Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show Announces Torch and Beacon Award Recipients

Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show Announces Torch and beach award recipients

Allen Susser to Receive the Torch Award and Kathleen Blake to Receive the Beacon Award

ORLANDO, FL, August 6, 2018 - The 2018 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show will present their annual Torch and Beacon Awards to two very deserving and inspirational chefs.   The Torch Award will be presented to Allen Susser, Chef and Owner of Chef Allen’s Consulting, a boutique sustainable restaurant and hospitality consulting firm and The Beacon Award will be presented to Kathleen Blake, Chef and Owner of The Rusty Spoon, an award winning Orlando Restaurant. The awards will be presented at the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show, taking place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Thursday, September 6 – Saturday, September 8, 2018. For more information about the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show and to register for this year's event, visit https://www.flrestaurantandlodgingshow.com/.

"We are thrilled to announce these two inspiring chefs as the recipients of this year's Torch and Beacon awards," said Tom Loughran, Vice President for the Clarion UX Food & Beverage Portfolio. "Allen Susser and Kathleen Blake truly embody the best of the industry today, and we are excited to present them with these prestigious awards. They both serve as an inspiration to the culinary industry, and we are excited to hear more about their achievements during the Show and see where their already amazing careers take them next."

The Torch Award was created to honor talented chefs and/or restaurateurs for the brilliance of their careers and the impact they have had on the industry and their surrounding community. This year's recipient is Allen Susser, Chef and Owner of Chef Allen’s Consulting, who is recognized for his commitment to local and fresh ingredients, and for the strategic guidance he provides to other restaurateurs within the industry.  Allen received the President's Award for community service from Florida International University, and received an honorary Doctorate of Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales University. He is the original author of New World Cuisine and Cookery, The Great Citrus Book and The Great Mango Book. Allen joins past Torch Award recipients including Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, Chef Michelle Bernstein; Chef Curtis Stone; CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group Danny Meyer; Executive Chef Melissa Kelly; Chef Thomas Keller; Myriad Restaurant Group Owner Drew Nieporent; and others.  For more information on the Torch Award, visit https://www.flrestaurantandlodgingshow.com/torch-award-recipients. The award will be presented on Thursday, September 6 at 1:00 pm on Center Stage.

The Beacon Award was created to recognize a woman leader who has truly served as a Beacon for the industry through her leadership, contributions, and inspiration. This year's recognition goes to Kathleen Blake, Chef and Owner of The Rusty Spoon, who demonstrates this through her efforts to promote sustainability and using locally sourced and organic ingredients. Kathleen Blake was 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 Awards by Women Chefs & Restauranteurs. Her Restaurant, the Rusty Spoon was awarded 7 Silver Spoon Awards in 2014, just three years after opening. Kathleen joins past recipients, including City Harvest’s Jilly Stevens, FRLA’s Carol Dover, Chili’s Kelli Valade, and others. For information about the Beacon Award, visit https://www.flrestaurantandlodgingshow.com/beacon-award-recipients. The Beacon Award will be presented on Center Stage Friday, September 7 at 1:00 pm.

Kathleen will join the Foodservice Council for Women (FSCW), panel discussion on Friday, September 7 at 1:00 pm which will feature Letty Alvarez, Founder/Pastry Chef, LA Sweetz; Emily Ellyn, Retro Rad TV Chef and National Brand Spokesperson; Ingrid Hoffman, Host of Top Estrellas and Delicioso; Mareya Ibrahim, Entrepreneur, Chef, Partner, Investor; Wendy Lopez, Executive Chef, Tapa Toro; Chef Jenn, Chef/Owner, DaJen Eats; and moderator, FSCW co-founder Kathleen Wood.  FSCW is a group that aims to connect women in the foodservice industry together to share, inspire and learn from each other. The FSCW networking panel features women leaders in the foodservice industry who are transforming the hospitality industry through their strength, perseverance and forward-thinking demeanors.

The 2018 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show is scheduled for Thursday, September 6 – Saturday, September 8, 2018 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. The tradeshow and conference will provide 8,000+ industry professionals with access to the hottest menu trends, state of the art design and decor, a renowned education program, special events including Hip Sip, Rapid Fire Challenge and several culinary demonstrations, and 450+ of the leading vendors and purveyors dedicated to serving the restaurant & foodservice community.   The tradeshow and conference is managed by Clarion UX (www.clarionux.com) and sponsored by the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (www.frla.org).  For more information, visit www.flrestaurantandlodgingshow.com. The 2018 event will be co-located with Healthy Food Expo Florida and attendees will have access to both events.  

About Clarion UX - Clarion UX produces 37 events across 13 sectors of both trade and consumer events.  Clarion UX, which is the U.S. division of Clarion Events, UK, and backed by The Blackstone Group has become one of the fastest growing event companies in the U.S. with aggressive growth through both acquisition and launch.  Clarion acquired PennWell in early 2018, bringing 4 Tradeshow 200 events into the U.S. portfolio and super-charging the already rapid growth.  Clarion UX has offices in Trumbull, CT; Kennesaw, GA; Boca Raton, FL; Tacoma, WA, and Fairlawn, NJ. www.clarionux.com.

About Clarion Events - Clarion Events operates over 180 events in 50 countries from offices in the UK, South Africa, USA, Brazil, Germany, Singapore, UAE, and the Netherlands.  Clarion can trace its roots back to 1947 and takes great pride in being one of the oldest independent event organizers in the UK.  More recently the firm has developed an international portfolio of brands and now has interests in a number of global vertical industries. The teams at Clarion create uniquely effective and stimulating environments that can serve as a platform to build businesses, enhance customer relationships and accelerate product awareness.   www.clarionevents.com