The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show will host two exciting competitions during the upcoming trade show taking place September 19-20 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. On Sunday, September 19 the Hip Sip: Battle of the Modern Bartender Competition Rum Edition will take place and the Rapid Fire Challenge: Plant-Based Edition will occur on Monday, September 20.  Winners of both competitions will receive $1,000, bragging rights, and gain exposure in over 100 media outlets.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring the industry back together again for our in-person event in September and are looking for the best rum cocktail and the most creative spin on a plant-based meal for these two exciting competitions,” said Rita Ugianskis, Vice President for the Clarion Events Food & Beverage Group. “The Rapid Fire Challenge and Hip Sip Competitions have become must see events during the Florida Restaurant Show and we invite local chefs and bartenders to compete and be recognized for their creative cocktails and meals. We thank our professional judges and emcees for helping us crown the winners of these two events.”

The Hip Sip Competition is supported by Florida International University (FIU) and will be emceed by Brian Connors, Director of the Bacardi Center of Excellence. Judges for this event include Mia Mastroianni, Consultant as seen on Bar Rescue; Art Sutley of Savage & Cooke Distillery; and Phil Wills of The Spirits in Motion and seen as a consultant on Bar Rescue.


Rum is often a misunderstood spirit but has such a vast history and the judges for this year’s Hip Sip competition will be looking for the best cocktail featuring this versatile spirit. Bartenders or mixologists will be judged on creativity, use of product, taste, presentation, and flair. Click here to submit entries which are being accepted through Friday, August 20, 2021. The Hip Sip competition will take place on Sunday, September 19, 2021 from 3:00 – 4:00 pm. For more information, visit https://www.flrestaurantandlodgingshow.com/hip-sip-florida


This year’s Rapid Fire Challenge focuses on plant-based meals. Chefs are invited to submit their favorite and most creative plant based recipes by clicking here by Friday, August 20. The emcee of the Rapid Fire Challenge is Shaun O’Neale who exploded onto the culinary scene in September 2016 when he claimed the title of America’s best home cook and was named Season 7 Champion of MasterChef on FOX. The judges of this competition include Ingrid Gangestad, Owner and President of St. Croix Culinary Consulting and Irene Moore, Food, Wine, Travel & Luxury Lifestyle Writer, and Co-Founder of the South Florida Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier. For information on the Rapid Fire Challenge, which will take place Monday, September 20 from 2:00 – 3:00 pm, visit https://www.flrestaurantandlodgingshow.com/rapid-fire-challenge


Submissions for both the Hip Sip and Rapid Fire Competitions, must include the title and recipe for the plant based dish or rum-based cocktail, and a 1-2 minute video which can be emailed to lauren.selman@ifbta.org. The final three competitors for each event will be announced by September 1st, and they must be available to compete in Orlando on September 19 or 20.


Both competitions will be presented on Center Stage on the show floor, which will also feature Culinary Demonstrations, presentations of the Torch and Beacon Awards, and panel discussions. The exhibit hall will offer the American Culinary Federation Culinary Competitions, Food Trends Experience, Bar Innovation Pavilion, TechBytes Pavilion, Coffee Fest Marketplace, and the Healthy Foods Expo and new products and innovations from 350 exhibiting companies. Registration is now open for the 2021 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show and Healthy Food Expo. Both events are produced and managed by Clarion Events, and sponsored by the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association. For additional information visit https://www.flrestaurantandlodgingshow.com/.