2018 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show Recap

2018 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show Recap

The 2018 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show brought together foodservice and hospitality industry members for 3 days of networking, sourcing from exhibitors, education, facinating food demos and more! Check out some of the highlights from our show below! 


The Show Floor was full of new product launches and food trends—from a soy-based protein replacement product, to a small batch honey company and to a customizeable furniture company. 

Pitch The Press Winner was presented to Foodstiks 

Best in Show was Awarded to Noi Caffe 

1st Runner-Up was awarded to OUMPH! 

2nd Runner Up was awarded to Blue Hippo 

Best New Product was awarded to Honey Feast 


The trade show floor featured a co-locations, the NEW Healthy Food Expo Florida! Attendees discovered the most wholesome products from the leading purveyors of healthy, natural and organic products at Healthy Food Expo Florida!

Healthy Food Expo Florida brought in new health focused exhibitors to the show 

The Healthy Food Expo Florida Keynote Panel discussed the challenges iconic brands face as they navigate healthy change 


Center Stage got hot as demonstrations were made by Mareya Ibrahim, Fabio Viviani, Allen Susser, Emily Ellyn, Brandon McGlamery, Ingrid Hoffmann, Scottish Francis and Charley Woodsby. 

Chef Mareya Ibrahim demos her "Love and Life in a Glass" Superfood Shake That'll Rock Your World!

Chef Allen Susser demonstrates his recipe for Wild Florida Shrimp with Mango Curry and Ancient Grains 

Torch Award Presentation

The 2018 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show's Torch Award was proudly presented to Chef Allen Susser. He is a James Beard Award Winning Chef with a passion and commitment to local fresh ingredients. 

Chef Allen Susser demonstrates his use of ancient grains on our Center Stage

Chef Allen Susser stands with Tom Loughran, Food & Beverage Portfolio Vice President after being awarded the 2018 Florida Restaurant & Hospitality Show's Torch Award


The recipient of the 2018 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show presented it's Beacon Award to Kathleen Blake, Chef and Owner of The Rusty Spoon. As a chef she has focused on sourcing her products through sustainability and was noted by critics to make the "farm to table" name famous before it was cool. Blake was also a James Beard Award Semifinalist for Best Chef in the South in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017; 2013 Best Chefs America Southern Region, and nominated for both Golden Whisk and Community Service Award by Women Chefs & Restaunteurs. 

Kathleen Blake accepts the 2018 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show from Kathleen Wood of Kathleen Wood Partners 

Hip Sip: Battle of the Modern Bartender

Bartenders shook it up on Center Stage with the inaugural Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show Hip Sip: Battle of the Modern Bartender which was won by Garett Hagan of The Twisted Tuna 

Hip Sip: Battle of the Modern Bartender participants are all smiles after a fun and delicious competition!

Winner of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show Hip Sip: Battle of the Modern Bartender Garret Hagan 

Rapid Fire Challenge: Chicken, Beer & Honey Edition

Three chefs battled it out during the Rapid Fire Challenge: Chicken, Honey & Beer edition and the competition was fierce. Using the main ingredients our chefs made delectable dished that were difficult to decide who won, but in the end our panel of esteemed judges chose Chef Patricia Washuta who made her version of Honey Beer Fried Chicken as this year's winner!

the 2018 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show's Rapid Fire Challenge Contestants wait anxiously to hear the winner announced 

Patricia Washuta, winner of the 2018 Rapid Fire Challenge: Chicken, Honey and Beer Edition

Our Rapid Fire Judges watch on as our contestants demo their recipes

education program

The education program featured 40+ sessions on operational excellence, marketing & social media, hot trends and building a winning team, plus two half-day workshops including How to Become a Rockstar Restaurant and Why Whiskey? The program also featured the Education Station situated on the Show Floor, where attendees received timely information on industry trends from leading industry experts. 

Show attendees joined industry experts during sessions ranging from marketing & social media to operational excellence 

Dale Willerton, The Lease Coach, discusses the important factors every lessee should know during the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show 


The Foodservice Council for Women (FSCW) has created a platform for women to connect, share, inspire and learn from during the Food and Beverage Portfolio tradeshows. The FSCW networking panel featured women leaders in the foodservice industry who are transforming the hospitality industry through their strength, perseverance and forward thinking demeanor's and presented the 2018 Beacon Award to Kathleen Blake.

The ladies of the Foodservice Council for Women gather around Kathleen Blake, recipient of The Beacon Award 

During the discussion the ladies of the Foodservice Council for Women discuss issues facing women in the foodservice & hospitality industry today