Commercial Kitchen show hosts consultants debate

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Four FCSI consultants came together at the Commercial Kitchen Show in Birmingham, UK, to discuss the value they bring to a project

The second Commercial Kitchen Show saw hundreds of visitors attend the NEC in Birmingham, UK. Sitting alongside the 80 exhibitor stalls was a packed programme in the seminar theatre. As part of these Michael Jones, the editor of Foodservice Consultant magazine, hosted a panel of FCSI consultants who discussed the role that they play in a foodservice project.

The panel was made up of Julian Edwards FCSI, director of GY5 and the chair of FCSI UK & Ireland; Roz Burgess FCSI, owner of Intelligent Catering Limited; Paul Arnold FCSI, project director of Tricon Foodservice Consultants; and Radford Chancellor FCSI, director of Radford Chancellor.

Between them they have decades of experience working across the sector, in design as well as management consultancy. They have worked on projects as varied as local government and schools and been involved in diverse undertakings, from hotels in the Middle East to Goodwood in the UK. Their expertise covers hospitality, education, hotels and transport hubs to name a few.

Brought together to discuss the value that a foodservice consultant can bring to a project the panellists highlighted insight above all the insight. “It’s about independent advice,” said Chancellor. “The consultant is a third party for the client, somebody who can monitor cost control – we know where the market is and can give them that insight – but it is often also our role to manage the client’s expectations, which can be unrealistic.”

Commercial value

At the heart of the job is the financials, suggested Burgess. “We are here to bring commercial value,” she said. “We are essentially an extension of the client and we need to help them make clever decisions.”

But Burgess also pointed out that the remit of a foodservice consultant goes beyond the kitchen. “There’s a lot that goes into the building infrastructure that we are involved in,” she explained. “It’s like employing an architect to design a building.”

The earlier a consultant can get involved in a project, the better. Edwards said whenever he works on a new build he asks the same series of questions at the earliest possible opportunity. “I’ll always ask them questions like, ‘have you allowed enough space for that large kitchen block?’, ‘are your ceilings high enough to allow a lot of extraction?,” he explains. “You have to ask them: is there a lift, can you get kit through the door, is there a route for ventilation.” Clearly, he concluded, this is much easier if the consultant is involved from the outset.

There was agreement that there is a job to do when getting the message out about the consultant’s role and also spell out the value of bringing an experienced consultant onboard. It might appear a costly expense but Edwards said the value is long-term. “Spending a few thousand pounds on a top-end consultant does save a lot of money. I am an expense on paper, but in the longer term you will see a better return,” he said. “Clients save a fortune in time but also in specifying the right kit. Manufacturers don’t make things quite as robust these days so we can help with bringing in equipment that will last.”

Youth and diversity

There is a shared responsibility among consultants, to improve messaging and marketing, said Chancellor. This effort is partly required to ensure that there is a continued flow of consultants and the panel agreed that youth and diversity should be addressed within the profession. “We are a heavily male dominated sector and we do need to invite people in through programmes like apprenticeships,” said Chancellor. “Social media plays a part in this but we should also be going into schools and colleges to speak young people about our profession.”

It is a pertinent message these days when faced with competition from third party suppliers who often offer design advice at no cost. But as Burgess said, there is no such thing as a free lunch. “Design can be really creative but it is not enough now. Nobody wants to look into the dish washing area or hear the background noise of the ice machine – it is much more than design, it is the whole picture and only a qualified and experienced consultant can do this.”

Alongside with getting the message about what a consultant does out there sits the issue of misconceptions about the role.

“We get challenged over our independence and how we work with suppliers,” said Arnold. “But we are solution providers so what we look for is USPs that solve a particular problem.” When looking for these solutions it is with a focus on the future and service providers’s assistance after installation is crucial. “It is about how quickly kit gets fixed when things go wrong. Lots of good kit has been undone by bad service providers,” said Arnold.

Among the challenges faced by the profession the panel highlighted the issue of space available in kitchens, an ever increasing load of regulations to comply with as well as resources and recruitment.

Summing up the role of the foodservice Consultants, Edwards said he considered the role to be as a bit of a comfort blanket, helping to allay worries and deal with practical issues. “We deal with environmental health officers and sort out problems too,” he said. “We are a technical resource but we help with everything from food safety to obesity advice.”

Elsewhere, the show saw ten exhibitors named in the Innovation Challenge Awards. They were judged by a panel including FCSI’s Julian Edwards and James Douglas, co-founder of Red’s True Barbecue.

The full results are:

The ‘Ready’: Carpigiani UK
CS FlashGRILL: MCS Technical Products
UPster rack transport dishwashers: Meiko UK
RATIONAL SelfCookingCenter XS: Rational UK

Let’s Cook Cloud Solution: Middleby UK
Garbage Guzzler: PKL Group (UK)
Reco-Air: Reco-Air

Retigo Vision: Retigo
True’s New Refrigerated Prep Table: True Refrigeration

Tina Nielsen

Meatballs, futurology and culinary psychology were the focus at an insightful morning of discussion on the future of F&B

The event, hosted on 1 June at Islington’s Everyman Screen on the Green in London, UK, was the latest in Portland Design’s “Wake Up Call” seminar series. “New Food Frontiers” was the theme; speakers took on a range of challenging topics, offering their views on how societal changes are impacting F&B and where the industry is heading.

New directions for F&B

Proceedings were kicked off by Portland Design’s managing director, Ibrahim Ibrahim. His warning of the move from “responsive to predictive business” for firms everywhere set the tone for the morning, coining the phrase “retail Darwinism” to encapsulate the all-or-nothing world faced by new startups in an increasingly competitive industry.

Following Ibrahim was Robert Colville, Financial Times and Telegraph columnist and editor of CapX. Colville’s new book, The Great Acceleration, contains a wealth of insight on how technological and cultural change is forcing the foodservice industry to evolve – as he summarised, “life is speeding up”.

Colville’s cautionary speech made for challenging listening from a foodservice perspective. His key message was “food is fuel”, noting the extent to which restless consumerism has made speed the new standard; “if you bet against convenience”, Colville warned, “you’ll lose”.

However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Colville pointed out that humans are “contradictory”, demanding speed in the week but slowing to a snail’s pace at weekends to craft elaborate meals and show off to friends and family.

This was a theme picked up by Tamira Snell, senior adviser at the Copenhagen Institute of Future Studies. Although eating alone is on the rise, “eating as a ritual” is changing. Snell pointed out that, in addition to the explosion of restaurants and cafes, one in five American meals are now eaten in a car – creating a climate where demands for convenience and luxury must be carefully balanced. “Food”, said Snell, “has become a huge part of how we brand our social identities” – an approach to cuisine creating new demands but also new opportunities for foodservice professionals.

