand small, owner-operated farms and artisans within 150 miles of the company’s 400-plus cafes in 31 states.

“Quality ingredients grown and raised with care are what make our food flavorful and great-tasting,” says Bauccio. “We’re also happy that our Farm to Fork program keeps farmers on the land and strengthens the communities we work in.”

Bauccio committed Bon Appétit to Seafood Watch and rBGH-free milk in 2002; reducing antibiotics in animal husbandry in 2003; cage-free shell eggs in 2005; the Low Carbon Diet in 2007; and farmworkers’ rights in 2009. On Valentine’s Day 2011, the company became the first to introduce Fair Trade Certified baking chocolate into professional kitchens. In March, it released the Inventory of Farmworker Issues and Protections in the United States, a groundbreaking report produced by a unique for-profit/NGO joint venture of the Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation and United Farm Workers, with support from Oxfam America. (See full list of company milestones.) In October 2011, the Foundation will convene a TEDx conference, titled TEDxFruitvale: Harvesting Change, in Oakland, CA, bringing together farmworkers, farmers, filmmakers, sustainable food and business advocates, academics, and students to celebrate those who harvest this country’s food and discuss how to improve working conditions for them.

The inaugural cohort of recipients of the Leadership Awards will be honored at a ceremony and dinner prepared by James Beard Award-winning chefs Michel Nischan and Anne Quatrano during the second annual James Beard Foundation Food Conference, cohosted by Good Housekeeping, which will take place on October 12 and 13 at the Hearst Tower in New York City. Food is the world’s biggest industry, with restaurants alone contributing more than $550 billion to our national economy. Media messages about food saturate our culture at every turn. The invitation-only conference, titled “Sustainability on the Table,” will explore how money and media influence the way America eats. For more information, visit http://www.jbffoodconference.com.

About Bon Appétit Management Company

Bon Appétit Management Company (www.bamco.com) is an on-site restaurant company offering full food-service management to corporations, universities, and specialty venues. Based in Palo Alto, CA, Bon Appétit has more than 400 cafés in 31 states, including eBay, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Getty Center. A pioneer in environmentally sound sourcing policies, Bon Appétit has developed programs addressing local purchasing, the overuse of antibiotics, sustainable seafood, cage-free eggs, the connection between food and climate change, and, most recently, farmworker welfare. The company has received numerous awards for its work from organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council, Seafood Choices Alliance, The Humane Society of the United States, and Food Alliance. Its dining operations at Wheaton College in Illinois were recently voted Best College Food by 122,000 college students surveyed by the Princeton Review.

About the James Beard Foundation

Founded in 1986, the James Beard Foundation is dedicated to celebrating, nurturing, and preserving America’s diverse culinary heritage and future. A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, James Beard, who died in 1985, was a champion of American cuisine. He helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts. Today, the Beard Foundation continues in the same spirit by administering a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships to culinary schools, and publications, and by maintaining the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. For more information, please visit www.jamesbeard.org. Find insights on food at the James Beard Foundation’s blog Delights & Prejudices. Join the James Beard Foundation on Facebook. Follow the James Beard Foundation on Twitter.