Conference Sessions Announced for the 2015 Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo

First Annual TORCH Award to be presented to Owners and Chefs of Border Grill & Truck

Los Angeles, CA – August 6, 2015 – The Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo will bring together 550+ vendors and 8,000+ restaurant, foodservice and retail professionals to the Los Angeles Convention Center, Sunday, August 23 through Tuesday, August 25, 2015.  Attendees of the Expo will have to opportunity to participate in over 35 educational sessions, all included with show registration, at the Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum, the gold standard, industry-leading educational conference dedicated to foodservice professional development. Industry experts will educate attendees on hot new trends, increasing revenue and loyalty, operational excellence, delivering the optimal customer experience, and much more. 

“The Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum is a valuable tool for professionals in the industry to gain new business insight and learn about the latest industry trends from leading experts and operators that they can apply directly to their operations,” said Ron Mathews, Vice President, Restaurant and Foodservice Events Portfolio. “This year, the Forum will offer a terrific line up of top chefs who will present in the culinary demonstration theater as well as sessions for attendees to learn how to produce winning teams, achieve operational excellence, improve leadership, stay on top of hot trends, increase business loyalty, manage catering, boost customer experience, maximize profits, minimize risks, and create the optimal customer experience.”

A few highlights from the Forum include:

  • Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, Chefs and Owners of Border Grill & Truck will receive the TORCH Award on Monday, August 24, 2015 at 1:00 pm in the Culinary Demonstration Theater on the Show floor.  This new award, presented by Ferdinand Metz, CMC, Chairman of the Education Program and the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo, recognizes an individual or group of individuals whose achievements have enhanced and brought innovation to the restaurant and foodservice community.  At CITY, Ciudad, and now at Border Grill, Mary Sue and Susan are unusually approachable, winning over a broad clientele not only with their cooking, but also with their warmth and casual interaction. 
  • Keynote Presentation: Rodney Eckerman, CEO of PizzaRev – PizzaRev has been named one of the “10 Brands to Watch” by CNBC and #15 in the FastCasual list of “Top 100 Movers and Shakers.” Eckerman, also former Co-CEO and COO of Clear Channel Music, will present “Leading the Restaurant Renaissance – How to Best Position Your Company to Thrive Amongst Change”, a discussion of the importance of continuing to evolve your business and adapt to customer needs and trends and how that has been a large part of PizzaRev’s growth. The keynote will take place on Sunday, August 23 at 1:00 pm.
  • Women’s Entrepreneurs Circle - Join leading Women Entrepreneurs in the foodservice business in a robust and highly interactive session on what it takes to win in business and life. Now is the time for all women entrepreneurs to band together to aspire higher.
  • Customer Experience Trends: How Technology and Innovation is Changing the Restaurant Customer Experience - A panel of experienced multi-unit operators, from Café Firenze and Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc, seek to make sense of topics such as online reservations and reviews, mobile payments, variable menu pricing, customer CRMs and other new technologies.
  • Culinary Demonstration Theater – The culinary theater will include demonstrations from Chef Richard Pink, Pink’s Hot Dogs; Chef Keith Breedlove, Culinerdy Crüzer and Official Chef of the California State Fair; Chef Daragh Matheson & Amanda Martin, Leoness Cellars; Chef Bev Lazo, Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen; Chef James Bailey, SJ & Associates Food Sales Solutions, and others.
  • Los Angeles Chefs Mystery Box Cooking Competition – On Sunday, August 23 at 2pm, top rising chefs from Sambar, Faith & Flower and Union battle to create winning dishes with mystery ingredients. Judged by Jet Tila, Cutthroat Kitchen, Chef/Restaurateur; Richard Drapkin, Manhattan House, Duff's Cakemix, Brentwood, BLD; and Mark Peel, Bombo. Moderated by Brad Metzger Restaurant Solutions.
  • A Closer Look at Today’s Menu Trends so you can Turn Diners into Regulars - National speaker, Betsy Craig, will clarify and simplify today’s toughest menu requirements looking at trends, preferences and what the government is requiring an operator change moving forward with a menu. Topics will include: Menu Trends, Menu Labeling and Trans Fat Bans.
  • New Catering & Events Track presented by Catering Magazine – Experts present sessions on accurately pricing catering services, how to add catering to your current restaurant operation, making your business more sustainable, increasing events profits and more on Sunday, August 23.
  • 7 Simple Ways to Control Your Food Cost and Explode Your Profits - In this presentation, David Scott Peters, founder of and session speaker, will teach attendees how to look deeper into the cost of goods sold calculation to take back control of their checking account and improve the bottom line to become a profitable restaurant.

The Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum faculty features representation from operations and organizations including Les Dames d'Escoffier, Wolfgang Puck Worldwide Inc, Provenance, Roy’s, California Craft Brewers Association, California Restaurant Association, and experts from Technomic, Fishbowl, San Francisco Wine School, The Catering Coach, Kathleen Wood Partners, Service with Style Hospitality Group, MenuTrinfo,, The Lease Coach and more.

Ferdinand Metz is a Certified Master Chef and President Emeritus of the Culinary Institute of America. He is also the past President of the World Association of Chefs Societies and the past Chairman of the NRAEF. Ferdinand Metz was selected to lead the Forum because of his breadth and depth of experience, which includes his influence on the American foodservice industry and for his achievements in the culinary industry having received the Lifetime Achievement Awards from the James Beard Foundation, the American Academy of Chefs, The World Association of Chefs and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). All sessions at the Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum are included with show admission.  To review the entire forum education line-up, click here.

The 2015 Western Foodservice and Hospitality Expo is produced and managed by Urban Expositions. For more information on exhibiting or attending, visit  Based in Kennesaw, GA, Urban Expositions offers a complete roster of trade show management services, including exhibit sales and marketing, operations, exhibitor/attendee promotions and services, media relations, seminar and event coordination, database development and management.  Through a logical, hands-on approach, Urban Expositions has become one of the fastest growing and most successful trade show companies in the United States.  Contact Urban Expositions at

# # #

For further Information or to register for press credentials, contact:
Amy Riemer, Media Relations
978-475-4441 (office)
978-502-4895 (cell)