Exceed Culinary Expectations and Master Emerging Trends at the 2016 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show

ORLANDO, FL, September 8, 2016 – From Tuesday, September 27 through Thursday, September 29, over 8,000 restaurant and foodservice industry professionals will gather at the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show being held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. During this extraordinary three-day event, attendees will find new ideas, new products, and new solutions. The trade show and conference, produced by Urban Expositions and sponsored by the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association will offer educational programs, special events, new food products, and equipment and services from 400+ leading industry suppliers.

“We are thrilled to be featuring 160+ new exhibitors at the upcoming event, and to be offering several new and exciting special features including, the Rapid Fire Competition, the new APPstore, and the Independent Operators Workshop as well as returning crowd favorites including the Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum, the Food Trends Experience, the prestigious ACF Culinary Competitions, and much more,” said Ron Mathews, Vice President, Restaurant and Foodservice Events Portfolio.  “Each event, feature area and education program has been created to provide foodservice professionals with access to the latest trends, the tools they need to run their business better, and to spark creativity as only a live event such as this can accomplish.”  Special Events for the upcoming Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show, include:

  • Independent Operators Workshop – There will be several business-building opportunities for Independent Operators at this year’s event including a new half-day workshop focused on growth opportunities and best practices featuring speakers Kathleen Wood and Jim Knight followed by a panel of leading independent operators.  This event is co-organized by the FRLA and is sponsored by Zenith, Heartland, Sysco, UnitedHealthcare, Caton Hosey Insurance, Orlando Main Streets, and First Watch and is open at no charge to all independent operators. 
  • The Torch Award will be presented to Melissa Kelly for her outstanding achievements and contributions to the restaurant and foodservice community. Kelly’s restaurant, Primo, introduced many diners across the East Coast to the idea of farm-to-table, with up to 80% of ingredients coming from the restaurant’s own four-acre farm. When Melissa opened the satellite Primo location in Orlando she brought the farm-to-table concept to the Florida market. She will join Ferdinand Metz, Certified Master Chef, for a one-on-one discussion on the Culinary Demonstration Theater stage, open to all attendees.  The presentation will take place on Tuesday, September 27 at 1:00pm.
  • The 2016 American Culinary Federation Culinary Arts Competition presented by the American Culinary Federation (ACF)/ Central Florida Chapter (CFC) will offer over $25,000 worth of prizes that will be awarded during the following competitions.   
    • The R.L. Schreiber Apprentice/Jr. Member Florida State Championship Team Skills Competition, sponsored by R.L. Schreiber Inc.
    • Taste of Elegance Pork Signature Recipe Competition, sponsored by Iowa Pork Producers Association and Taste of Elegance.
    • The Two Man Team USA Culinary Cup Team Competition, sponsored by Bari Beef International, Creekstone Farms, US Foods, Rich’s, Maple Leaf, Barry Callebaut, McIlhenney Co., Wisconsin Cheese, Steelite International, and Bar Harbor Seafood.
    • The Florida Pastry Challenge, sponsored by The Culinary Source and Barry Callebaut.
    • The Freshpoint and Harvill's Produce Farm to Table Vegetarian Signature Recipe Competition, sponsored by Fresh Point and Harvill’s Produce, Inc.
    • The Chef's Table Luncheons, a four-course surprise lunch prepared by the participating chefs.
  • Rapid Fire Challenge - After many submissions and attendee votes, three chefs will take the stage to battle for the title Rapid Fire Challenge: Appetizer Edition Champion. The chefs, Ernie Danjean, Dockside Café; Eric Parker, Duffy’s Sports Grill; and Tavoris Ingram, The Twisted Tuna, will demonstrate their dish and provide samples for the judges and the audience.  Judges will include, Ryan Vargas, Emeril’s Tchoup Chop; James McGuinness, Keiser University; and Keith Keogh, Total Food Network. Each dish will also feature a local ingredient – cheese, bread, protein, sauce – whatever their secret ingredient is. Help the judges choose the winner through the Audience Choice portion of the voting. Only one will be named the Champ on Wednesday, September 28 at 2:00pm.
  • Beacon Award Presentation – In honor of the 5th anniversary of the Foodservice Council for Women, Kathleen Wood and Ferdinand Metz will present the Beacon Award to Edna Morris, Managing Director at Axum and Industry Expert for Axum’s Limited Service Restaurant investments (LSR).  Ms. Morris brings over 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry, with a diverse background that includes public companies, turnarounds, start-ups, not-for-profit organizations, and positions on various boards.  Ms. Morris served as President of several restaurant companies including Blue Coral Seafood & Spirits (a high-end seafood startup venture jointly owned by OSI and Paul Fleming), Red Lobster (Darden Restaurants) and Quincy’s Family Steakhouse (Advantica).
  • New Opening Night Party all attendees, exhibitors and media are invited to attend the new Opening Night Party at Lafayette’s at Pointe Orlando on Tuesday, September 27 from 5:30pm-7:30pm - enjoy appetizers, entertainment and drinks while networking with fellow restaurant and foodservice professionals. Tickets available at www.flrestaurantandlodgingshow.com/PARTY  
  • FRLA Events includes the NRA/FRLA Bob Leonard Golf Classic on Monday, September 26; Fall Board Meeting on September 27 - 28; and the Hospitality Stars of the Industry: Celebration of the Industry and After Party, on Wednesday, September 28 at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. During the celebration, FRLA will honor the first responders who humbly serve the community.  The Installation Dinner welcomes the 2017 officers and incoming Chairman. In addition, FRLA's Hall of Fame winners, prestigious Hotelier, Restaurateur and Supplier of the Year, will be recognized and outstanding hospitality industry employees will be recognized for their accomplishments and service in the industry.  This year, there are several open categories, to name a few: Restaurant General Manager of the Year, Hotel General Manager of the Year, Restaurant Employee of the Year and Hotel Employee of the Year. For more information, contact Marjorie Stone at mstone@frla.org.

In addition to the new special events, there will be several returning crowd favorites including the Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum, the Food Trends Experience, the prestigious ACF Culinary Competitions, the Beer, Wine & Spirits Pavilion, The Japan Pavilion, Key Buyer Alliance, Education Station, and the Foodservice Council for Women event.  The trade show’s floor will feature 400+ leading restaurant and foodservice vendors and purveyors.

Dates:               Tuesday, September 27, 2016 from 11am-5pm
                        Wednesday, September 28, 2016 from 11am-5pm
                        Thursday, September 29, 2016 from 11am-4pm

Location: The Orange County Convention Center, 9990 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819

The 2016 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show is sponsored by the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (www.frla.org). For more information on exhibiting or attending, visit the official Show website at www.flrestaurantandlodgingshow.com.  The tradeshow and conference is managed and produced by Kennesaw, GA based Urban Expositions, www.urban-expo.com, owned by Clarion Events. 

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