Brewster, NY—More than 150 food establishments were represented at this year’s Food Operator’s Seminar, conducted by the Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH). The ninth annual event, held on Tuesday, March 3 and repeated on Monday, March 9, brought together owners, chefs and caterers of Putnam County’s restaurants, delicatessens, food shops and institutional food services, to learn about hot topics and trends in the food industry. Subjects included Putnam’s farming initiative, second annual Eat Smart Restaurant Week, and emergency preparedness for restaurants. For the first time, break-out sessions further offered a choice of topics: restaurants and social media, special dietary options such as vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and other food allergy-related requests, or ultraviolet water disinfection systems.
Putnam County Executive, MaryEllen Odell welcomed the crowd, applauding the food and beverage representatives for their role driving the Putnam economy. Ms. Odell spoke of her longtime involvement in the industry, and her own previous work experience in the “F and B” sector. As County Executive, she has focused on business and economic development, and has been a strong supporter of Eat Smart Restaurant Week.
Allen Beals, M.D., Commissioner of Health, and Kristine Boyle, a nutritionist and health educator at the health department, each reported on last year’s successful launch of Eat Smart Restaurant Week.
“Restaurant support was very enthusiastic,” said Dr. Beals. “We had 35 establishments participating and great input from chefs and other partners of Putnam’s top restaurants. No doubt about it—we showed that a delicious meal can also be healthful. That was the ultimate point.”
Ms. Boyle described survey results from customers, noting that “More than 95 percent reported they would be participating in 2015 Eat Smart Restaurant Week.” This year’s event will run from September 27 to October 11. Restaurants interested in more information should contact Kris Boyle or public health sanitarian Shawn Rogan, coordinator of the Food Operator’s Seminar, at the PCDOH at 845-808-1390.
The seminar also provides an opportunity for the health department to acknowledge outstanding service by food establishments. Award winners included Patrick and Carol Cutillo of Cutillo’s, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award for 53 years of operational excellence. Six Commissioner’s Gold Awards for operational excellence, the department’s highest and most stringent honor, were distributed to The Arch, the Brewster Central School District’s JFK Elementary School and Brewster High School, Rocco’s Pizza, Watchtower and the William Koehler Center. Commendation Awards for distinguished performance went to Gino’s Trattoria & Pizzeria and Redendo’s, and Food Safety Partnership Awards were presented to Eveready Diner, Ledley Catering and Scoops-N-More.
The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.
Health Commissioner Allen Beals, center, with award-winning chefs and food managers, from left: Patrick Lekaj, Rocco’s Pizza; Owen Patterson, Watchtower; Marco Barbaro, Gina’s Trattoria & Pizzeria; Albeiro Jimenez, The Arch; Health Commissioner Allen Beals, Brian Ledley, Ledley Catering, and from the William Koehler Center, Kathleen Fetky, Pat Sheehy and Mary Klepack. Other winners not pictured include those from Eveready Diner, Redendo’s and Scoops-N-More.