Following this, Kaave Pour’s speech provided a case study on how foodservice is evolving. As creative director of Space 10, IKEA’s innovation lab, Pour was ideally placed to explain how the intersection of art, design and technology is shaping the future of food.

As Pour explained, IKEA’s “new values” are shaping the company’s approach to food as well as the broader goal of guaranteeing sustainability. Space 10’s response was an inventive presentation of modern cuisine’s possible trajectory, working with chefs and designers to provide a new spin on an IKEA classic in the form of “tomorrow’s meatball”. The initiative provided an engaging visualisation of how food is changing through the medium of meat, with Pour demonstrating how foodservice evolution may alter the meatball of tomorrow both in terms of ingredients (with the rise of insects and algae as nutritious and sustainable substitutes) and processes (as powdered and 3D food takes hold in the industry).

Firms’ perspectives

Following a cake-laden networking interlude, the insight tsunami recommenced with a panel discussion on “The future of F&B” exploring the impact of change on some of the industry’s up and coming firms.

Panelists offered a range of perspectives on hard-hitting issues facing the F&B industry. The hostile atmosphere faced by F&B startups, and how best to navigate it, was one of the most pressing topics for a panel in which small businesses were well represented. Fiona Hamilton, global head of retail for international brands at BNP Paribas, pointed out that a culture of “instant gratification” is prompting unprecedented turnover as consumers consistently demand novelty.

David Abrahamovitch, co-founder of coffee vendor Grind, agreed that “responding to trends” was essential for businesses trying to stay afloat, but argued that consistency remains vital. Jonathan Phillips of Humpit Hummus concurred, using his firm as an example that you “don’t need to innovate if it’s working”. Industry competition, he said, means “dynamism coming out of small businesses” needs protecting and nurturing instead of being suppressed.

Linked to this was the need to insulate new firms against the pressures of spiraling property prices. Although Marie Hickey, director of commercial research at Savills, pointed out that the often prohibitive price of entry ensures retailers who make the cut retain their unique character, their was agreement across the board that more help was needed for small businesses.

Hickey noted that “the property industry is learning its lessons” as landlords have come to appreciate the cultural value of small-scale artisan producers, allowing them to gain ground on larger competitors who can pay higher rents. Jonathan Downey, founder of food popup network Street Feast, agreed, arguing “rents have got to drop” as part of cultural change providing entrepreneurs with “space to experiment”.

This consensus among fledgling producers around the need for a culture shift was a key theme of the morning’s discussion. For example, Rob Wilson, co-founder of Toast Ale, a microbrewery brewing beer using wasted bread offcuts, noted that millions of tonnes of bread are thrown away every year – the need to combat this wanton waste, he argued, “transcends” politics in these turbulent times.

Culinary psychology

The key note speech was delivered by Charles Spence, professor of psychology at Somerville College, Oxford, and author of “Gastrophysics: the new science of eating”. As noted from the outset of Spence’s presentation and in the first chapter of his book, “the pleasures of the table reside mainly in the mind, not in the mouth”.

Spence brought life to his thesis with a range of titillating examples gathered from a lifetime of research into the psychology behind food. Rebranding a “Patagonian Toothfish” as a “Chilean seabass” in one seafood restaurant he studied, for example, resulted in 200% uptake; more eccentric research included respondents declaring Chinese food tasted better when accompanied by one of Taylor Swift’s signature songs.

Spence’s research means he has worked closely with F&B professionals; his speech contained some fascinating insights for the future of foodservice. He predicts that technology will have a revolutionising effect, with “sonic seasoning” using auditory cues to intensify flavours and “technology of the table” making augmented reality dishes a growing possibility.

Ultimately flavor is “the most multisensory of our experiences” – as technology improves, opportunities to tap into this are increasing by making dining a more stimulating experience than ever before.

A morning of insights

In addition to being a fascinating event, the proceeds went to a good cause; The Felix Project, a London charity working with suppliers to reduce food waste, was one of the morning’s major beneficiaries.

With illuminating discussions on the direction of F&B, responses from firms on the frontline and expert advice from industry trailblazers, this was a valuable morning for F&B professionals. Foodservice consultants would do well to keep track of this insightful series of seminars from Portland in years to come.

Thomas Lawrence

New technology, breakthrough F&B products and tech-savvy startups all highlighted innovation on show, says Tatiana Vieira Green

Another year with strong growth for international attendees and exhibitors highlighted the global nature of the NRA Show. The event offered everything needed to achieve success in the foodservice industry. From knowledge to hands-on implementation, from quantity to quality, from variety to value, from innovation to traditional well-proven solutions, the NRA Show had it all.

Spanning three halls at the 2.6 million square-foot McCormick Place, the NRA Show featured established and emerging supplier brands showcasing more than 900 product categories. At more than 695,000 sq ft, it was the largest NRA Show ever. Top brands and organizations represented included McDonald’s, Domino’s, Aramark, Stanford University, Sysco, Whole Foods, Panera Bread, Chick-fil-A, Sodexo, Kroger, Starbuck’s, Darden Restaurants, Bloomin’ Brands, and thousands more industry heavyweights.

The high energy on the show floor was evident among exhibitors, which comprised companies from more than 30 countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Spain, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. The Show actually offered 55% more international pavilions this year, with new exhibits added from Mexico, China, the Philippines, Iran, and Canada.

Innovation continues to dominate the show floor

Besides an impressive selection of exhibitors, invited Chefs, and specialty areas, one of the key highlights in 2017 was the newly launched Innovation HUB. This zone was comprised of three distinctive areas: the Innovation Theater, Tech Talks, and Startup Alley.

The Innovation Hub had everything participants needed to stay current on the latest industry innovations and unlock best practices.

At Innovation Theater, attendees participated in key discussions such as ‘The Impact of Customer-Facing Technology on Restaurant Design’, ‘Key Trends Shaping the Future of Foodservice’ and ‘Bridging the Atlantic:  U.S. and U.K. Restaurant Trends’. All topics devoted to keep participants ahead of the competition with in-depth research and timely education sessions.

Created to connect attendees with tech-savvy startups poised to make a big impact in foodservice, Startup Alley brought 14 companies that are at the forefront of digital innovation for the foodservice sector. The companies this year included Kitchens with Confidence, Orderly, SeatNinja, Tabit, and Tapyness.

New products

Innovation was also present with the new products introduced at the show. Every year hundreds of new products are launched at NRA Show. In 2017, while wondering through the exhibition floor, attendees were able to find the most delicious, unique, and exciting food and beverage products that benefit restaurant operators and consumers alike. This year’s 36 Food and Beverage Innovation (FABI) Award recipients included products such as salt created with revolutionary processing technology to contains 50% less sodium than table salt; a naturally flavored beverage with ginger, cane sugar, and blood orange extract called Blood Orange Ginger Beer; and the world’s first plant-based burger that looks, cooks, and satisfies like fresh ground beef.

