March 6/Stamford, Conn./PRNewswire-FirstCall -- Centerplate Inc. announced that Alfonso Contrisciani has been named vice president -- Culinary Development. In his new role, Chef Contrisciani will partner with the company's corporate executive chef, Brett Lewis, and the company's Culinary Leadership Network (its team of foremost chefs) to develop signature dishes, engineer custom, regionally inspired menus and design innovative catering, quick-service and restaurant concepts.

Contrisciani, who shares his master chef status with only 61 other chefs in the world, brings a track record of culinary success to his new position. His prestigious accomplishments include being named "Restaurateur of the Year" by the International Food & Beverage Forum, leading the U.S. Culinary Team to win 27 gold medals during various competitions, and being awarded the Medal of the French Republic, considered the highest recognition for culinary achievements in the United States.

He has applied his craft in notable kitchens across the country including the Fairmont Hotel in Philadelphia; the Acoaxet Club in Rhode Island; and Circa in Philadelphia's "restaurant row." Contrisciani has also opened three of his own restaurants: Opus 251 in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square, Alfonso's City Grill in Atlantic City and Alfonso's at the Country House in Egg Harbor New Jersey. Chef Contrisciani most recently served as executive chef at Mozambique Restaurant in Laguna Beach, California, where he is credited with introducing a new culinary trend in the restaurant world by using exotic Southern African tastes and flavors.

"We are delighted to welcome Alfonso to our Stamford offices and our Strategic Team," said Janet Steinmayer, president and chief executive officer of Centerplate. She added, "Alfonso is an incredibly innovative, passionate, and skilled chef who will add further momentum to Centerplate's drive to redefine our industry and our company."

Contrisciani is a member of the American Culinary Federation, the World Master Chefs Society, and La Chaine des Rotisseurs Society and has been inducted into the International Food & Beverage Hall of Fame and the American Academy of Chefs.

From the March 17, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash