Wednesday, July 31, 2013

La. Foodservice & Hospitality EXPO kicks off Saturday with "A Toast to Talent"

The Louisiana RestaurantAssociation (LRA)’s premier foodservice event, the Louisiana Foodservice & Hospitality EXPO, will turn 60 this weekend, August 3-5, 2013 at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center, Halls I-J, with an estimated 11,000 attendees. The EXPO is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. On Monday, the EXPO is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The EXPO, themed “A Toast to Talent,” is the largest, most comprehensive industry event in the Gulf South region and this year will be no exception. Companies will be exhibiting in more than 400 booths, featuring a wide range of industry products and services. The EXPO will feature an environment where attendees can network and promote their businesses.

The EXPO’s exhibit space has been sold out for nearly two weeks, with more than 80 new exhibiting companies.

2013 NRA Chair
Phil Hickey
The Opening Ceremony, Saturday morning at 10:45 a.m., will feature special guest, National Restaurant Association Chair Phil Hickey, and a “toast” to more than half a century of bringing together restaurateurs and suppliers for the ultimate shopping and educational experience.

A much-lauded feature of last year’s EXPO will return—the IDEA ZONE, where express presentations will be made all three days of the EXPO, will cover emerging trends, best business practices and professional development. Timely sessions of note include “Healthcare Reform: What You Need to Know and Do,” Saturday, August 3 at 1:45 p.m.; “Top 5 Things Restaurants Should Know About Gluten-Free Menus,” Sunday, August 4 at 11:30 a.m. and interactive fun during “Sparkling Wines- Not Just for Celebrations,” Sunday, August 4 at 3:45 p.m. and “Bayou Rum Revives Tradition of Louisiana Rum,” Monday, August 5 at 12:45 p.m.

“The EXPO is a must for restaurant owners, managers, buyers, hotel food and beverage directors and many others. It’s the only place in Louisiana to gain valuable industry knowledge and shop hundreds of companies under one roof,” said Stan Harris, president & CEO of the LRA.

The 2013 EXPO will once again be the venue for the Gulf Coast Seafood Pavilion and the Great American Seafood Cook-Off (GASCO), both celebrating its 10th year and hosted by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board (LSPMB) and sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). On August 3, 16 chefs from across the nation will compete, using domestic seafood from their home states.
The Great American Seafood Cookoff
celebrates 10 years, August 3 in conjuction
with the Louisiana Foodservice & Hospitality EXPO!
GASCO is sponsored by NOAA.
In May, Chef Cody Carroll of Hot Tails Restaurant in New Roads, with assistance from his wife, Chef Samantha Carroll, was crowned King Louisiana Seafood during the Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off. He won the right to represent the state in the national competition. This year’s emcees will be Cory Bahr, executive chef and winner of the 2011 Louisiana Seafood Cook Off; Martie Duncan, chef /“Food Network Star” finalist and “Martie Knows Parties;” and Ewell Smith, executive director of the LSPMB.

The GASCO is open to the public and tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $5 at the two New Orleans area Whole Foods locations—Veterans and Arabella Station—and Whole Foods Baton Rouge. Opening ceremonies begin at 11:30 a.m. and closing ceremonies will be at 4:30 p.m.

PLEASE NOTE: While the GASCO is open to the public, the Louisiana Foodservice & Hospitality EXPO is for foodservice industry professionals, at least 18 years of age, only. Security personnel will be onsite to monitor event barriers. Registered EXPO attendees will be allowed access to both events.

During the weekend of festivities, the LRA will honor business leaders for their contributions to the association and the restaurant industry at the LRA Education Foundation “Five Star Futures” Gala Saturday evening at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside. Drago and Klara Cvitanovich of Drago’s Seafood Restaurant will be inducted into the LRA Hall of Fame, Crescent Crown Distributing’s Nick Hazard will receive the Associate Member of the Year, Senator Neil Riser will be awarded the Advocate of the Year and Acme Oyster House’s Mike Rodrigue, Lucien Gunter and Paul Rotner will be named the Restaurateurs of the Year.

“We are thrilled to recognize the talent in our industry during EXPO weekend,” said Harris. “They represent the best part of our industry—philanthropy and community service.

Platinum Sponsors of the EXPO are: Capital One, Glazer’s Distributors, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, Heartland Payment Systems, Louisiana Cookin’ magazine (Hoffman Media), LRA Self Insurer’s Fund for Workers’ Compensation and Republic National Distributing Company. Gold Sponsors of the EXPO are: Generations Hall and Midlands Management Corporation and the Silver Sponsors of the EXPO are: Bourgeois, Bennett LLC; Fisher & Phillips LLP; Glusman, Broyles & Glusman; Hailey, McNamara, Hall, Larmann & Papale LLP and Johnson, Johnson, Barrios & Yacoubian.

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