IFSEA International Food Service Executives Association

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Begun in 2003, first the Military Hospitality Alliance, a sister organization to IFSEA, and now the Veteran's Support Network, have held two annual competitions - the Military Culinary Competition and the Enlisted Aide of the Year Award.  Having skipped one year in transition, in 2017 IFSEA joined VSN in hosting the 14th culinary competition, held outside Marine Barracks and the 15th Enlisted Aide of the Year Award, held as part of a USO Salute to Military Chefs dinner at the Ritz Carlton in Pentagon City, VA.

Since 2013, VSN has held food service certification classes for homeless veterans, at no cost to them.  Funds raised through VSN and IFSEA will allow us to take those classes to cities where IFSEA has a concentration of members, who may take this on as their annual charity event.

certification classes for homeless veterans

In 2013, Ed Manley was presented with an idea to take homeless veterans, put them in a restaurant employing only such people, so they could be trained to get jobs in the industry.  Ed did not think customers would go to a restaurant run by homeless people, but had just taught 19 Navy chefs at Camp David, and thought, what if we gave homeless vets the same training and certifications that the president's staff had, wouldn't that give them a new lease on life. 

Networking with local homeless shelters, such as U. S. Vets, Veteran's Village (Las Vegas), the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities, we find veterans who have, for a wide array of reasons, found their lives turned upside down, with seemingly no way out.  Many provide them with "fish" (food, clothing, housing) which lasts for a day.  We are the ONLY organization we know of, that provides them a "fishing rod" (education, resume building certifications, confidence, hope, belief) so they can catch their own fish.  We then help them to find sustainable jobs befitting their military experience and certifications earned. 

If you want to help, contact Ed Manley at 561-929-4765 and just help us set up the classes, or help us with funds - $300 will pay the hard expenses of one veteran (exam fees, pins and patches, graduation luncheon, trainer's travel expenses, etc.).

2017 Culinary Competition

2016 Culinary Competition, Tropicana Las Vegas

Homeless Vets Day 1

Homeless Veterans on Class Day 1

Vets at Graduation

The Same Vets at Graduation Luncheon at Golden Nugget, Las Vegas

Enlisted Aide of the year award

In 2003, Senior Chief Martin Mongiello suggested that Ed Manley and Mary Starkey of the Starkey Institute of Household Management, meet, as he knew they would come up with SOMETHING.  Mary suggested an award for the best enlisted aides in each service, introduced Ed to CMSgts "Doc" Murdoch and Pat Moore, who put a joint service team together to develop the award criteria, Pat introduced Ed to Elaine Rogers, President of the world's largest USO, which held the Chef's dinner, and the rest, as they say, is history.  Each service submits their best E. A., those people go to the Ritz for an interview board consisting of a retired 3 or 4 star officer, the spouse of a 3 or 4 star officer, and service representatives.  It is a BIG deal in the career of each of the 5 finalists, from which the Armed Forces Enlisted Aide of the Year is chosen.  The award is presented at the USO Salute to Military Chefs dinner at the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City.  The WWE presents the winner with a WWE Championship Ring and a huge WWE Title (aka belt) in a shadow box, which rotates to the service Chief's office at the Pentagon for the following year.  The winner receives $1000 from VSN and the others receive $500 each.  Originally hosted by the Military Hospitality Alliance, VSN (a 501(c)(3) charity corporation and IFSEA are now the sponsors.

At the Ritz Carlton Pentagon City

2017 Enlisted Aide of the Year MSgt Scott Strippoli, flanked by (l-r) MGySgt Jesse Camacho, Hobart's Dick Hynes, Dave Zander, Chef Robert Irvine, Ecolab's Jack Kleckner, Ed Manley. At the Ritz Carlton Pentagon City.

Military Culinary Competition

Military Culinary Competition

EAOY Winner 2016

Enlisted Aide Award

Seeing some very successful military culinary competitions being held at bases such as Fort Lee, we thought it would be a great benefit to the military chefs if we held a competition in the public view, so civilians could see the talent possessed by military chefs.  Originally sponsored by the Military Hospitality Alliance, the competition is now co-sponsored by VSN and IFSEA.

