Rustic Crust Pizza Will Return To Production After Fire

Less than month after a fire leveled its bakery, Rustic Crust is poised to return to the business of making pizza. “Back in early March, we predicted we’d be ready in three weeks, and we are,” says Brad Sterl, Rustic Crust president and chief executive officer. “Thanks to round-the-clock work by contractors, consultants and our own staff, we’ll be back in production next week and sending out product by the end of the month,” he said.

Rustic Crust, which produces Rustic Crust ready-made pizza crusts and frozen American Flatbread pizza, has completed renovation work in a 65,000-square-foot facility less than a mile from the pizza bakery destroyed by fire March 6. The Main Street structure also houses the company’s offices and warehouse. Less than a week after the fire, Mr. Sterl also promised he’d continue paying employees as the company worked to resume operations. Many staff members took advantage of training sessions and other activities during the downtime and still received a weekly check. There are plans to hire an estimated 15 to 20 more workers in the next six to nine months. He added, “Our sales team is reaching out to schedule orders, with the priority being accounts that have run out of stock.”

He expects to begin shipping by the end of April.

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ACF Northeast Conference Honors Chefs & Culinary Students

Chefs, students and food service professionals gathered for professional development and culinary trend seminars at the 2014 American Culinary Federation (ACF) Northeast Regional Conference, held April 11-14 at The Crowne Plaza Hotel at the Crossings, Warwick, R.I.

More than 25 chefs, students, food service professionals and chapters were presented with ACF awards during the conference. These winners will compete for their respective national titles at the 2014 ACF National Convention in Kansas City, Mo., July 25-29:

•Professionalism Award—Americo DiFronzo, CEC, CCA, AAC, executive chef, Union Oyster House.

•Boston ACF Northeast Region Student Chef of the Year—Geoffrey Lanez, CC, student, Johnson & Wales University, Providence, R.I.

•ACF Northeast Region Chapter of the Year—ACF of Greater Buffalo New York, Buffalo, N.Y.

•ACF Northeast Region Chapter Achievement Awards—ACF Columbus Chapter, Columbus, Ohio, ACF Epicurean Club of Boston, and ACF Philadelphia Delaware Valley Chefs Association, Philadelphia.

ACF Northeast Region Cutting Edge Awards were presented to David Goldstein, corporate executive chef, Acosta Sales and Marketing, Feasterville, Pa.; Perrin Long, CEC, CCE, AAC, culinary arts instructor, Portsmouth High School, Portsmouth, N.H.; ACF Piscataqua Chapter; Michael Murray, CEC, banquet chef, Sleepy Hollow Country Club, Scarborough, N.Y.; Gary Sheldon, CEC, AAC, corporate chef, Sysco, Westbrook, Maine; and Drew Smalbach, CEC, executive chef, White Manor Country Club, Malvern, Pa.

Northeast Region President’s Medallion were presented to Americo DiFronzo, CEC, CCA, AAC, executive chef, Union Oyster House, Boston; Geoffrey Lanez, CC, student, Johnson & Wales University, Providence, R.I.; and Michael Roddey, CEC, CCA, CCE, CDM, owner/chef consultant, Gastronomic Services & Consulting, Duncansville, Pa.

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Burger King Launches Wi-Fi Services

Burger King Corp. has expanded its long-standing relationship with AT&T by launching AT&T Wi-Fi services for all of its U.S. restaurants.

“WHOPPER Wi-Fi is about improving the in-restaurant experience for our guests. Most of our guests carry smart phones or tablets, and this upgrade makes their time with us easier and more enjoyable,” said Alex Macedo, president of Burger King North America.

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Latest Word in Food Service...

The National Restaurant Assn. named three Northeast officials as winners of the Restaurant Neighbor and Faces of Diversity Awards. Matt Haley, chief executive officer of SoDel Concepts, won a Restaurant Neighbor Award; Mansour Ghalibaf, owner of Hotel Northampton, Northampton, Mass., and Jahangir Kabir, district supervisor, White Castle System of Woodside N.Y., won Faces of Diversity American Dream Awards.

• Fast-casual chain Cosi will be moving its headquarters to Boston From Chicago. New CEO R.J. Dourney formerly was founder and chief executive officer of Hearthstone Associates, Cosi’s largest franchisee with a dozen locations in Greater Boston. Mr. Dourney cited Boston’s acceptance of the brand as one of the factors leading to the move.

• The Vermont Dept. of Tourism and Marketing is promoting Vermont Restaurant Week, April 25-May 4.

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