September is National Food Safety Education Month. This campaign from the National Restaurant Association focuses on the importance of food safety education for the restaurant and foodservice industry, while raising awareness of the industry's commitment to food safety. The theme of this year's National Food Safety Education Month is "High-Risk Customers: Serve Your Fare with Extra Care."

The program offers five weeks of free training materials, available for download at The weekly training activities and posters can be used to supplement existing in-unit food safety training. All materials reinforce the theme and focus on the special needs of children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weak immune systems.

The curriculum for National Food Safety Education Month is broken down into five weekly themes, with each theme stressing a different aspect of food safety and high-risk customers. These themes cover topics such as recognizing high-risk customers, children and food safety risk, foods to avoid, minimum internal cooking temperatures and food safety risk factors.

All NFSEM materials are based on the National Restaurant Association's ServSafe food safety training and certification program. The materials communicate food-safety concepts efficiently and all the activities can be completed in less than 10 minutes.
The 2010 March of Dimes Chicago Chef of the Year Award will be presented to White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford at the Signature Chefs Auction of Chicago on Nov. 3 at the Swissotel.

Now in its second year, the award was created to recognize chefs with Chicago ties for their achievements in culinary arts. Comerford is being honored for her commitment to culinary arts as well as her dedication to the environment, the farming industry, healthy eating and an eco-friendly lifestyle. Accomplishments include bringing nationwide attention to healthy eating and reducing childhood obesity. Chef Rick Bayless, the inaugural Chef of the Year winner, is expected to present the award to chef Comerford during the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction of Chicago.

At the event, guests will sample dishes from more than 25 local chefs. Local restaurants participating in the Signature Chefs Auction of Chicago include: Benny's Chop House, Gabriel Viti's Gabriel's Restaurant and Miramar Bistro, Ristorante Prosecco, Province, Boka, The Signature Room at the 95th, Volare, Roy's, N9ne Steak House, The Palm Restaurant, The Purple Pig and Heaven on Seven.

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