Recap of Awards Presentations, Cooking Demos and Celebrity Chef Appearances
From March 4-6, thousands of chefs, industry leaders, owners and operators from the restaurant and foodservice industry networked and conducted business with 550 exhibiting companies during the 25th Annual International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York. The robust trade show and conference offered a collection of the best new food, equipment and technology, awards presentations, education sessions, and cooking demonstrations with celebrity chefs. The event is owned by Urban Expositions and sponsored by the New York State Restaurant Association (NYSRA).
“We worked diligently this past year to identify the best audience to bring to our event, and we are thrilled to say our efforts paid off,” said Tom Loughran, Vice President for Clarion UX’s Foodservice Events. “We saw a dramatic increase in the number of qualified attendees to the 25th annual IRFSNY. Our exhibitors were happy with the improvement in the buyers who walked the aisles and were pleased that many people came to buy new products, equipment and service for their restaurants and foodservice establishments.”
The trade show floor offered several new pavilions including Be Italian, the Healthy Pavilion and the Pubware & Equipment Pavilion. These were in addition to 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 timely information on industry trends from leading industry experts.
Center Stage included the presentation of the Torch Award to Geoffrey Zakarian, chef, restauranteur, TV personality, and author. Zakarian is a judge on Food Network’s Chopped, an Iron Chef, co-host of Food Network’s Emmy-nominated daytime series, The Kitchen and the Chairman of the City Harvest Food Council, a food rescue organization dedicated to fighting hunger in New York City.
Other events on Center Stage included Hip Sip: Battle of the Modern Bartender which was awarded to James Menite, World Renowned Bartender from the Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel and the Rapid Fire Challenge: Meatball Madness which was won by George Giotsas, Owner of Little Mark’s Big BBQ.
Paris Gourmet congratulated Stephen Sullivan, the executive pastry chef of Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, who competed in and won the 29th annual U.S. Pastry Competition. Sullivan showcased eight of his signature pastries and a plated dessert, plus a custom-made chocolate horse-racing showpiece for this year’s The Great Race theme.
Kathleen Wood, moderator of The Food-service Council for Women panel presented the Beacon Award to City Harvest’s CEO, Jilly Stephens for her hard work to deliver rescued food to 500 soup kitchens, food pantries and other community food programs in New York City – free of charge and focused on ensuring that high-need communities receive more fresh produce. The presentation followed a lively conversation about the importance of women and leadership in the foodservice industry. At the close of the Show, City Harvest, was able to rescue 11 pallets of food from the exhibitors totaling approximately 11,000 lbs.
The New York State Restaurant Association sponsored the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York and presented “How the Power of a Positive Restaurant Culture Drives Business Success.” Melissa Fleischut, President & CEO of NYSRA moderated the session with panelists Sarah Saracino, Abigail Kirsch; Dominick Purnomo, dp An American Brasserie, Yono’s Restaurant; and Jason Wallace, Hospitality Concepts, LLC. The NYS Restaurant Association promotes the hospitality profession while serving and representing its members and their customers through advocacy, innovation and education.
During the show, attendees voted across several categories in the Innovative New Product Showcase. The Overall Winner for the best new product was JavaMelts Flavored Sweeteners, which turns an ordinary cup of coffee into something special and delicious; The 1st Place Runner Up was [Actual] Iceberg, for their authentic iceberg ice from Newfoundland, off Canada’s east coast; The 2nd Place Runner Up was Bake’nJoy for their Kitchen Cupboard™ Gourmet Brownie, Cookie and Muffin Line; and Best New Product in the Food Trends Experience was Hal’s New York for their New York Born, New York Made Seltzer Water. Ten 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 Post-It Brand for their Extreme Notes. See photos of the Best New Products winners here.
The event offered 40+ education sessions, including the 9th Annual Farm to City Expo: Local Seafood Wave of the Future, sponsored by the NY Agriculture & Markets Department. In addition, the education program featured sessions on operational excellence, marketing & social media, hot trends and building a winning team, plus a half-day workshop from Darren Dennington of Service with Style Hospitality Group on How to be a Rockstar Restaurant.
Mark your calendars: The 2019 International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York will be collocated with the Healthy Food Expo and Coffee Fest and will be held Sunday, March 3 – Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at the Javits Center in New York.
The show is owned and managed by Urban Expositions (www.urban-expo.com), now operating as Clarion UX and owned by Clarion Events and sponsored by the New York State Restaurant Association. Clarion UX produces several other foodservice events including the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo, which will be collocated with the Healthy Food Expo and Coffee Fest and will be held Sunday, August 19 through Tuesday, August 21, 2018 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show, which will be collocated with the Healthy Food Expo, is scheduled for Thursday, September 6 – Friday, September 8, 2018 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.