The items labeled as ‘Hot New Products’ were another highlight in terms of innovative food and beverage products showcased at the show floor. Exhibitors with such products received special sticker identification in their booth. Among the breakthrough products that had this identification, attendees were able to find the only packaged salad product with roots designed for optimal flavor, freshness and convenience (Pete’s Living Greens Living Strips), and a 2017 Sofi Award winner that is a delicious ‘salad in a bottle’ (ZUMO Gazpacho).

Forward-thinking equipment solutions were also center stage at NRA Show 2017. For over a decade, the industry has trusted the KI (Kitchen Innovation) Awards to recognize products that meaningfully improve the back of the house. The 18 selected innovations that were present at the KI Pavilion addressed operator concerns from labor, energy, and water efficiency to food safety, sanitation, cross-functionality, and space-saving.

The show displayed strong presence of international participants. This unprecedented attendance success included high-powered buyers and influencers from more than 120 countries. The growth is also due to the contributions by key delegations from the Department of Commerce and United State Department of Agriculture, international associations, and independent visitors from countries such as Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Japan, Kenya, Nicaragua, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom.

International visitors coming to connect, buy, and get inspired were able to explore and purchase new technological solutions and breakthrough equipment; network with key suppliers, manufacturers, and other restaurateurs from around the world; and find new innovations in food and beverage products.

There were numerous ways to profit from the variety of experiences the NRA Show offered – none better than simply using the Show as the place to explore key global trends and innovations.

Further details

NRA Show 2018 will be held 19-22 May at Chicago’s McCormick Place. For more information visit Restaurant.org/Show.

Tatiana Vieira Green

The NRA Show 2017 in Chicago, US, saw new restaurant industry technologies with 3-D printing and better operating systems at the fore, reports Amelia Levin

At the National Restaurant Association Hotel-Motel (NRA) 2017 Show in May in Chicago, US, plenty of new technologies were on display, catching the eyes of designers and operators alike.

From tableside tablets to mobile payments, more advanced reservation systems and the power of big data, technology is a critical part of how restaurants and foodservice operators navigate today’s uber-competitive hanging business landscape.

In fact, the next generation of restaurant concepts and even non-commercial operators such as colleges/universities and healthcare facilities are using technology to reinvent the dining – and even eating – experience and define the smart restaurant of the future.

Here’s a look at two technologies disrupting the current landscape.

3D printing

While 3D printing is nothing new, having been used in the automotive, biomed and even archeology sectors for a handful of years, some businesses and operators are now experimenting with it in the foodservice realm. Perhaps the most well known experimentation that happened with 3D printing was by the late Homaro Cantu, a master of molecular gastronomy at his now-closed Moto and ING in Chicago.

Pasta product maker Barilla, in partnership with TNO, a Dutch research institute, has introduced a prototype to be able to actually print the first 3D pasta in order to make shapes that cannot be made by current industrial pasta making processes.

With the current model, graphic designers develop the unique shapes using computer graphics tools, and then by the click of the button, can produce up to four fresh, not dried, pieces of pasta – soon to be a whole plate – in 2 minutes. Chefs are finding use for it by being able to personalize and customize their creations without having to labor over making fresh pasta in-house.

We’re still some time away from seeing 3D printers more heavily tapping the marketplace in the US, but that could change. Typical printers, used to make chocolate primarily, cost between $1,500 and upwards of $4,000.

Operating systems

Yesterday’s POS systems simply no longer cut it for most restaurant and foodservice operators. Modern systems can do everything from not only manage orders to the kitchen and track sales but manage much more advanced methods of Big Data management to help operators better understand their customers, manage loyalty programs, deal with complicated reservations and now, even bring down or eliminate costs that prevent them from reaching profitable levels.

At the NRA Show, SALIDO introduced its latest prototype – an all-in-one platform reporting on labor, inventory kitchen and consumer management in one dashboard. Chefs and restaurateurs like David Chang, Tom Colicchio, Stephen Starr, Phi Suarez have Jimmy Haber have been installing the system in their multiple restaurant concepts and locations, including Chang’s Fuku, Made Nice by Eleven Madison Park + Jean-Georges’ ABC Kitchen last week.

And now, Resy, the restaurant reservations and technology platform “developed by restaurants” announced plans for continued expansion throughout the country, including New Orleans, Nashville and Portland in Summer 2017. Restaurant partners in those cities include Shaya, Cane & Table, Paladar 511, Hemingway’s, The Waiting Room, Ned Ludd and more.

The program uses a cloud-based system with flat pricing, automated waiting lists, live text messaging with guests and a paperless check payment system.

Amelia Levin

Leading FCSI UK & Ireland professional members will address the topic 'How much value can the right consultant add to a foodservice project?' at the show

FCSI are a new association partner for Commercial Kitchen 2017, which returns to the NEC Birmingham on 6-7 June 2017. The Society will host an exclusive panel session focusing on the topic of ‘How much value can the right consultant add to a foodservice project?’ and will feature five of the country’s leading foodservice consultants. Chaired by Michael Jones, editor of FCSI’s Foodservice Consultant magazine, the session will offer some great insight into best practices, standards and the tangible things that even the best consultants can do to become even better partners to their clients (1.15pm, 7 June).

FCSI panellists include Julian Edwards FCSI, chairman of FCSI (UK&I) and owner of GY5; Paul Arnold FCSI, project director at Tricon Foodservice Consultants; Roz Burgess FCSI, owner of Intelligent Catering; Duncan Hepburn FCSI, principal consultant at Hepburn Associates; and Radford Chancellor FCSI, director of Radford Chancellor.

“With such a wide choice of innovative equipment under one roof, and leading industry keynotes from across all sectors of the foodservice industry, it’s a must attend event for consultants and end-users looking to stay ahead of the latest innovations and trends in this dynamic industry,” says Edwards.

“Commercial Kitchen offers the industry something unique, not only commercial catering equipment but also excellent, relevant seminars. Our consultants, and a number of our clients, are looking forward to attending this exciting show,” says Chancellor.


The event has also confirmed its Innovation Challenge Awards entries for 2017.  The awards recognise the best new catering equipment, devices and tech for kitchens of the year.

Middleby UK, Electrolux Professional, Interflow UK, rexmartins, RATIONAL UK, and TME Thermometers are among the 22 manufacturers and suppliers looking to win over visiting buyers (including leading operators from across the foodservice and hospitality sector) to secure their place in the show’s Innovation Challenge final.

Voting opens at the Innovation Challenge Gallery from 10am on opening day and will run until 4pm (6 June).  The exhibitors that have secured the most visitor votes will then be invited to ‘pitch’ their new innovations in the live final the following day.  They’ll have just 90 seconds to impress this year’s expert industry judges, plus a packed audience of visiting buyers. Pitches start at 11.45am on Wednesday 7 June, with the results to be announced at 2pm.