In 2002 and 2003, the competition was held in the cow barns (minus the cows) at the Timonium Fairgrounds, as part of the Maryland Restaurant Association trade show.  You would have loved to see the vendors eyes pop wide open when General Jumper, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, visited our first competition and walked around the show.  The third year they moved to the Baltimore Convention Center where costs got us kicked out, so we skipped a year.    MGySgt Jesse Camacho arrived at Marine Barracks and the Commandant, General and Mrs. Conway, fully embraced the thought of a competition outside their door.  In 2007, we joined the Barracks Row Main Street Fall Festival, which draws about 10,000 people to view our competition at the famous 8th and I Barracks.   Spending 2016 at the Tropicana Resort in Las Vegas, with Chef Robert Irvine, we returned to Barracks Row in 2017.  We typically give out $7,000 in prize money, though we had to reduce it in 2017, but expect to raise it back in 2018.  For the first time, in 2017, IFSEA student branches were allowed to compete, and SUNY Delhi and the U. of Maryland, Eastern Shore competed, with SUNY beating all 14 teams in round 1.  Due to a lack of teams signing up, the 2019 competition was cancelled and most likely this competition no longer serves a need.  Many of the best competitors got their start at our competition. 


sign up here for


We want all of our members to be involved, either getting services, or giving them.  Our members come from all segments of the industry, including dietitians, chefs, purchasing agents, educators, designers, sales and much more, from schools, military, restaurants, caterers, health care, casinos and more.

This is a free service as a member, for up to 2 hours of counseling.  Beyond that, you can make arrangements with your mentor - who might continue for free or might ask for some compensation.  The two hours does not have to be in one session, and we won't cut you off if you need 5 or 10 more minutes.  Your mentor might suggest another IFSEA member who MAY be available for hire if that is their job. 
We WILL be happy to accept a donation if you feel the services warranted such - your donation will be split among the Kae deBrent Hodges Fund, the Homeless Veteran's training program, and the Worthy Goal scholarship fund. 

Any IFSEA member can get complimentary mentoring from our Senior Mentors program.  There is NO cost for a guaranteed 2-3 hours of consulting.  Beyond that you can ask for more time and it will be up to them if they are able to continue with you.  This is a volunteer program so probably the more interesting your project, the more they would like to work with you.  They may also provide their own services or those of another person, at a fee.  You can ask them any question from what should my food cost be in my deli, to how do I get a loan for my new business, to what is the best kind of fryer to use, or what cleaning supplies company do you recommend.

Any members who is at least 50 years old, with at least 15 years experience in the segment they are representing.  In some cases young people, or those with less experience, may be approved to be at mentor, at the discretion of the Chairperson of this program. Mr. Bill May.

To sign up to BE a mentor, or to USE a mentor,
fill out the form below.

Mentoring and Coaching Venn Diagram

You and your mentor are havaing private discussions.  As such, IFSEA can NOT be held responsible for any actions resulting from this program.  You will be responsible for reviewing the suggestions you are given, and deciding whether those will be good for you or not. 


Working Over a Map and Laptop
One of our long-time member, Professor Al Izzolo, has taken dozens of trips with UNLV hospitality students, to all over the world.  The school stopped the program, but Al has a lot of fun directing them and said he would be happy to do that for IFSEA.

Probably the easy one to do first is a back of the house tour of some of the top restaurants in Las Vegas  You will visit with the Chefs and GM's as available, taste the food, have education sessions put together by Professor Al, with plenty of time to enjoy the sights and sounds of Las Vegas. 

If you are interested, tell us where you would like to go.  If you don't know, we will tell YOU where we want to take you.  With an extensive career in our industry as well as decades teaching at UNLV, Al is the perfect host to take you where you can have fun, yet get educated (tax write-off?), eat well, at affordable pricing. 

If interested, please fill out the form and tell us about yourself and where YOU would like to see us go. 


Resurrecting a successful program from the past, for companies that would like to have our 117 year old association present them with the IFSEA Gold Seal, representing their quality of product, service and professionalism. In the past the interest was for military business, so we sent out active duty military personnel. We will still do that, as available, but supplementing with retired military and civilians with excellent credentials. Like our culinary competition, the winners feel best when they have great respect for those who judged them, thus we are picky with who is on our team. We’d love to have you apply. You must be an IFSEA member to apply.



IFSEA held conferences for 117 years, missing 2017 due to re-building, and now is planning a joint conference with the Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals (CAFP), with whom we are both considering the advantages of joining back together like we were for some 60 years.  That will be May 15-18, in beautiful and historic Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

Our 2nd International MeetUp will be September 28th at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, DC.  This is a full day of education, including a Beer and Food Pairing luncheon hosted by Boston Beer and is a prelude to the 15th Military-IFSEA Student Branch culinary competition the next day, held on the street outside of Marine Barracks, home of the Commandant.  The competition is held in conjunction with the business community Fall Festival, which draws 10,000 visitors to see our chefs cook.

To attend or volunteer please fill out the form. If you volunteer to work on the competition, your Friday event will be complimentary.


IFSEA is your source for the latest in food industry news, tips, and even new recipes. With our monthly newsletter, you'll have no problem keeping up with the evolving field of hospitality.  All IFSEA members receive the newsletter, if you don't but would like to, send an email to Matt Trupiano, DODG, CFE.


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