Center Stage

A highlighted feature of the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York - Center Stage is an educational, interactive and entertaining area for restaurant and foodservice professionals who want to stay abreast of what's hot in the food world. Come see our featured chefs, watch their cooking demonstrations and taste their samples! 

Don't miss these featured presentations:

  • Torch Award Presentation
  • Rapid Fire Appetizer Challenge

presented by:



Sunday, March 5

Anton Testino

11:00PM - 11:45PM
Adam Lathan, The Gumbo Brothers

Adam started cooking at a young age and creating the perfect pot of gumbo soon became his obsession. Having learned the "proper" gumbo technique from his great-grandmother Nanny, Adam is still pursuing the perfect gumbo and works tirelessly to ensure his customers have their culinary minds blown. Adam is a graduate of Louisiana State University and the International Culinary Center (formerly the French Culinary Institute) and a native of the Gulf Coast of Alabama. When he isn’t cooking, Adam is likely cheering for his beloved New Orleans Saints or talking baseball with a stranger at a bar.

12:00PM - 12:45PM
State of the Restaurant Industry Panel

More than ever before the restaurant industry in New York is in a constant state of flux.  With costs increasing across the board, restaurants are being forced to think outside the box on how to cut costs while retaining quality service.  Join us for a discussion on how industry experts are coping with this changing environment and what they think the future holds.    

Melissa Fleischut, New York State Restaurant Association

Dino Lavorini, Union Square Hospitality Group
Jeremy Mirren, Havana Central 
Dominick Purnomo, Yono's Restaurant


2:00PM - 3:00PM
Foodservice Council for Women Panel Discussion

Kathleen Wood, Kathleen Wood Partners

Betsy Craig, MenuTrinfo
Melissa Fleischut, New York State Restaurant Association
Roxanee Spruance, Kingsley

3:30PM - 5:00PM
Rapid Fire Challenge

Submissions are in for best appetizer featuring one local ingredient and Chefs have been chosen for this year's Rapid Fire Challenge! Join us for this exciting demonstration as these three Chefs face-off live on our Culinary Demonstration Theater Stage and put their appetizer to the test by demonstrating their recipe and providing tastes for the audience and three esteemed judges! The winner will be crowned the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York Rapid Fire Challenge Champion.

Chef Reinhold Paul Teuscher, Chef Reinhold Culinary Solutions
Chef Jaime Stankevicius, Neversink General Store
Chef Gilbert Reyes, Columbia University Medical Center

Chef Cesare Casella, Salumeria Rosi, Maremma and Beppe
Chef John Hesse, That Meetball Place 
Chef Maria Loi, Loi Estiatorio


Monday, March 6

11:00AM - 11:45AM
Donatella Arpaia, Celebrity Chef & Restaurateur 

Best known for her recurring role as head judge on Food Network’s Iron Chef America, Donatella Arpaia has become an influential woman in the world of food, business, and entertaining. She’s a fusion of Italian tradition and a modern New York lifestyle: balancing her roles as restaurateur, working mother, and loving wife. She is a two-time winner of the New York Wine & Food Festiva “Meatball Madness” competition, and beat out major names in the culinary world. You can find her award-winning meatballs, signature food, and kitchen solutions on HSN, where she continues to earn recognition for her culinary efforts and lifestyle brand.

12:00PM - 12:45PM
Dan Jackson, Cafe2 and Terrace5, MoMa

A native of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Dan Jackson was raised an avid Tar Heels fan. After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2003, he moved to Charlottesville, Virginia and took a line cook job at a popular French restaurant, Bizou. In 2008, Dan moved to New York City. He wanted to work at one of the best restaurants in the city, so he applied and became a line cook at Eleven Madison Park. While Dan was there, the restaurant received four stars from the New York Times, one Michelin star, and was ranked among San Pellegrino’s Top 50 restaurants in the world.  In 2014, Dan was named Executive Chef of Cafe 2 and Terrace 5 at the Museum of Modern Art. When he’s not in the kitchen, Dan enjoys spending time with his wife, who he originally met at Eleven Madison Park, and baby boy.

1:30PM - 2:30PM
Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and founder of Shake Shack
2017 International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of NY Honoree 

The word Torch symbolizes many things including Illumination, Energy, Joy, Victory, Enlightenment, Hope and Education.
The Torch Award was created to honor outstanding chefs who embody all those qualities and characteristics.

3:00PM - 3:45PM
Roxanne Spruance, Kingsley

Chef Roxanne Spruance is the Executive Chef and co-owner of Kingsley, a contemporary French-American restaurant located in the heart of the East Village. She creates innovative, seasonal food, while respecting and incorporating regional traditions.  Chef Spruance has been a featured chef at events such as taste of the times, Taste of New York Magazine, and The New York Wine and Food Festival. She also won “Chopped” on The Food Network, which featured bacon as a main ingredient and showcased her skills and depth of techniques under pressure.  Growing up an athlete in Chicago, Chef Roxanne has taken her fearless, winning attitude towards sports and translated it into a fearless attitude towards food.

Tuesday, March 7


11:30AM - 12:30PM
Celebration of Women Chefs - Panel Discussion

Join us as we celebrate the successes of women chefs and discuss the evolution of their role.

Panelists include: 
Allison Awerbuch, Abigail Kirsch  
Zarela Martinez, Zarela 
Emma Bengtsson, Aquavit



1:00PM - 1:45PM
Katzie Guy-Hamilton, Pastry Chef & Director of F&B for Equinox

Katzie Guy-Hamilton is a nationally recognized Pastry Chef and creative recognized as a Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America by Dessert Professional Magazine in 2014.  She leads Food and Beverage at Equinox, the luxury fitness brand, having crossed over into the wellness world.   Prior to juice partnerships her role for chocolate brand Max Brenner International placed Katzie in the lead of their Global Food and Beverage business, overseeing innovation and serving as brand ambassador for media spots and events. Prior to this, Katzie ran the Pastry departments at Grand Hyatt’s New York flagship in Grand Central and the celebrated pastry program at New York’s trendsetting Ace Hotel. She trained in California under pastry maven Sherry Yard at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago Beverly Hills. As the graduate of the French Culinary Institute and recipient of its Outstanding Alumni of the Year for 2011, industry-leading talents earned her a spot on Season Two of the television cooking competition, Top Chef: Just Desserts.



2:00PM - 2:45PM
Bill Rosenberg, NoMa Social

Bill Rosenberg, Executive Chef of NoMa Social, located at One Radisson Plaza in New Rochelle, has earned critical praise throughout his 20-year career as executive chef for some of the New York metro area’s top restaurants. Prior to joining NoMa Social, he was executive chef/owner for more than 10 years of F.I.S.H., Port Chester, New York, which was rated by Zagat as one of America’s top seafood houses and named by Westchester Magazine as the “Best New Restaurant.”  Passionate about food and the restaurant business, Rosenberg prides himself on his excellent knowledge about food and wine pairings. 


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