First off, thanks go out to the California Restaurant Association, sponsor of the expo, for an amazing job bringing in so much restaurant talent to the Western Foodservice and Hospitality Expo 2015.
My fave discoveries are listed down below. But for those that only have a couple of minutes see our YouTube slide show and check out this award-winning news I received after the close of the show:
The Winners of the People’s Choice Awards for the Innovative New Product Gallery were announced today at the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo, being held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Thousands of attendees voted for their favorite products. The Overall Winner was Fresh Origins for their Unique Flower Buds are succulent, juicy and salty. The 1st Place Runner Up was Spindrift for their fresh squeezed seltzer cans – cucumber, lime and grapefruit; and The 2nd Place Runner Up was Menuvative for their Tablet Menus. The winner of the Best New Product in the Food Trends Experience was Yummy Baking for their Gourmet Dessert Cups and Bites. In addition, Annie Doung, Strategic Buyer, Panda Restaurant Group, Rosemead, CA, won a $500 shopping spree on the show floor.
There was a lot to learn from all of the classes offered at the show. I attended: The Women’s Entrepreneur’s Circle; BYOB – Build Your Own OUTstanding Business – The Secret Sauce for Making your Business Stand OUT; LEADERChoice – The Four Essential Ingredients of Successful Leaders; What’s Hot and What’s Not in Social Media and an awesome round up of some of the latest food trends in a brief meeting called Pitch the Press that I think readers would be most interested in.
Pitch the Press
Borges USA – Caters to the Mediterranean lifestyle with Star olive oil from Southern Spain and salad dressings.
Fresh Origins – Their unique eatable flowers are newly enhanced with their latest product, Flower Buds, that have visible water crystals giving the flower both a juicy and salty flavor. Perfect for fine-dining chefs and plate presentation.
Heineken USA – Introduced a new “BrewLock Draught Beer System” that has 100% yield and reduces foam problems.
HotSchedules – A mobile app for employees to check their schedules; works for restaurants, retail and hospitality industries. This management program promises to be 75% faster than any existing programs.
Karoun Dairies – Mediterranean cheese, dairy products, yogurt, yogurt spread, yogurt drinks with probiotics and more.
Leafware – Really cool looking trays made from all natural fallen palm leaves for one-time use that can be branded with your logo.
O Olive Oil – Fruit cut cold pressed 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil and vinegars, located in the heart of wine country between Napa and Sonoma.
OtaJay Japanese – Komachi sauces found at Benihana restaurants.
SociaReach – This “organic social marketing program” is available for the customer to post on Facebook while dining, and then pushed through Yelp if favorable review. A tablet is provided in the restaurant for instant check ins and likes. Customer gets an emailed thank you afterwards.
Superior Farms – An American-based company now specializing in lamb bacon for use in salads and sandwiches. Available nationwide. (We tried it, not as greasy, a bit gamey, 100% tasty.)
Tap it Brewing – Located in San Luis Obispo, Tap it Brewing has its own hop farm and makes up to 3 batches per year. Their current big seller is called Snafu.
TossWare – Crystal clear upscale disposable and recyclable plastic drink ware priced between .60 and $1.25 each. The rep said that their glasses have a better “mouthfeel” than their competitors.
Uppercrust – From Toronto, Canada we got KILLER Nutella products; we know because we tried them. A beignet filled with Nutella was one, as well as Nutella filled vanilla and chocolate cookies. At press time we have a tray of Nutella brownies just itching to be sampled.
Vessi – A charging station that comes with remote hand-held units that have various cords for different smart phones. A patron exchanges an ID card for its use. Avoids guests searching for outlets, overuse of outlets, guests sitting on floors near outlets…very cool.
WorkPop – A website-based hiring platform company, based in Santa Monica, that is free for restaurant owners to post their available jobs.
Wunder Bar – From bar guns to pizza sauce dispensers, Wunder Bar dispenses multiple pre-measured pours from one spot.
Samosa King – An add-in to our press event, the owner of this company shared her love of cooking samosas as a child. She uses all hand ground spices and “nothing from the market.”
The Food Trends Experience is a tasting adventure providing direct access to product, flavors and ingredients driving the most recent trends in the market – healthy, organic, sustainable, ethnic, artisanal, and more! Presented within the Show, the Food Trends Experience is your fastest and most convenient way to see, taste, discover and learn about the culinary innovations that will inspire creative and fresh menu ideas, delight customers and drive profits.
A few of the companies participating in the Food Trends Experience (The ones I was able to check out or try a sample are in bold below)
A.I. Foods Corporation
Amay’s Bakery & Noodle Co., Inc.
Edibles by Jack
Kraft Lifeway Foods Inc.
Neostar USA LLC
O Olive Oil
San Diego Pretzel Company
Sparrow Lane Artisan Vinegar & Oil
Tasted and loved (Besides those I’ve already mentioned.)
Agstandard Smoked Almonds, Primitive Feast (samoosas), Coconut Bliss (extra creamy coconut ice cream), LA Baking Co., Savour Kitchen spice blends, Kradjian Importing Co. (flavorful olives and dolmas), Yanni Grilling Cheese, Prince Waffles authentic Belgian cuisine, French Confection Bakery, Lilly’s Hummus, Demitri’s Bloody Mary Seasoning, Honey Smoked Fish Company (great salmon and fun video), Taisetsu sake, Glossop’s Premium Bar Syrups (interesting flavors like Lemon Lavender and Smoked Sugar),Torani (look for NEW syrups for blended coffees, etc.), Imurya’s Mochi Coconut Cream Frozen Dessert (especially the Salted Caramel and Yuzu Citrus), Fresh Origins (herb, fruit and flower crystals to put on the rim of a cocktail or over a dessert, and beautiful edible flowers including the new salty and sweet Flower Bud), Fresh Noodle (a wide array of “custom” ramen), Popkoff’s Dumplings, Bridgford (beautiful bread cones for food displays), Fosselman’s Ice Cream, LA International Wines (we sampled a few nice blends from Baja, CA) and KomBucha Dog beer brewed from teas adorned with labels with rescue dogs.
Although I didn’t do a lot of beer-imbibing, a partial list of 2015 participating brewers, brought to you by the California Craft Brewers Association, included:
Trumer Pils Brewery
Tap It Brewing Company
The Dudes Brewing Company
Mad River Brewing Company
Dust Bowl Brewing Company
Three Weavers Brewing Company
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com