OVER 8,000 RESTAURANT AND FOODSERVICE INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS ATTEND FLORIDA RESTAURANT & LODGING SHOW
Over 8,000 restaurant and foodservice industry professionals saw new products and services from 400+ exhibiting companies -170 of which were new to the Show – covering 100,000 square feet of exhibit space at the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show, held last week at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. The event was sponsored by the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, a partner of the National Restaurant Association.
“The energy and excitement on the show floor was fantastic, fueled by all of the special events, new product announcements and culinary competitions. We would like to thank our exhibitors, attendees, speakers and partner, the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, for making this event more than a tradeshow,” said Ron Mathews, Industry Vice President for the Foodservice Events. “We heard a lot of great buzz on the show floor from the buyers who were discovering many innovative and dynamic new products and services for the industry.”
The show featured the presentation of several prestigious awards. On Tuesday afternoon, the Torch Award was presented to Chef Melissa Kelly for her outstanding contributions to the profession. Melissa is chef and owner of Primo, a James Beard award recipient and credited with bringing the concept of Farm to Table to Florida. On Wednesday afternoon, Kathleen Wood, Kathleen Wood Partners and Master Chef Ferdinand Metz presented The Beacon Award to Edna Morris, Managing Director, Axum Capital Partners and CEO & Partner, Range Restaurant Group on behalf of the Foodservice Council for Women for her strides in advancing the career path for women in the restaurant & foodservice industry.
The Winners of the People’s Choice Awards for the Innovative New Product Showcase were announced. The Overall Winner was Party Pods for their new version of a picnic table with a sleek new design of mobile capability which includes all the amenities. The 1st Place Runner Up wasScavi & Ray Winery for their delicious Prosecco, Mascato and Larusco wines; and The 2nd Place Runner Up was Fresh Origins for their Edible Herb Flowers Mix and Habanero Herb Crystals. The winner of the Best New Product in the Food Trends Experience was Padilla Imports for their El Yucateco Black Label Reserve Habanero Hot Sauce. Editors from several leading industry publications identified 12 innovative new products that were presented to the media and buyers. The best new product in the Pitch the Press program was presented to LRV Distributors for their Master Paletas Gourmet Ice Pops.
Throughout the Show, several awards were presented in the American Culinary Federation Culinary Arts Competition. The first place winner of the R.L Schreiber Apprentice/Jr. Member Florida State Champion Team Skills wasSarasota Bay Chefs, Keiser University, Sarasota, FL. The first place winner of the A.C.F. Central Florida Chapter/FreshPoint Farm to Table Vegetarian Signature Recipe Competition was Peter Imlah, Universal Orlando Resort. The first place winner of the Taste of Elegance Signature Pork Recipe Competition was Tara Valle, The Cooks Club, Tampa Bay, FL. The first place winner of The Two Man Team USA Culinary Cup Team Competition wasTeam Charlotte, Charlotte, NC. The first place winners of The Florida Pastry Challenge were Hannah McBride, The Everglades Club, Palm Beach, FL in the Wedding Cake Challenge and Ray Blanchard, The Everglades Club, Palm Beach, FL for his chocolate cake.
On Thursday afternoon, during the ACF Chefs Table Luncheon, Master Chef Ferdinand Metz; Ron Mathews, Vice President of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show; and Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, sponsors of the event, presented Steve Jayson, CEC, AAC 2000 National Chef of the Year, 2016 ACF/CFC Show Chairman, and Corporate Executive Chef, Universal Studios with an appreciation award to recognize his 20 years of service in producing the Culinary Arts Competition held in conjunction with the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show.
Thousands of attendees took advantage of the 30+ education sessions offered at The Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum. The conference kicked off with a brand new half-day FRLA Independent Operators Workshop, which featured keynotes by Kathleen Wood, Jim Knight and a panel of leading independent operators. Other conference sessions featured interesting and timely topics including; How to Navigate the Menu Labeling Regulations; The Celebration and Discussion with Women Chefs; Building Customer Loyalty Programs; Employee Recruitment Methods, and much more.
Hundreds of attendees watched as rising star chefs competed in the Rapid Fire Appetizer Competition, which was hosted by Edible Orlando. Tavoris Ingram of The Twisted Tuna won the competition and $1,000 for his delicious Tuna Poke. The other competing chefs were Ernie Danjean, Dockside Café, and Eric Parker, Duffy’s Sports Grill. The judges were Ryan Vargas, Emeril’s Tchoup Chop; James McGuinness, Keiser University and Keith Keogh, Total Food Network.
New on the show floor were two international feature areas including; the Sabor Latino Pavilion, which focused on Hispanic and Latin American products and the Japan Pavilion, which featured foods and products dedicated to Japanese food and flavors. Other feature areas on the show floor included the Food Trends Experience where 75 companies displayed healthy, organic sustainable, ethnic artisanal, fusion and more; The Education Station, which featured business strategies from leaders in the field; The Beer, Wine and Spirits Pavilion, which offered access to new craft beers and other products, and much more. Presenters in the Culinary Demonstration Theater included Ashley Nickell, ASH Orlando who prepared Roasted Mini Pumpkin with Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Risotto; Keith Williamson, Datz who prepared Tuna Poke; Susan Boyle, Sweet Miniature Desserts who prepared seasonal pumpkin cupcakes; and Douglas Braselman, Emeril’s Orlando who prepared Blackened Redfish over Anson mills Carolina rice grits, Gulf shrimp and tomato fennel stew.
At the close of the Show, the exhibitors of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show donated thousands of pounds of food to The Second Harvest Food Bank of Orlando.
The 2017 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show is scheduled for Sunday, September 10 – Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. The Show is produced and managed by Urban Expositions (www.urban-expo.com) and sponsored by the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (www.frla.org). Urban Expositions produces several other foodservice events including the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York to be held Sunday, March 5 – Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York and the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo, which will be held Sunday, August 27 – Tuesday, August 29 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. For more information on exhibiting or attending future events, visit the official Show website at www.thefoodshows.com.
Urban Expositions, owned by Clarion Events, produces and manages a portfolio of 36 events, serving eight industry sectors including Gift, Souvenir, Art, Aviation, Foodservice, Pet, Auto and Gaming. Urban has offices in Shelton, CT, Kennesaw, GA and Boca Raton, FL, and is represented by employees in California, Colorado and Illinois. www.urban-expo.com. Clarion Events operates over 200 events in 35 countries from offices in the UK, South Africa, USA, Brazil, Germany, Singapore, UAE, Turkey, and the Netherlands. Clarion can trace its roots back to 1947 and takes great pride in being one of the oldest independent event organizers in the UK. The teams at Clarion create uniquely effective and stimulating environments that can serve as a platform to build businesses, enhance customer relationships and accelerate product awareness. For more information, visit www.clarionevents.com