By Derrek J. Hull, Blogger-in-Chief
Wow! This year's National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago is off to a rollicking start following a ribbon-cutting by Chicago's Major Rahm Emanuel.
Exhibitors are really bringing it this year. A whole cavalcade of companies is showcasing innovative products and services from all around the industry. And while attendees are excited about exhibitor wares, they're also jazzed by engaging booth experience: Simpli Oats features a duo of adorable singers belting out their newest product's jingle; Front-of-House's bottle-throwing display is truly something to behold; Chef Works' fashion show is a must-see stop; and the Idaho Potato Commission has perhaps the largest potato any of us have ever seen.
In addition, each of our three celebrity chef demos at World Culinary Showcase have been standing-room-only affairs. Chef Rick Bayless demonstrated a delicious dish featuring seasonal green garlic, and after signing hundreds of books, toured the Show floor in search of new products. Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard regaled the crowd with behind-the-scenes stories about the planning and menu development at her next restaurant, The Little Goat, opening soon in Chicago. And capping off our Saturday lineup, Chef David Burke's meaty demo, presenting five dishes with exotic ingredients such as bone marrow, beef aorta and snails.
The NRA Show is putting innovation on spotlight in the Kitchen Innovations Pavilion in the South Hall. This afternoon, we recognized tomorrow's most crave able products in the Food & Beverage Product Innovation Awards. And last night, the Association presented we're excited to find out who will take home trophies in the first-ever Operator Innovations Awards at Destination: Celebration, featuring the song stylings of Kenny Loggins.
Plus, attendees are packing education sessions ranging from social media to foodservice in convenience stores (with an additional c-store session today). Today's schedule includes Nancy Kruse discussing hot menu trends and experts talking sustainability.
Today marks the start of the International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event, which looks at beverage alcohol's role in the restaurant and foodservice industries.
So join the fun! You can still hit the NRA Show floor on Sunday through Tuesday at Chicago's McCormick Place. Register on site at McCormick Place.