People often ask me what I do with my days during the National Restaurant Association show. Looking back at today, it was pretty typical. So, let me give you a rundown.
Started at our Chicago office around 8 a.m., where I checked the site and loaded a story from the night before.
Headed to the show to be there when it opened at 9:30 a.m. Stopped by the MenuMax booth to leave them more business cards and check on anything they might need, since we are partnering with them on the new FoodChannelPRO.comâ€”if you haven’t already, be sure to check out the Food Channel recipes that have been modified for restaurant operators to use.
Had a couple of hours to just wander the show, so started methodically through the South Hall, at booth 100. Talked with countless people who had new products and good ideas; after two hours I was still only at booth 2700.
Somehow I have to get to 10000 before the next two days slip away. (OK, facing it: there is no way to do it all).
Stood in line for â€˜lunchâ€™ at the Nathan’s Hot Dog booth, where I chuckled over their hot dog sliders and ate my half a hot dog plain (but still with relish).
Also tasted a breakfast burrito, a twisted potato stick, a really good espresso . . . and I lost track after that.
Interviewed some interesting chefs at the World Culinary Showcase, including Kristina Vanni (above), who was featuring recipes from Better Homes and Gardens. Watched as one chef and restaurant owner in particular, Chef Rob Levitt, butchered a pig and walked us through what he sees as the newest trends in pork (sirloin, coming up).
Talked with the winner of the Dawn Professional contest, and with Chef Spike Mendelsohn who is now going to mentor her (we’ll bring you the video interview soon). Interviewed some other fascinating chefs who have written cookbooks. Bought one to take home. After all, I’m a foodie, too.
Headed for the main ballroom for the keynote speech, with Charlie Rose. Watched as he interspersed video with commentary, and as he surprised the crowd by bringing Chef/Dr. Rick Bayless out to be interviewed. See my story about the speech for more details.
Managed a few more booths, and the tastings that go along, before heading to the Share Our Strength BBQ, sponsored by Food Arts Magazine.
Once I had a fork in hand, I just hung onto it, as delicious bites were served at table after table after table. While there, talked with chefs from Chicago to New York, and created a new list of restaurants to try and review for iRaves.com.
Tweeted my way through much of this, fighting poor Internet connections in the hall but managing to get my fair share out for #nrashow.
Then, it was a quick bite to eat at a Chicago favorite, The Gage, where a couple of us shared the house specialty of some melt-in-your-mouth mussels. Then, back to the office to download my thoughts and get tomorrow’s shooting schedule ready.
And, it’s only 10 p.m.
Welcome to the NRA.