Last week the Javits Center was bustling with 18,000+ Independent and Multi-Unit Restaurant Owners, FSR & Quick Serve Establishment Operators; Foodservice Professionals, Caterers, Chefs, and more from across all segments of the industry who gathered for the 24th Annual International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York, which offered a collection of the best new food, equipment and technology.
The 24th Annual IRFSNY show included everything from awards presentations to education sessions and cooking demonstrations, filled with celebrity chefs and tastings. Chefs, industry leaders, owners and operators networked and conducted business with 535 exhibiting companies during the three-day trade show and conference, which was recently named one of the top food and restaurant events among the Top 100 events in New York by BizBash Magazine. The event is owned by Urban Expositions and sponsored by the NYS Restaurant Association (NYSRA).
“Last week, The Javits Center was the place for the restaurant & foodservice industry offering jammed packed aisles, buzz worthy special events, timely education sessions, and thousands of new products. The event truly offered something for everyone,” said Ron Mathews, Industry Vice President for Urban Expositions’ Foodservice Events. “We thank the New York State Restaurant Association and their members, our exhibitors, attendees, speakers, and press who came out to support the only event in New York exclusively serving the restaurant and foodservice industry.”
Attendees voted in several categories in the Innovative New Product Showcase. The Overall Winner for the best new product was Allie’s GF Goodies, LLC for their certified gluten free and certified kosher parve bakery; The 1st Place Runner Up was Catering Box for their custom food service boxes to safely & professionally transport catered food; The 2nd Place Runner Up was Brooklyn Organics for their beverages including Bruce Cost Ginger Ale and Bruce Cost Ginger Beer; and Best New Product in the Food Trends Experience was Gus-Grown-Up Soda for their line of all-natural premium sodas and sparkling cocktail mixers.
Fifteen exhibitors were chosen by a panel of media judges to Pitch the Press, and present their new product or service to editors, buyers, restaurateurs and others. Best in Show for Pitch the Press was awarded to Catering Stone for their Revolutionary Catering Stones keeping food hot or cold for hours without ice, electricity or open flame using 100% food-safe technology. The judges included Michael Scinto from Total Food Service, Jeffrey Dryfoos formerly with Dessert Professional, Barbara Castaglia from Restaurant Management, and Dave Turner from Tabletop Journal.
The Culinary Demonstration Theater included the presentation of the Torch Award to Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and Founder of Shake Shack for his outstanding contributions to the industry. Danny signed copies of his New York Times bestseller “Setting the Table“. In addition, the Rapid Fire Appetizer Challenge was won by Chef Reinhold Paul Teuscher from Chef Reinhold Culinary Solutions and there were culinary demonstrations presented by Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur Donatella Arpaia; Dan Jackson, Café 2 and Terace5, MoMa; Roxanne Spruance, Kingsley; Adam Lathan, The Gumbo Brothers; Katzie Guy Hamilton, Equinox; and Bill Rosenberg, NoMa Social.
The exhibit hall had several featured areas including the expanded “Pub” which offered 20 innovative craft beverages including beers, ciders, wines, spirits, and more; the Food Trends Experience where 75 new companies provided samples of new foods that are inspiring new fresh menu ideas; Taste NY Food & Craft Beverage Showcase featured over 40 New York food and beverage companies who showcased locally grown products; and the Education Station, where attendees received up to the minute business strategies.
The Japan Pavilion celebrated its 11th year at the show, where the Japan Food Service Association featured Japanese Rice – a premium quality short grain rice that has been a staple through Japanese History. Culinary presentations were given by John McCarthy, Kunihide Nakajami and Jason Huang who demonstrated Risotto, Japanese Style Takikomi Gohan, Congee, Brown Rice Pudding and much more.
Paris Gourmet congratulated John Cook, Norman Love Confections (FL), the winner of the 28th Annual U.S. Pastry Competition for his highly technical chocolate sculpted showpiece based on the themeModern Masters Come to Chocolate. Chef Cook won a $10,000 grand prize, a silver plaque, and gold medal certificate.
Other highlights included The 8th Annual Farm to City Expo focused on The Power of Branding ‘Local’ sponsored by NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets and Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Panelists included Marianne Klimchuk and Sandra Krasovec, Fashion Institute of Technology; Lela Chapman, Greenmarket, Co; Rick Stein, Food Marketing Institute; and moderators Jill Kaplan, Crain’s New York Business and Jenna Liut, Heritage Radio Network. The panelists offered insight on why building brand value is important and how to increase the bottom line by making ‘local’ stand out.
The New York State Restaurant Association hosted a riveting panel discussion on the state of the restaurant industry. The standing room only crowd heard from a dynamic panel which featured Jeremy Merrin, Havana Central; Dino Lavorini, Union Square Hospitality Group; Domnick Purnomo, Yono’s Restaurant and Moderated by Melissa Fleischut, President and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association.
The Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum, featured a half day workshop from Darren Dennington, Service with Style Hospitality Group and David Scott Peters, TheRestaurantExpert.com who presented How to Easily Survive Increasing Minimum Wage and Food Costs. The Foodservice Council for Women session featured Chef Roxanne Spruance of Kingsley; Betsy Craig of MenuTrinfo; and Melissa Fleischut, the New York State Restaurant Association who joined Kathleen Wood of Kathleen Wood Partners to discuss what it takes to succeed in the foodservice industry today. Ferdinand Metz moderated a panel on the Celebration of Women Chefs which featured Alison Awerbuch of Abigail Kirsch Catering; Zarela Martinez of Zarela’s and Chef Emma Bengtsson of Aquavit.
At the close of the Show, City Harvest, the world’s first food rescue organization dedicated to feeding the city’s hungry men, women, and children were able to rescue 11 pallets of food totaling approximately 11,000 lbs. “A huge thanks to our volunteers who helped rescue thousands of pounds from the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show at the Javits Center! We delivered milk, yogurt, frozen soup, green onions, oranges, and potato rolls to Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger (BSCAH) and Shiloh SDA Church – helping to feed our hungry neighbors in Brooklyn,” said Matthew Lum, Manager Food Sourcing, City Harvest.
About Urban Exposition’s Restaurant & Foodservice Shows
The 2018 International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York will be held Sunday, March 4 – Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at the Javits Center in New York. The show is produced and managed by Urban Expositions, and sponsored by the New York State Restaurant Association. Urban Expositions produces several other foodservice events including the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo to be held Sunday, August 27 through Tuesday, August 29, 2017 at the Los Angeles Convention Center and the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show scheduled for Sunday, September 10 – Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. For more information on exhibiting or attending future events visit the official Show website at www.thefoodshows.com.