Top speakers

The Cinnamon Collection’s executive chef and founder Vivek Singh has been confirmed for a headline Keynote Q&A at the show. Singh’s ‘in conversation’ session, with fellow chef and restaurant consultant Jay Morjaria, is set to reveal exclusive insights into the inner workings of the kitchens and kit at the heart of his top London restaurants; including The Cinnamon Club (launched in 2001 and now considered a benchmark for fine dining Indian restaurants around the world), Cinnamon Kitchen, Cinnamon Soho, and Cinnamon Bazaar.

“Commercial Kitchen is an important trade event, as it shows chefs the latest innovations and possibilities for their kitchens,” says Singh. “I’m really passionate about the equipment that makes our kitchens work for our teams and customers, and I look forward to seeing my colleagues and peers at this inspiring industry event.”

Singh isn’t the only professional chef lending his specialist expertise to speaker duties at Commercial Kitchen. Previously confirmed big names include world-renowned pastry chef Claire Clark MBE – the first person in the UK, and only female recipient, to be awarded the Master of Culinary Arts for outstanding craftsmanship (formerly known as the ‘Meilleur Ouvrier de la Grande Bretagne’); Chris Knights, group executive chef at Young’s Pubs and Geronimo Inns; Kumour Uddin, group executive chef at Anglian Country Inns; and Robert Quehan, formerly of The Ivy and now head chef at The Redwood Bistro at Bishopstoke Park (the UK’s first retirement village to be awarded an AA Rosette for its food).

Other new speakers, announced today, include James Douglas, co-founder and director at Red’s True Barbecue, Adele Hing, development manager (kitchen, equipment & food operations) at Nando’s UK & Ireland, and Chris Webb, catering operations manager at Punch Taverns. Douglas and Hing will be appearing in the ‘Multi-site restaurant kitchen panel’ alongside MEATliquor’s MD Scott Collins and, session chair, Peter Martin, VP of CGA Peach. While Webb, who heads up the team responsible for menu development, kitchen design and menu implementation across Punch’s estate – joins Knights and Uddin in ‘The pub kitchen panel’, which is to be chaired by Steve Dann, director at Fleet Street Communications.

Graeme Loudon, commercial director at insights firm CGA Strategy, will also be making his show debut.  His session will give an overview of the current challenges facing operators across the market and how they are adjusting their offer and plans in response to the continued fallout from the Brexit vote.  He’ll also be revealing the key trends to watch and their potential impact on the size and shape of the market in the months to come (3.30pm, 6 June).

Cutting edge commercial kitchen design and execution

CEDA – the show’s lead partner, will feature prominently in the seminar line-up.  he CEDA panel (12.30pm, 6 June) sees five of the association’s former chairs appearing together for the first time (including Mark Drazen, MD of Caterware; Nick Howe, MD of Court Catering Equipment; Peter Kitchin, MD of C&C Catering Equipment; Iain Munro, MD of ScoMac Catering Equipment; and Jack Sharkey MSc, MD of Vision Commercial Kitchens).

CEDA’s Foodservice Kitchen Design Panel (2pm, 6 June), also led by Clare Nicholls, editor of Catering Insight, unites the CEDA Grand Prix Award winners of Best Small, Best Medium and Best Large Projects – Clive Groom, MD of CNG Foodservice Equipment, Paul Gilhooly, head of sales at Gratte Brothers Catering Equipment, and Nick Howe, MD of Court Catering Equipment (respectively) – to discuss their cutting edge commercial kitchen design and execution.

While Adam Mason, CEDA’s director general, will also be appearing alongside senior representatives from The ALMR (Kate Nicholls), FCSI (Julian Edwards), and HCA (Philip Shelley) in a joint association panel discussion at 3.30pm on 7 June.

Free registration

For further information, and to register to attend Commercial Kitchen 2017, visit www.commercialkitchenshow.co.uk and enter priority code CK10 (alternatively, use direct link: https://registration.n200.com/survey/3d80hw89gt3j0?actioncode=CK10).

With the National Restaurant Show 2017 due on 20 May here's our latest guide to everything you can see, hear and eat at the biggest, most exciting foodservice show in the US

While we have already published a comprehensive preview of NRA Show 2017, there is still a huge plethora of exciting options for those attending this expansive, fun show. This is our handy guide to the highlights of the broadest, most exciting foodservice show in the United States.

Big figures

  • The NRA Show is the restaurant and hospitality industry’s premier trade show for the latest in cutting-edge products, services and information. Each year more than 67,000 professionals and 2,000 exhibitors gather in Chicago for four days that will shape foodservice for an entire year.
  • This is the 98th anniversary of the NRA Show. Co-located with NRA Show is the two-day Beverage Alcohol for Restaurants (BAR) at NRA Show, a conference and exhibition focused on the critical nature of the bar program in a restaurant or foodservice establishment.
  • Building on the last year’s successful debut, the largest made-in-Italy Food & Wine Expo to be found outside the mother country once again takes up residence in the Lakeside Center exhibit hall. At Bellavita’s Wine & Food theatre, participate in one of the several masterclasses hosted by the finest top chefs and sommeliers in the business. See the full line up here.

