Where Food and Heaven Meet
Living well means tasting all that life has to offer. Taking that literally, we decided to visit the National Restaurant Association Show, an international foodservice marketplace that let's us take a peek into what's cooking in restaurants and professional kitchens all around the world. This year's event boasted more than 1900 exhibitors and over 50,000 industry attendees. To say we had died and gone to heaven wouldn't be all that much hyperbole. From headline speaker Bill Clinton, to everyday culinary wizards, the show was a feast for the eyes as well as for the stomach. This is one show where the most enjoyable SWAG (stuff we always get) usually comes in a cup, a spoon or a napkin.
We saw some trends and innovations that are worth noting. While you'll not be surprised that there was a lot of care and attention given to making eco-friendly packaging, such as compostible products, you may be surprised that it's gone even further. Edibles by Jack showed us utensils that are consumable - edible spoons that can be used to hold tasty treats. Now caterers, such as the inventor, can serve flavorful bits in bits of flavor!
Another fun item you might be seeing in an establishment near you soon is the sidekick shot glass. This little dandy allows the infusion of anything - herbs, fruits, candy, even dry ice - into a shot. The ingenius little shot glass has a removeable bottom into which the condiment can be placed. Add your shot, and start the fun!
Lots of color dazzled the floor. Our friends at Crumble-Ons showed off their new rainbow-colored marshmallow pops flavor. Edible flowers made a gorgeous display and the most ginormormous angus burger we've ever seen stood proudly by the WW Johnson Meat Co.
Speakers were also in abundance, including Bill Clinton headlining about the healthful-dining initiatives of the industry, with Top Chef celebs such as Spike Mendelsohn, Stefan Richter, Fabio Viviani, Richard Blais and Mike Isabella signing books, doing demos and chatting at the world culinary showcase. Also there was one of our favorites, Chicago's awesome Sarah Kosikowski, executive pastry Chef at Sixteen in the Trump International Hotel.
Humor had its place as well. Idaho spud guy standee, an ice sculpture with shredded cash in it, and a poster telling us how to dress an authentic Chicago-style hot dog made us smile between bites.
From the pizza and pretzel rolls to Iberico jamon directly from Spain to beautiful desserts of every shape and size, we ate and laughed and discovered our way through this mecca of food industry delight.
And, as the world inside the show was certainly not hungry, the compassion of the industry shined through. A Meals on Wheels sign on the side of the spud truck reminded us that no one should go hungry, including senior citizens. It's a big world out there - and someone's got to feed it! Help where you can in doing good and giving back.