77th Annual Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo Sets Record Attendee Growth; Provides New Products, New Concepts And New Ideas To Thousands Of Restaurateurs

September 03, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA September 3, 2013 – Thousands of restaurant and foodservice industry professionals, a 22% increase over last year, enjoyed three days of tasting new products, meeting with new vendors and attending education programs at the 77th annual Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo which was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, August 18-20, 2013.   The event was sponsored by the California Restaurant Association, a partner of the National Restaurant Association.  

“We were thrilled to be back in Los Angeles, the energy and excitement on the show floor was fantastic, fueled by all of the special events and new product announcements,” said Ron Mathews, Industry Vice President for the Foodservice Events.  “We welcome the new owners of the event, Urban Expositions, and we thank our exhibitors, our attendees, our speakers, and the California Restaurant Association.  The event is more than a tradeshow; it is a complete learning experience that improves our attendees business throughout the year.”

“We were excited to announce the purchase of this event just a few days before, but the best part was being on-site, feeling the energy, meeting with exhibitors and attendees and members of the association and hearing the enthusiasm about the future growth of both the industry and this event,” said Doug Miller, Owner of Urban Expositions.  “We thank the staff and look forward to building on the momentum they created at this year’s event and taking that energy to the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Expo and the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York.”

Highlights of the event, included:

  • The CRA Educational Foundation’s Culinary Clash: Battle Los Angeles spotlighted ten restaurants who participated in a competition and fundraiser. In only 45 minutes, each restaurant's teams consisting of a corporate chef, an executive and a student were asked to cook an amuse-bouche, a small appetizer that can be eaten in a few bites, and an entree, all while incorporating a Coca-Cola product. Daily Grill in Los Angeles took the Golden Glove Award for taste and presentation as well as the EcoLab Champ Award.  Crossroads Café, a CenterPlate restaurant in the Los Angeles Zoo took the ProAct Secret Ingredient prize for best use of Harvest Sensation Chives in the amuse-bouche and best use of Harvest Sensation Kale in an entrée.  Crossroads also won the prize for best use of a Coca-Cola product. Yard House Restaurants won the Purse award for most money raised for the foundation. The $76,000 raised will go to the California Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, which awards college scholarships and developed the ProStart program that is offered in 80 California high schools.
  • A Hot Spot on the show floor was the expanded Food Trends Experience.  Thousands of restaurant and foodservice professionals had the opportunity to see, taste, discover and learn about the new culinary innovations from 50+ companies that will inspire creative and fresh menu ideas.  The design and grouping of these new brands and unique foods created an intimate environment where buyers and sellers could connect face to face on how these foods can impact menus. During the Expo attendees chose their favorite product in the Food Trends Experience.  The winner was SOOFOO Organic Grown Grains – a blend of 9 certified organic premium ingredients.
  • The Winners of the People’s Choice Awards were presented.  The first place winner was Chef’s Fun Foods for their French fry seasoning.   The 2nd place winner was Aspenware for their Culinary Products made from aspen, birch and poplar trees; and the 3rd place winner was Ergo Chef for their DuoTongs. Michelle Germany, Director of Food and Nutrition for Paradise Valley Hospital won a $500 shopping spree.
  • Thousands of attendees received free education during more than 30+ sessions at The Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum.  One of the most popular sessions was the keynote presentation by Jim Sullivan, CEO of Sullivision.com who spoke to a standing room only crowd of Nine Kickass Ways to be Brilliant at the Basics.
  • Hundreds of attendees watched as four rising star chefs competed in the Rising Star Mystery Box Challenge which was hosted by Brad Metzger of Restaurant Solutions.  Jean Carlos Kuramota, Executive Chef of Michaels in Santa Monica won the competition with his seared Kobe flatiron with rosemary infused prawns.  Chef Kuramota competed against Nyesha Arrington from Top Chef Season 9; Tin Vuong, Executive Chef/ Partner at Abigaile, Wildcraft and Little Sister and Jesse Barber, Executive Chef at Barnyard.   Russ Parsons, Food Editor, LA Times; Jennifer Sommer, LA Correspondent, Food and Wine Magazine; and Brian Malarkey, Chef and Restaurateur judged the Mystery Box Challenge dishes judged the event.
  • During The Ultimate Barista Challenge™ Mike Richardson from Kean Coffee in Newport Beach, CA was name Best of Brew Champion, Latte Art Champion and overall winner and is invited to represent the USA at the 2013 UBC China event in November!  Jessica Rodriguez from Klatch Coffee in San Dimas was named Espresso Frappe Champion. 
  • Expo Comida Latina - the only industry trade event focused on the Hispanic retail and foodservice markets offered hundreds of new and traditional Hispanic flavors and products, along with culinary cooking demonstrations, education sessions on Hispanic market trends and much more.  
  • At the close of the Show, the exhibitors of the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo donated thousands of pounds of food to Los Angeles Regional Food Bank which distributes 60 million pounds of food and product annually through a network of over 640 charitable agencies with more than 1,000 sites.

About The Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo
The 2014 Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo, with the co-located Expo Comida Latina, will be held Sunday, August 17 - Tuesday, August 19 at the Anaheim Convention Center.  The Show is produced and managed by Urban Expositions, and sponsored by the California Restaurant Association.  Urban Expositions produces several other foodservice events including the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show scheduled for Saturday, September 22 – Monday, September 24, 2013 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL and the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York to be held Sunday, March 2 – Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York.  For more information on exhibiting or attending future events, visit the official Show website at www.thefoodshows.com.

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