New pavilions and exciting new attractions

  • Innovation Hub: This zone is actually comprised of a few distinctive sessions: the Innovation Theater, Tech Talks and the Startup Alley. The Innovation Hub has everything participants need to stay current on the latest industry innovations and insights, unlock best technological practices and trends and connect with tech-savvy startups poised to make a big impact in foodservice. NRA Show attendees will keep ahead of the competition with in-depth research and timely education sessions at the Innovation Theater. At this new auditorium they will participate in key discussions such as ‘The Impact of Customer-Facing Technology on Restaurant Design’ (Sunday 21 May between 2-2:45pm), ‘Key Trends Shaping the Future of Foodservice’ (Monday 22 May between 12-12:45pm) and ‘Bridging the Atlantic: US and UK Restaurant Trends’ (Monday 22 May between 4-4:45pm). Also, by participating in Tech Talks, attendees will unlock best technological practices and trends at fast-paced educational sessions. Tech Talks sessions include themes such as ‘Mapping the Restaurant Technology Landscape’ (Sunday 21 May between 11-11:30 am) and ‘Building an Enduring Restaurant Following’ (Sunday 21 May between 1-1:30pm). For a complete list of events happening at the Innovation Theatre and Tech Talk sessions please visit here.
  • SIGNATURE ’17: Ahead of the Crave – Sunday 21 May at 2:00pm- Grand Ballroom (S100)Signature ’17 is a pointed conversation between some of the brightest minds in the business. This year’s theme “Ahead of the Crave,” focuses on the empowered customer and identifies top emerging opportunities. Join NRA president & CEO Dawn Sweeney along with industry game changers such as Amazon Business’s Dan Park for a glimpse of how the landscape of business purchasing and selling is changing. Join the conversation and submit a question for us to discuss during Signature’17 using #Signature17 @NRAShowIntl. For more information, visit here.
  • Hot New Products – Every year hundreds of new products are launched at NRA Show. Select the ones that appeal to your audience so that you can write about them and their companies. For a list of new products, please visit here. Don’t miss Pete’s Living Greens Living Strips (Pete’s Living Greens Living Strips are the only packaged salad product designed for optimal flavor, freshness and convenience WITH ROOTS ATTACHED) and ZUMO Gazpacho (a 2017 sofi Award winner. It is a delicious “salad in a bottle.” They make their Gazpacho (cold vegetable soup, native to Spain) with only 9 ingredients & a touch of Mediterranean Seawater. Using Mediterranean Seawater enhances natural flavors & enriches with 78 bio-available electrolytes. Also in other flavors)
  • Special discounts – NRA Show exhibitors that will be offering discounts and product specials during the event. To learn more about the offers available to participants at NRA Show 2017 and write about the ones that would appeal more to your readers, visit here.
  • KI (Kitchen Innovations) Pavilion – For over a decade, the industry has trusted the KI Awards to recognize products that meaningfully improve the back of the house. Make no mistake–KI Award recipients will positively impact business operations everywhere. The KI Pavilion is home to all the KI Award recipients. For more information about the 2017 winners please visit here.
  • FABI Award Winners: The FABI Awards honor the year’s most delicious, unique and exciting food and beverage products that benefit restaurant operators and consumers. These are products that show breakthrough achievement in taste, marketability, creativity and profitability potential in foodservice operations. FABI 2017 Winners are here.
  • Foodamental Studio: Roll up your sleeves and, guided by industry experts, experiment with the processes and techniques behind today’s hottest food trends inspired dishes and international spices. For more information and for a complete schedule of interactive sessions, visit here.

Interactive presentations

All interactive presentations are extremely good. The official lineup includes:

  • Cool as a Kinilaw: Saturday 20 May between 3:00 – 3:45pm. Ricardo Jarquin from Travelle Kitchen + Bar (@TravelleChicago) will teach the Audience how to make a Filipino style ceviche made with traditional Filipino ingredients and flavors.
  • Food in a Flash: Sunday 21 May between 10:00 – 10:45am. Audience members will learn from famed food photographer Huge Galdones of Galdones Photography, the best strategies for photographing food for social media.
  • You Gotta know when to fold ‘em: Sunday 21 May between 1:45 – 2:30pm. James Lintelmann from Baptiste & Bottle will teach the audience how to make traditional Gyoza Japanese dumplings and educate them on different folding techniques used by various chefs.
  • Pasta perfecto: Monday 22 May between 12:30 – 1:15pm. Making the perfect pasta is an art so it’s essential to master the fundamentals. Chef Cameron Grant of Chicago’s Osteria Langhe, will teach the audience all the basics of pasta making, while walking through some of his most treasured and beloved years in Piemonte, Italy.
  • Cold Soups are Hot: Monday 22 May between 1:45 – 2:30pm. Are you ready for Summer? Join Angelina Bastidas (@chefangelinab) from Bin 36 as she shows how to take Spring and Summer fresh ingredients and turn them into cool soups perfect for the warm weather.
  • Break the mold: Tuesday 23 May between  12:30 – 1:15pm. Chef Jove Hubbard (@jovetee) from Cindy’s will demonstrate preparing a sorbet popsicle base, creating a popsicle mold and the steps to creating the refreshing treat, including dipping and finishing the popsicle.

World Culinary Showcase

Education becomes entertainment at World Culinary Showcase, where celebrity chefs demonstrated the techniques, tips and tricks that catapulted them into the spotlight. To know more about the chefs performing demonstrations, please visit here. We recommend:

  • Saturday 20 May between 12:00pm – 1:00pm Chef Maneet Chauhan (@ManeetChauhan). A recognized TV personality, cookbook author, active philanthropist and permanent Judge on Food Network’s show Chopped. Chef/owner of Chauhan Ale & Malsala House and co-owner of Mantra Artisan Ales in Nashville.
  • Saturday 20 May between 3:00 pm – 4:00pm – Duff Goldman (@duffgoldman ‏). Veteran of French Laundry, Vail Cascade Hotel and Todd English’s Olives. Opened Charm City Cakes in 2000. Star of hit Food Network show, Ace of Cakes. Graffiti artist, metal sculptor and musician.
  • Sunday 21 May between 12:00pm – 1:00pm– Stephanie Izard (@StephAndTheGoat). Executive Chef & Owner, Girl & the Goat, Little Goat and Duck Duck Goat. James Beard “Best Chef: Great Lakes” recipient 2013 and 2011 Food & Wine “Best New Chef.” First woman to win Bravo’s Top Chef.
  • Sunday 21 May between 3:00pm – 4:00pm – Matthew Kenney (@MatthewKenney_). World’s leading plant-based chef, the writer of several best-selling cookbooks, a culinary educator, and an entrepreneur specializing in the plant-based lifestyle.
  • Monday 22 May between 12:00pm – 1:00pm – Barton Seaver (@bartonseaver). Executive chef, Director of the Healthy and Sustainable Food Program at the Center for Health and Global Environment at Harvard, author and internationally recognized speaker on sustainable practices.
  • Tuesday 23 May between 12:00pm – 1:00pm – Jeff Mauro (@JeffMauro ‏). Host of The Kitchen and Sandwich King. Season 7 winner of Food Network Star. Executive chef of Pork & Mindy’s restaurants and retail line of sauces and meats.

Locating exhibitors and exporters

To find exhibitors that have expressed an interest in finding dealers, distributors, brokers or manufacturers’ representatives For more information, visit here.

To find exporters visit here.

