After a three-year hiatus, Clarion Events Food & Beverage Group held the co-located Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo sponsored by the California Restaurant Association and Coffee Fest LA at the Los Angeles Convention Center last week. The two events brought together hundreds of exhibiting companies and thousands of restaurateurs, foodservice and specialty beverage professionals and provided hours of education through the Food & Beverage Academy, dozens of special events including culinary competitions, awards presentations and a visit from NBA Veteran Scottie Pippen and much more.
“What a wonderful week, we are so happy that we were able to meet in person after a long three years. Over the course of the three-day event, our attendees were able to taste new food and beverage items, shake hands and learn together everything that makes a restaurant, food and coffee establishment operation successful,” said Rita Ugianskis, Vice President, Clarion Events Food & Beverage Group. “We received such positive feedback on the content in the education sessions and the opportunity to source new products from both shows and we thank our exhibitors, sponsors, speakers, attendees, media partners, supporting organizations and partners who helped to make these events a huge success.”
- NBA Veteran Scottie Pippen participated in the keynote presentation on Wine, Whiskey and Winning alongside Dave Phinney, Napa wine legend and creative mastermind behind Savage & Cooke Distillery, and Art Sutley Nightlife & Hospitality Expert.
- The new Humanitarian Spotlight Award was presented to Restaurants Care a relief fund for California food and beverage workers operated by the California Restaurant Foundation. For the last five years, Restaurants Care has been providing stability grants to those in the community facing injury, illness, natural disaster, housing disaster, or death in the family.
- The Torch Award, given each year to an outstanding chef or restaurateur, was presented to Chef Jet Tila Author and TV Personality who also signed copies of his new book 101 Thai Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die.
- The Beacon Award which recognizes a woman leader who has truly served the industry through leadership, contributions, and inspiration was presented to Jennifer Stojkovic, a food-tech leader, founder of Vegan Women Summit (VWS), and author of The Future of Food is Female.
- Best in Show for Pitch the Press was Cubo Beverages for their new Cubo beverage machine – Chef Developed Smoothies and Juices at the Push of a Button which is also Self-Cleaning.
- Coffee Fest several exciting competitions and an awards presentation.
- Latte Art World Championship Open– sixty-four baristas competed, bracket style, sudden death format which featured head-to-head competition as “a match” between thecompetitors. The 1st place winner was Nicolas Tanaka; 2nd place went to his brother Lane Tanaka; and 3rd place to Weian Lang. The competition was sponsored by Rancilio Specialty, Birch Coffee, ACME, Supergood, Slow Pour, Keys to the Shop and Pacific Foods Barista Series.
- US Cold Brew Championships, a competition where cold brewers presented a still cold brew and prepared a signature cold brew drink to the judges. The 1st place winner was Louis Elguera of Coatl Coffee, 2nd place was Jon Kinnard of Coffee Del Mundo, and 3rd place was Angela Remlaqui of Confiaza Coffee. The competition was sponsored by ALTO, MiiR and Roast Magazine.
- The “Best of Fest,” voted on by attendees, Winner: Lotus Energy Drinks
- The Digital Product Showcase, awarding the Best Consumable and Non-Consumable products. Products were judged based on innovation and retailer appeal. The Best Consumable Product was Earnest Smashed Avocado by Earnest Eats and the Best Non-Consumable Product was Created Co’s Cold Cup.
- The Daniel Lee Giving Tree Award, presented to a latte artist who best embodies gentleness and kindness to others as voted by fellow latte art competitors, was presented to Joseph Gonzalez.
- Center Stage, sponsored by US Foods, included culinary demonstrations by Chefs Mareya Ibrahim, Melissa Cottingham, Lauren Lawless, Deanna “Bomb Chica” Colon, Shaun O’Neale, Jet Tila and Jennifer Stojkovic.
- The winner of the Rapid-Fire Challenge: Sandwich Edition was chef Malik Nelson of Atlas Monroe who won $1,000 for his Plant-Based Extra Crispy, Nashville Chicken Sandwich. The event was judged by Emily Nordee Rogers, Melissa Cottingham and Shaun O’Neale.
- The winner for the Hip Sip: Battle of the Modern Bartender Bourbon Competition was Tony Gonzales, CEO of Ghost Ice. He beat out two other competitors with his drink using Digits Bourbon and won $1,000 for the most creative and inventive mix. Each competitor was judged by the Digits Owners Scottie Pippen and Dave Phinney. The competition was sponsored by Savage & Cooke.
- The Food & Beverage Academy expanded to offer seven workshops, dozens of sessions delivered by subject matter experts who spoke on a variety of important topics for restaurant and foodservice professionals, coffee shop owners and those involved with healthy foods. The Foodservice Summit was sponsored by US Foods.
The 2023 Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo and Coffee Fest West will be held August 6-8 2023, at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.
Coffee Fest is a trade-only event serving the specialty coffee and gourmet tea industries since 1992. Coffee Fest draws more than 10,000 attendees, exhibitors and competitors a year, connecting regional coffee communities through regional tradeshow events especially designed for specialty coffee and tea professionals. For more details about Coffee Fest, to see the winners of Coffee Fest competitions and much more, visit www.coffeefest.com.
The Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo is owned by Clarion Events Food & Beverage Group and sponsored by the California Restaurant Association. Clarion Events operates over 180 events in 50 countries from 15 offices in the UK, the US, South Africa, Brazil, Germany, Singapore, UAE, Indonesia, Hong Kong, 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. More recently the firm has developed an international portfolio of brands and now has interests in a number of global vertical industries including energy, security and defense, hospitality, electronics, technology, fashion, retail, gaming and marketing. 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. us.clarionevents.com.