FAME Awards

Foodservice Achievement Management Excellence (FAME)

Basic American Foods FAME Awards are the pinnacle of achievement for the K-12 industry’s innovators and leaders. FAME Awards winners define excellence in every aspect of school foodservice achievement and leadership. They educate, inspire and motivate their staffs, communities, and the students they feed.

The 35th awards ceremony will be held in Orlando Florida on January 14th, 2024.

Congratulations to the 2023 Winners

Presenting this year’s FAME Awards Winners

Golden Foodservice Director of the Year Award

Jessica Shelly
Director of Student Dining Services
Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati, OH

Jessica creates a dining experience for the students she serves and is known for her ability to “not just serve school lunch, but to serve lunch at school.” By empowering choice and offering options, Jessica increased high school lunch participation from 48% to 76%.

Silver Spirit Award

Lauren Koff
Houston County Schools, Perry, GA

For the last ten years Lauren has far exceeded the original scope of her position. Whether it’s developing a local food show, training others in growing their careers, obtaining grant money, or bringing CEP to over half of the schools in the district, Lauren is invested in all parts of her school foodservice program. She is well respected beyond her Houston County family and is regularly requested to speak at conferences.

Silver Leadership Award

Christine Clarahan
Director of Food and Nutrition Services
School City of Hammond, Hammond, IN

Christine’s strength is growing others into leaders. She was the first to implement a comprehensive leadership training program for all staff, which no other district ‘non-curricular’ department had ever done. With her six years as the director, Christine passionately values her staff and works hard to ensure fair compensation for all.

Silver Rising Star Award

Melanie Romano
School Nutrition Director
Alliance Preparatory Schools Inc., Charlotte, NC

With just two years of experience, Melanie has  successfully transitioned Alliance from a vended, catered contract to a delicious, self-prep program offering multiple nutritious entrees daily, thus establishing much high meal participation and satisfaction. This change increased breakfast participation in one of the Alliance schools from 106% to 274%.


We believe there’s nothing better than a really great meal.


And we know what makes school meals so great are the people like you who create them – in school kitchens and lunch rooms everywhere. We’re proud to serve the K-12 foodservice segment, where the Basic American Foods FAME Awards honor and recognize food heroes like you.

Nominations Open on July 10th!

Read below to learn how the 2023 winners were chosen.

Step 1: Who is eligible?

  • All school nutrition professionals who are members of SNA, in addition to special supporters of school nutrition, are eligible for nomination.
  • While director nominees are limited to receiving one Silver Star Award during their careers as directors, they are also eligible to receive the Golden Star Award.
  • Career changes may make past FAME Award winners eligible to receive different FAME Awards. Past FAME Award winners are not eligible to receive the same award.
  • All winners must be in good standing with the industry.
  • Employees of Basic American Foods (BAF) are not eligible.
  • The selection committee and BAF reserve the right to disqualify any nominee or winner.

Step 2: Pick a category

There are four award categories, so take a look at the following nomination criteria and questions per category and decide which best fits for your nominee.

  • Golden Director of the Year Award
  • Leadership Award
  • Spirit Award
  • Rising Star Award

Step 3: Write an achievement summary

Once you’ve matched your nominee’s accomplishments with the appropriate award, use the questions to create a summary of your nominee’s achievements.

The FAME selection committee will use the achievement summary to determine the winners.

Step 4: Nominate online

  • Follow this link: 2024 FAME Awards Nominations
  • Please be concise in your responses. Limit each response to 4,500 characters (approximately 500 words).
  • Additional materials, such as article clippings, samples, videos, etc., will not be accepted.

Questions? Need more information?

Please contact Deniece Ledin:

Phone: (925) 472-4139

Email: dledin@baf.com

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