Special Events

The fun shouldn’t end just because the show floor closes in the early evening. Keep things going well into the night with exclusive access to popular after-hours events. After-hours events include:

  • International Reception – ONLY for international visitorsNetwork with trade executives, exhibitors and other foodservice professionals from around the world who are interested in expanding their operations. Saturday 21 May between 5:00 – 6:30pm – North Building, Level 4, Room N427.
  • IFMA Gold & Silver Plate Awards:Celebrate the nation’s top operator talent at the IFMA Gold & Silver Plate Awards hosted by Joseph Fassler, 1996 Gold Plate Winner. Learn more here.
  • Restaurants Rock: Jam to the live grooves of the world’s premier Prince tribute band, The Purple Xperience. Have a drink (or two). Cut a rug. Chat up hundreds of hospitality pros. Whatever your pleasure, it’s all here for the taking at the official after-party of NRA Show and BAR 17. Tickets available via NRA Show registration: Register now here.
  • NRA Show Block Party: Chicago’s hippest bars, restaurants and clubs open their doors to serve up free food and drinks along with entertainment for NRA Show attendees. Attendance is free with your NRA Show badge. Learn more here. Monday 22 May between 9:30pm – 12:00am.
  • Specialty Pavilions: Sprinkled across the Show floor, these curated specialty areas and pavilions are grouped by top trends, products and emerging technology to help you navigate easily.
  • Startup Alley – showcases the creative, innovative startups poised to make a big impact in the foodservice industry. The list of companies can be found here.
  • Alternative BiteStyle: Spotlight on products and ingredients for vegetarian/vegan, low sodium, gluten-free, and allergic sensitivities.
  • Organic And Natural Pavilion: An oasis of organic, natural labels and products that ingredient-savvy consumers want to see on your menu.
  • Technology Pavilion: Top-to-bottom tech including mobile apps, mobile payment, POS, digital signage, data-driven solutions and more to improve transaction speed, communication, efficiency and cost.
  • Microsoft Digital Transformation: NRA Show once again teams up with Microsoft to bring you a fully immersive experience that not only explains digital solutions but also demonstrates how to make it work for your operation–from mobile apps to front-of-house management tools to smart kitchens.
  • Conserve Solutions Center: Sustainability focused products that lower costs, waste, energy use and environmental impact, plus attract eco-minded guests.
  • American Food Fair: U.S. Food producers and processors seeking export
  • Fast Innovation of Fast Casual & Pizza Summit – Join us for an exclusive networking event where you’ll learn from those innovating in strategic, market-savvy ways in this wildly successful foodservice concept. And walk away with ideas how to implement their key learnings into your own operation. (Separate registration required). Saturday 20 May between 8:15am to 3:00pm For more information, please visit here.
  • Foodservice at Retail Conference – Foodservice in grocery and c-stores continues to grow at an exponential rate. Let NRA Show’s Foodservice @ Retail Summit help you tap into this dynamic segment’s great potential. Sunday 21 May 21 and Monday 22 May. For more information, please visit here.
  • Non-Commercial Conference – This is a one-day conference built around topics that are unique to the education and health care space. Attendees can learn insigths at this new conference that tackles issues ranging from food sourcing, concept development, and adapting to ever shifting palates. Monday 22 May. For more information, please visit here.

Free education sessions on the show floor

Walk away inspired, informed, and ready to take on your big challenges. For four days and innumerous learning opportunities for attendees to refresh their skills about workforce development, business operations, food & nutrition and technology. All sessions are great, we recommend many including:

  • Saturday 20 May – 11:00 AM – 11:30 AM – Trends in Training: The Substance Behind the Buzzwords – Workforce Development
  • Saturday 20 May – 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM – Keeping Your Great Food Safe – Food & Nutrition
  • Saturday 20 May – 3:00 PM – 3:30 PM – Brand Buzz: 3 Breakthrough Secrets for Building a Winning Brand – Business Operations
  • Sunday 21 May – 10:00 AM – 10:45 AM – Attracting and Retaining Talent in a Challenging Environment – Workforce Development
  • Sunday 21 May – 2:00 PM – 2:45 PM – The Impact of Customer-Facing Technology on Restaurant Design – Business Operations
  • Monday 22 May – 12:00 PM – 12:45 PM – Key Trends Shaping the Future of Foodservice – Business Operations
  • Tuesday 23 May- 10:00 AM – 10:45 AM – Global Innovation: What We Can Learn from the Best New Concepts – Business Operations

Whatever you are hoping to see in at the show, enjoy and take in as much as you can. A final words of advice: comfortable shoes are recommended – there’s a lot of show floor to cover.


UK's only dedicated commercial kitchen industry show releases its first preview of new products on show at the NEC Birmingham, UK, on 6-7 June

The Commercial Kitchen trade show 2017 has unveiled its first preview of some of the new products on show at the NEC Birmingham next month, on 6-7 June 2017.

The UK’s only dedicated trade event for the commercial kitchen industry will feature 100 companies exhibiting the complete range of innovative equipment, devices and services required to run, refurbish or build a commercial kitchen; including cooking equipment, refrigeration, storage, warewashing, fit out and design.

Recently confirmed suppliers include Middleby UK, Meiko UK, Jestic Foodservice Equipment, QCR Recycling Equipment, The Professionals Choice, Sous Vide Tools, My-kaboodle, Commercial BBQ Smokers, and Sterling Foodservice Design.

Key buyers and decision makers

“Commercial Kitchen was a great success and we were very pleased that the quality of visitor matched the quality of exhibitor. We’re looking forward to creating even more exciting opportunities with key buyers and decision makers this year. There are other marketing avenues available but nothing beats the face to face opportunities that a good trade show can offer,” says Kenny Smith, sales director at Middleby UK.

“The decision to exhibit at Commercial Kitchen was an easy one. Having attended the first event, I was pleased with the quality of visitors, and the decision to showcase the support that we, at Meiko, can offer our industry was swiftly sanctioned. I’m delighted to present our latest models, ware washing technology and our passion for energy efficiency,” says Paul Anderson, managing director of Meiko UK.

The following are just some of the new innovations on show for 2017:

Aqua Cure is previewing the new Conserv 75S, a high efficiency reverse osmosis system from Pentair, specifically designed to protect combi ovens and small steamers.

Panasonic UK is launching its new Speed Convection Oven SCV-2 at the show. It offers an affordable and cost-effective alternative to the accelerated cooking options already available.

Interflow UK is launching ecoAzur from GIF.  It monitors heat and vapours from cooking (using optical and thermal sensors linked to the BMS) to adapt airflow and ensure optimal air quality and ergonomics.

Middleby UK’s HOUNÖ brand is presenting its Let’s Cook cloud ecosystem, which enables operators to access and monitor their ovens anytime, anywhere, on any device. Also showcasing: Perfect Fry’s PFA7201 fully automated frying system.

Degafloor is showcasing its latest range of ultra-fast curing and totally seamless resin flooring systems. Each option provides outstanding slip resistance and is available in a wide range of bespoke colours and surface textures that can be tailored by area of use.

Goodflo is exhibiting its recently launched 100 litre gt underground grease trap. Manufactured, supplied and maintained by Goodflo, it offers an effective in-kitchen FOG management solution for commercial kitchen operators. Also showcasing: its innovative G-bag Grease Trap system.

Catering Equipment is showcasing the latest range of Dometic powered, and non-powered, food transport boxes, which feature some major improvements for 2017.

Sterling Foodservice Design is demonstrating its new software, which can produce 3D elevations and full colour renderings of their designs to illustrate realistic representations of finished installations.

