Lidia Bastianich, who has long been a pioneer in excellent but approachable Italian cuisine in the U.S., is being inducted into the MenuMasters Hall of Fame as part of a whole slate of MenuMasters winners who have displayed excellence in culinary innovation.
That includes Erick Williams, the chef of Virtue Restaurant & Bar in Chicago, who is the 2023 Innovator of the Year.
Also being honored are the creators of two unique burgers, a line of flatbreads, a non-fried side dish that actually sells, and a revamped menu that has breathed new life into a legacy family-dining chain.
Additionally, a new category is being recognized: digital innovation.
Presented by Nation’s Restaurant News and sponsored by Ventura Foods, the MenuMasters awards honor outstanding foodservice research and development. Winners have made innovations or created menu items that NRN’s editors have judged to have a significant impact on the industry. The winners will be celebrated at a gala awards ceremony at The Drake Hotel in Chicago on Saturday, May 20.
Read on to learn more about this year’s honorees.