It’s Day Two of the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show, and our crews spent some time at the exhibition hall and associated networking receptions. Here’s what we came away with today as our Top Ten Finds:
1. Kitchen Innovations – We were impressed with the interviews we did in here – great companies with new ideas. This deserves special mention because we want all NRA attendees to take the time to check this area out. It’s at the back of the hall and is worth the trek. This is where to find the award winners in innovation for kitchen equipment on the Show Floor. To find the full list on our site, click here.
2. Food Arts BBQ – This is where some of Chicago’s top chefs joined forces to support a worthy cause, Share Our Strength. It was a spectacular outdoor BBQ that is, reportedly, the most crashed event during the show. Watch for our exclusive interview from the garden with Chef Rick Gresh and proprietor David Burke of Primehouse at The James.
3. Restaurants and Institutions Holds its Ivy Awards – Spectacular venue at the Field Museum (you, too, could have eaten with the woolly mammoths hovering over your shoulder). Great to see Thomas Keller’s creation, Buchon, honored, as well as Chef Daniel Boulud for his Cafe Boulud.
4. Culinary Institute of America – More than 20 chefs working in the kitchen at the Field Museum. We got behind the scenes to watch them put the finishing touches on dinner – the seventh year they’ve prepared the food for the Ivy Awards. This was an awe-inspiring moment, just thinking of the training that has gone into preparing these chefs to prepare the beautiful creations we saw.
5. New Zealand Food and Wine/Australian Food and Wine – Who would have thought that our Chef Dennis, a top CIA graduate, would spend his evening interviewing the Ambassador from New Zealand and be able to compare notes on food and wines? Or, interview the Trade Commissioner-Consul from the Australian Government, and do the same? We’ll bring you those interviews and give you a chance to see what we saw. For example, did you know that Australia is one of the largest international patent holders in the U.S. due to their innovation and ingenuity? In the meantime, feast your eyes on this Australian fish and just know that cool and unusual things lie ahead.
6. Nuvo Sparkling Liqueur – It’s pink, comes in a bottle that resembles perfume, and is citrus-y and bubbly. Naturally, this new liqueur is a hit with the ladies, yet Nuvo â€“ a carbonated blend of vodka, sparkling wine, chardonnay, pinot noir and other flavors â€“ is also popular in the Hip Hop community. The Nuvo representatives tell us it is great mixed with Cognac.
7. Wine Pairings – This was wine pairings with global cuisines. It presented solutions to the challenges that restaurateurs face when pairing wines with cuisines that do not have a wine-making tradition in their country of origin. In other words, wine pairings are easy in France . . . not so easy in Vietnam.
8. The Spork from Bambu – It’s probably not an official name, but it is officially cool. Imagine the versatility of this little utensil that is half spoon, half fork, and made from bamboo to boot.
9. The Fascination of Korea – New things on the menu from this country that took us by surprise for their flavors and freshness. Expect more from this part of the world.
10. Shock Top – A Michelob Brewing Company product that is a Belgian style wheat ale brewed with spices and citrus. It’s been their most successful launch of a handcrafted beer – different enough to point it out amid all the clutter of brews.