Glen Dimplex Professional Appliances is showcasing Burco’s new Titan Induction Range Cooker. Features include a 2/1 GN oven, heavy-duty 6mm glass hob with five induction cooking zones, single or multiphase connectivity, and an easy to clean filter system.

Electrolux Professional is showcasing SpeeDelight, a new accelerated cooking solution. The unit’s contact plates combine with infrared and microwave technology, whilst the upper plate is designed to settle on food with just the right amount of pressure – opening automatically when ready.

Jestic Foodservice Equipment is showcasing the Winston CVap CAC503. Offering the latest in slow cooking technology, it provides precision control over the temperature, moisture and texture of the food.

Rexmartins is showcasing its recently launched, versatile RMB range. The RMB series of cooking equipment ranges from single zone induction units, fryers, and pasta boilers up to full working commercial kitchens.

Cuisinequip is showcasing Bottene’s fresh pasta makers (as used by Jamie’s Italian) and heritage slicers from Omas Food Machinery, which benefit from decades of Italian family engineering.

Induced Energy is showcasing the QuadroChef – its latest product development, which incorporates a four zone induction hob that delivers perfect controllability and unrivalled energy efficiency when compared to traditional gas burners.

R H Hall Foodservice Solutions is launching the first models from a new range of Smeg ovens, featuring new user friendly controls and enhanced specification.

Target Catering Equipment’s new British-made commercial induction ranges include the T8-2 Zone induction wok range, and the Target Restaurant Range, with induction plancha, combined with four zones of 3.5kW heavy duty induction and E31D4 Blue Seal convection oven.

Exclusive national exhibition

“We are thrilled to have chosen Commercial Kitchen as our exclusive national exhibition of choice. To have an industry show dedicated to commercial catering equipment gives us, a small British manufacturer, a central platform to showcase our products to the ‘who’s who’ of the equipment buying world from across the UK,” says David Pedrette, managing director of Target Catering Equipment.

That ‘who’s who’ includes leading equipment buyers, specifiers, distributors, and consultants from across the foodservice and hospitality sector. Including senior representatives from AB Hotels, Anchor Care Homes, Anglian Country Inns, Aramark, Benugo, Bidvest, Bourne Leisure, Bridgwater and Taunton College, Brunning and Price, Cardiff Council, Daniel Thwaites, Debenhams, EAT., Enterprise Inns, Five Guys, Gala Leisure, Gate Gourmet, Gather & Gather, GBK, Gold Care Homes, Greene King, Hampshire County Council HC3S, Hilton, Hospital Catering Association, Longleat, Marstons, Merlin Entertainments, Mitchells & Butlers, Nando’s, National Trust, Newcastle University, NHS, Prezzo, Punch, Redcomb Pubs, Revolution Bars Group, Sainsbury’s, Sodexo, Star Pubs & Bars, Starbucks, Subway, Sunrise Senior Living, Tesco, The Pub People Company, TRADE, University of Nottingham, University of Warwick, University of West London, Warner Leisure Hotels, Wm Morrisons Supermarkets, Young’s Pubs and Geronimo Inns, Zizzi, and thousands of quality independents.

Further details:

Commercial Kitchen returns to the NEC Birmingham on 6-7 June 2017. The show features include a free two-day seminar programme, the Innovation Challenge Awards, and CEDA Awards Gallery. For further information, and to register to attend Commercial Kitchen, please visit commercialkitchenshow.co.uk and enter priority code CK10 (direct link: https://registration.n200.com/survey/3d80hw89gt3j0?actioncode=CK10).


With an attendee list set to top 67,000 foodservice professionals, NRA Show 2017 is a huge event with plenty to appeal to consultants, operators and manufacturers alike

More than 67,000 foodservice professionals are expected to attend the 2017 National Restaurant Association Restaurant Hotel-Motel Show, held May 20-23 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Roughly 2,300 exhibitors will represent 900-plus product categories, while celebrity chefs like Rick Bayless, Maneet Chauhan and Fabio Viviani will demonstrate different dishes at the World Culinary Showcase, running all four days.

“The renowned celebrity chefs participating in this year’s World Culinary Showcase demonstrate some of the first-class techniques, tips, and tricks that catapulted them into the spotlight,” says Eyvazian. “Their combined expertise and insights are part of what makes the NRA Show 2017 a one-stop destination for any foodservice operator.”

Education, education, education 

As always, each day will feature a packed lineup of education sessions, and this year, they’ve been capped at 30 minutes and moved from the upstairs conference rooms to right on the show floor so that everyone pressed for time can attend. Consultants might find particular interest in Introducing Generation Z; Sustainability Trends and Tips; The Impact of Customer-Facing Technology on Restaurant Design; Robots in Foodservice, and Global Innovation: What We Can Learn from the Best New Concepts.

Two Summits at the Show will dive deep into the world of retail and non-commercial foodservice operations. As foodservice in grocery and c-stores continue to grow at an exponential rate, the NRA Show has expanded its Foodservice @ Retail Summit, held Sunday, May 21-Monday, May 22, with a presentation on the latest trends by Technomic as well as a tour at Latinicity and presentation of the Latin food hall’s founder, Richard Sandoval.

The Non-Commercial Summit, held on Monday, May 22, will address various topics impacting K-12, healthcare and college/university operators such as healthy foods, technology/online ordering and more.

Back for its third year at the NRA Show, Startup Alley will showcase emerging, tech-savvy startups in the restaurant technology space.

Plant-based foods, premium authentic beverages, new bakery products, and more are among the 36 FABI Award recipients selected this year.

“The FABI Awards offer restaurant operators an inside look at the future of food and beverage as the industry continues to innovate and move forward,” says Eyvazian. “It’s very exciting to discover new flavors, on-trend menu items, and delicious food that’s both nutritious and allergy-friendly.”

FCSI will not have a booth at the show, according to Wade Koehler CAE, executive director of FCSI The Americas, but he encourages everyone to attend the annual networking and cocktail party, hosted by The Upper Midwest Chapter, at The Godfrey Hotel’s Urban Roofscape Lounge on Sunday, May 21, from 5pm to 7pm.

2017 Kitchen Innovations® (KI) Awards

This highly-anticipated lineup of new, innovative equipment this year features 18 selected solutions to address operator concerns from labor, energy and water efficiency to food safety, sanitation, cross-functionality and space-saving.

“The engineers and inventors who develop these KI Award innovations work tirelessly to solve the challenges of back-of-the-house operations, to the great benefit of restaurant operators,” says Atour Eyvazian, convention chair for NRA Show 2017 and multiunit owner of 107 Jack in the Box restaurants in Houston and San Antonio. “The KI award is a testament to their contributions in improving the foodservice industry.”

