The USA Rice Federation, national advocate for all segments of the U.S. rice industry, recently launched a new “Foodservice Recognition Program” to acknowledge the efforts of innovative chefs, operators, distributors and industry professionals who menu or market U.S.-grown rice. The program commenced in December 2008 in Arkansas, the number-one rice-producing state, accounting for nearly 50 percent of the U.S. rice crop.

Four outstanding Arkansas chefs and operators were recognized:
  • Chef Capi Peck, owner of Trio's and Capi's Restaurants, Little Rock; honored for supporting the U.S. rice industry and local products for over 20 years: Trio’s, features "Arkansas Basmati Rice" in several entrées on their menu, including Thai-style Shrimp Curry and Chicken or Shrimp Enchiladas with Jalapeño Rice. Peck and partner Brent Peterson are active members of the Arkansas Green Restaurant Alliance and are committed to serving local foods.
  • Chef Mark Abernathy, owner of Loca Luna and Bene Vita Restaurants, Little Rock; honored for innovative applications using U.S. rice: Loca Luna, a bistro, features different types of U.S. rice in creative dishes like Chiles Rellenos stuffed with Cheesy Rice, Caribbean Voodoo Stew with Rice and vegetarian favorite Delta Wraps rolled with rice, cheese, black-eyed peas and vegetables. Abernathy is active in restaurant organizations like the Consolidated Arkansas Restaurant Industries.
  • Chef Kathy Webb, owner of Lilly's Dim Sum, Little Rock; honored for supporting local foods, including U.S. organic brown rice and U.S. jasmine rice: Lilly's Dim Sum, a contemporary Asian restaurant features cooked-to-order dishes using U.S.-grown rice in house specialties like Hong Kong Chicken, Korean Bibim Bop, a variety of Rice Bowls, and Pineapple Fried Rice, all freshly prepared with as many local ingredients as possible. Webb and partner Nancy Tesmer are co-founders of the Arkansas Green Restaurant Alliance.
  • Mike Flory, executive director of dining services at Hendrix College, Conway; honored for menuing U.S. rice daily during all meal/day parts: Hendrix College has an award winning foodservice operation, serving over 1,000 students three meals a day, seven days a week. Flory says the foodservice staff and students recognize the significance of the U.S. rice industry, and enjoy rice dishes every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Honorees were presented with a Certificate of Recognition and will be: announced in USA Rice Federation's “Rice Daily” newsletter disseminated to rice industry members, media and industry influencers; featured on USA Rice’s foodservice Web site (, visited by 15,000 foodservice chefs and culinary professionals each month; and promoted as innovators and leaders in foodservice.

Recipients are invited to use the new "Grown in the USA" rice logo on menus or other marketing materials to showcase their ongoing dedication and support by serving U.S.-grown products in their operations.