More than 45,000 restaurant industry professionals are expected to attend the annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant Hotel-Motel Show and BAR 17 event later this month. The conference will take over several exhibit halls in Chicago’s McCormick Place, featuring education sessions, cooking demonstrations and a show floor with more than 2,000 exhibiting companies.
The Show will begin on Saturday, May 20 with education sessions starting at 10 a.m. and chef Rick Bayless kicking off the World Culinary Showcase with a cooking demonstration at 10:30 a.m. Other chefs presenting in the World Culinary Showcase throughout the four days of the show include Stephanie Izard, Jeffrey Mauro and Barton Seaver.
Seaver’s cooking demonstration highlighting environmentally-friendly seafood will be one of many sustainability-focused sessions at the Show. NRA sustainability experts Laura Abshire and Jeff Clark will lead a session on sustainable food sourcing and ways to minimize waste, and the BAR Expo will include a demonstration on kitchen scrap cocktails.
At last year’s Show, NRA switched things up by presenting a panel discussion called Signature ‘16 in lieu of a more traditional keynote speech. The format proved popular with attendees and will return this year. NRA President and CEO Dawn Sweeney will moderate a discussion with Amazon’s Dan Park and Gen Z/millennial expert Jason Dorsey during Signature ‘17: Ahead of the Crave on May 21. “Signature attendees will leave with bold ideas, key insights and real actions that they can take to their own businesses to benefit them and their customers,” NRA Show 2017 Convention Chair Atour Eyvazian said in a news release.
Also returning this year is the Bellavita Italian Pavilion. The co-located event on the show floor made its US debut at last year’s Show and is the largest Italian Food & Wine Expo outside of Italy.
In addition to the sessions and specialty pavilions included in the main show, attendees can also register for the beverage-focused BAR 17 Expo and three additional summits. BAR 17 will begin May 21 with a keynote speech from Bar Rescue host John Taffer and continue through the following day with mixology demos and the inaugural Bar Management Conference. The Non-Commerical Summit will offer education sessions geared toward the education and healthcare foodservice industries, while the Innovation of Fast-Casual and Pizza Summit and Foodservice @ Retail Summit will provide insights and networking opportunities for professionals in those fast-growing sectors.
Are you attending the show this year? What sessions, booths and bites are you most looking forward to? Tell us about it in the comments and make sure to check SmartBrief.com and subscribe to NRA Restaurant SmartBrief for more NRA Show coverage during and after the conference!
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