Among this year’s winners are a multi-cook oven, a dual zone egg station for all-day breakfast, a high efficiency warewasher with drain water energy recovery, a hot water glasswasher using reverse-osmosis filtration to eliminate the need for hand polishing, a hot-holding cabinet with a touchscreen display to show what’s being held across the kitchen, an induction cooktop that works with any kind of pan, a silverware rolling machine, a convection oven with removable, dishwasher-safe doors, and more.

This year’s Kitchen Innovations judges included Dan Bendall FCSI (Principal, FoodStrategy, Inc.); David Chislett (executive principal, Ricca Design Studios); Jeff Cook (chief engineer, Restaurant Solutions Group, McDonald’s Corporation); Richard Eisenbarth FCSI (president / COO, Cini-Little International); Foster F. Frable, Jr. FCSI Associate AIA (president, Clevenger Frable LaVallee); Randy Homer (program manager, Food & Beverage Operations Asset Management, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts); Jim Krueger, Jr., CMCE, NRAMF (chief, Air Force Food & Beverage Policy, Procedures, Business Development & Strategic Initiatives Air Force Services Activity [AFSVA] San Antonio, TX); Aaron Lamotte (senior director, Performance Interiors
, Sodexo Performance Interiors), and Steve Otto (director, Capital Equipment Purchasing, Darden).

Amelia Levin

On 1 June, the Everyman Screen on the Green in Islington, London, will play host to a seminar spotlighting the impact of industry, technological and societal change on the F&B industry

This will be the second in Portland Design’s “Wake Up Call” seminar series, launched in 2015 to explore how brands and developers can future-proof their businesses.

This year’s seminar promises a wealth of insight into how traditional F&B businesses are witnessing a sea change as a cadre of new disruptors enter and mould the industry.

Fashion labels and publishing houses are overhauling traditional business models with own-brand eateries and markets. In addition, there will be a focus on the format revolution as shopping malls morph from standard shopping or fast-food dining destinations into experiential retail havens.

Portland Design has laid on a team of experts to take attendees through developments changing the F&B landscape. Charles Spence, experimental psychology professor at Oxford University and author of Gastrophyics – The New Science of Eating, will deliver the keynote speech; presentations will follow from Robert Colville, author of The Great Acceleration, Kaave Pour, creative director at IKEA and Tamira Snell, a senior adviser at the Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies. The event concludes with a panel discussion from some leading innovators in F&B.

Transformational potential

Guests can expect the ever-growing role of technology in F&B to be an overarching theme of the seminar. The transformational potential of technology, from shopping to social media and food blogging, has already heralded major change in F&B over recent years, and shows no signs of slowing down.

Terna Jibo, head of strategic insights at Portland, says: “there is a food revolution brewing and a new type of hyper-connected and health-conscious consumer is emerging”.

“With this seminar”, says Jibo, “we are looking at these trends that will shape the F&B sector and its impact on the wider consumer landscape for the future.”

The event is shaping up to be a morning well spent for foodservice professionals interested in the F&B industry’s future development. To purchase tickets and find out more, visit:


Thomas Lawrence

FCSI EAME’s 2017 conference in Vienna, Austria was as fun and varied as it was enlightening and educational, reports Michael Jones

The 230 consultants, manufacturers and operators who attended the FCSI EAME 2017 annual conference were able to take part in a comprehensive, and frequently interactive, educational programme as well as some entertaining networking sessions throughout.

Held at Vienna’s landmark Meliá hotel on 6-8 April 2, the conference was themed ‘Food and Hospitality in the future’ and the programme featured 17 speakers, from across Europe, China and the US, addressing core, technical topics for FCSI members, such as BIM and hospitality hygiene, as well as big picture strategy issues such as China’s current and future food trends and ‘Food in 2030’.

A comprehensive programme

“I am delighted to report the 2017 conference was a great success,” said Martin Rahmann FCSI, chair of FCSI EAME. “The educational programme was comprehensive and with a mixture of roundtable discussions, interactive workshops and speeches delivering real value to attendees.”

At the end of the event, Rahmann reserved “special thanks” for conference chair Serdar Sağlamtunç FCSI “for putting together a fantastic programme this week. I had so many positive comments about how good the show was,” he said. He also praised conference host Josef Merringer FCSI for doing “a wonderful job” as well as Sabine Wagner, who will leave her role as executive director for FCSI EAME later this month, for “her big contribution, not just for today but across many years of service. It a big heartache for me that tonight is the last day we will work together,” he said.

Achieving excellence

On Saturday 8 April at the Vienna Celebration Dinner, awards were bestowed to those in the industry who had, according to Rahmann, “achieved excellence” within the last year. The Hobart Flight Type dishwasher was the winner of the Manufacturer of the Year award, while the Excellence in Foodservice Design award was presented by brand new chair of FCSI EAME Remko van Der Graaff to Gerben van der Molen FCSI for his work on the Post-plaza project in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands. “I just have a small team in Rotterdam. To win this is such an honour. I am a little bit speechless,” said van der Molen.

Bjorn Grimm FCSI, owner of Grimm Consulting, won the Excellence in Management Advisory award for his mystery cooking consultancy concept. “After we founded mystery cooking I suffered an illness last year and the team really delivered. I’m very proud for them,” said Grimm.
The FCSI Council of Fellows, which was established in 1981 to recognise significant contributions to the industry and FCSI, honours inductees deserving of great recognition for their service. This year, Jean Pierre Grossi FFCSI, a member since 1993 and an EAME board member from 1993 was honoured at the dinner, with the creation of FCSI France in 1999 and FCSI Italy in 2000 cited by Rahmann as particular highlights of his longstanding contribution to FCSI.
Josef Merringer FFCSI was also inducted to the Council, with Rahmnan describing him as “a titan of the foodservice industry”. Ken Winch FFCSI took to the stage and spoke of his respect for both men. “I’m so proud and honoured to be serving with them today with this great honour,” he said.
From Left: Remko van Der Graaff FCSI, William Taunton FCSI, Jean Pierre Grossi FFCSI, Josef Merringer FFCSI, Ken Winch FFCSI, Martin Rahmann FCSI
New beginnings 
In accepting the role of FCSI EAME chair, van Der Graaff praised the contribution of his predecessor. “Martin you have been working very, very hard,” he said. calling for applause for  “the excellent job he has done”. He also thanked the new executive director of FCSI EAME, Elonique Dalhuisen, who has supported FCSI The Netherlands for many years. “I praise your excellence. She will do a great job,” he told attendees.
Van Der Graaff himself has spent six years on the FCSI EAME board and 24 years in the business. “I wanted to join the best consultancy organisation. That’s why I joined FCSI. That’s why I’m here today,” he said, encouraging members to sign up for the next FCSI EAME conference in Rotterdam in Spring 2018. Watch this space, or contact elonique@fcsi.eu for more details.
Michael Jones