Don Odiorne was honored with the inaugural Champion Award by the Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education (CAFÉ) for his invaluable years of service, thoughtful partnership and tireless support of the organization.

Odiorne, who recently retired after 30 years working with the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC), received the surprise recognition during CAFÉ’s 15th annual Leadership Conference held in Charlotte, N.C., June 20-22. The award recognizes individuals who have assisted CAFÉ with its mission of linking the foodservice industry with culinary educators throughout the nation.

CAFÉ President Mary Petersen said, “Without the support and encouragement of engaged industry partners like Don Odiorne and IPC, it would have been difficult to succeed when there are so many challenges facing not only the foodservice industry but also culinary education and its delivery, relevance, and outreach. Don has helped immeasurably with the obstacles facing culinary programs in the U.S.”

Odiorne’s vision and resource commitment to culinary educators included sponsoring the IPC Innovation Award, recognizing innovative approaches to culinary arts education at the secondary and postsecondary levels. This award is presented during CAFÉ’s annual Leadership Conference and is open to culinary arts instructors nationwide. More than 40 instructors have received awards totaling more than $50,000 in scholarship funds.

Odiorne began his foodservice career in Denver. He owned fresh pasta restaurants, a regional pizza franchise, and consulted on several major sandwich, coffee and dessert concepts. Prior to joining the Idaho Potato Commission, Odiorne was promotions director for the California Lettuce Commission in Salinas, Calif.

While working at IPC, Odiorne held the vice president of foodservice position and directed the website creating the Dr. Potato blog, which now boasts more than 600 posts of tips on potato preparation. He also worked with over 100 food bloggers to encourage the use of Idaho potatoes in their recipes and videos. 

His additional awards include the Packer’s Foodservice Achievement Award in 2013, International Foodservice Editorial Council’s annual Betty award for foodservice publicity, and in the food blogger community he received the Camp Blogaway “Golden Pinecone” for brand excellence as well as the Sunday Suppers Brand partnership award

Industry News, Non-Commercial