2019 is the 100 year anniversary of the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show. Record attendance with more than 65,500 exhibitors, restaurant operators, retail foodservice professionals, equipment dealers, food distributors and many others. This massive show takes over three halls at McCormick Place in Chicago. Given the demand, in 2020, their will be a fourth exhibit hall!
Chicago’s own, Eli’s Cheesecake, created a 1,200 pound cheesecake that was cut during the opening ceremony. Chef Rick Bayless and LT. Governor, Juliana Stratton were present.
As I walked the show, my goal was to find new products, cooking tips, tabletop ideas and overall trends. After 16,000 steps a day, I have rounded up the following 17 discoveries to share with you.
I spent some time with the Vitamix culinary team. Using their aeration carafe, we had iced coffee lattes with a touch of peanut butter froth easily done with just a whir of this high powered blender. Think of whipped cream, sauces, desserts, eggs and other recipes where light and airy is the goal.
There are far more than smoothies to be made in these multi functional appliances. We made a Honey Chamomile Panna Cotta with brittle. From chopping the nuts to blending the ingredients for the panna cotta, much of this dish was prepared in the Vitamix.
Flatware is shown in different metals giving the table alternative designs.
The use of honey and honeycomb in particular was shown in different applications at Savannah Bee Company.
Trident Seafood introduces Protein Noodles made out of fish. And it’s delicious! Two different recipes were offered at the show.
From Hawaii, we tried Olakai Sea Asparagus. Crunchy, “green” in flavor and tastes of the sea makes for a good salad.
Morningstar Farms new vegetarian chorizo in collaboration with Chef Paul Kahan of Chicago’s Big Star Restaurant.
Everything chips from Matzo Chips are light, crunchy and flavorful. Eat alone or with your favorite toppings.
Dragonfruit was present in different recipes. This is from PitayaPlus.
Chobani has three new varieties:
Single serve pancakes from Aunt Jemima.
Technology is everywhere
From the bar, Drink Ripples customizes drinks with chosen designs, messages and logos.
Bear Robotics uses technology and AI in restaurants. Does personal service matter when you dine in restaurants?
Middleby has automated the process of putting the prepared pizza (and sandwiches) in to the oven. Efficient. They sell appliances through the restaurant/commercial and residential space.
To see how things have advanced in the food service industry, take a look at the finds from the 2016 National Restaurant Show from just three years ago.
Ending my 2019 National Restaurant Show summary with a photo of my meeting with legendary Chef, Thomas Keller, of The French Laundry.