Highlights from the 2006 Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo

A record breaking crowds, celebrity cooking demonstarations, and an expanded Show Floor --- thousands of industry professionals spent the day tasting, smelling, comparing and sourcing all the latest products and services required to run a successful foodservice business at the annual Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo in conjunction with the Los Angeles Wine & Food Festival which was held at the L.A. Convention Center this past weekend (August 26, 27 & 28).
Dozens of Celebrity Chef Demonstrations, Wine Tastings, Cigar Rolling Demonstrations, and Gourmet Food Samplings were at the Show floor. One of the hottest feature was “The Hot Spot” Culinary Extravaganza. It was standing room only at demonstrations by Iron Chef Cat Cora, Food Network’s Guy Fieri, Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim and Radio Host Mario Martinelli. Today’s event will host additional celebrity chefs including Thai Chef Tommy Tang, Gregg Wangard and Eric Osley.
Honored during the The California Restaurant Association’s Hall of Fame dinner, celebrating its 100 years of service to the restaurant and hospitality industry, were Susan Sbicca of Sbicca and Meritage Restaurant Bar & Grill as Chef of the Year and Bob Spivak, Grill Concepts as Restaurateur of the Year.
Another highlight at the event was the The 2nd Annual California Pizza Championships presented by ROMA, The NEW – Ultimate Barista Challenge™ hosted by Whole Cup Coffee Consulting, the Nation’s Restaurant News New Product Gallery, and much more.
Over 135 of the newest and most innovative products introduced into the marketplace including technology, equipment, environmental safety, condiment/ingredient, beverage, dessert and food. During the first two days of the Show 1,400 attendees cast their votes for their favorite new products that were on display. Here are the list of winners:
• The Best in Show Award was presented to Perfect Beverage LLC for their ELIXIR G, a top-shelf cocktail mix that adds a sweet heat to cocktails with its wild ginger flavor profile.
• The Best Technology Award was presented to Glory Team International for their 100% organic, biodegradable single-use tableware.
• The Best Equipment Award was presented to Scotsman Ice Systems for their cube ice machine, energy efficient and self-monitoring with external diagnostic lights to alert staff when it is time to perform vital performance procedures.
• The Best Environmental/Safety Award was presented to Excel Dryer for their new XLERATOR which dries hands 3 times faster (10 to 15 seconds) and uses 80 percent less energy.
• A tie in The Best Condiment/ Ingredient Category: Sonoma Syrup Co. for their Special Blend of the highest quality Madagascar Bourbon and Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract, Vanilla Bean ‘Crush’ and premium Vanilla Beans and to Torani/ R Torre and Co. for their Torani Pure Flavor, a revolutionary new line of fresh herb, spice and botanical flavors in unsweetened, liquor form.
• The Best Beverage Award was presented to Perfect Beverage LLC for their ELIXIR G, a top-shelf cocktail mix. Mix adds a sweet heat to cocktails with its wild ginger flavor profile.
• The Best Dessert Award was presented to Rebecca's Foods for their fancy scones made by hand in small batches.
• The Best Food Award was presented to Phillips Foods for their Chili Lime Slammers. An intensely-flavored combination of Phillips’ blue swimming crabmeat, four cheeses, cilantro, and spices, coated with a crispy lime flavored panko crust.
The Expo is produced and managed by Reed Exhibitions, and sponsored by the California Restaurant Association. For more information, please call 888-372-3976 or visit the website www.westernfoodexpo.com.

Photo below: State Compensation and Insurance Fund booth

Photo below: Bottling Labels company booth

Phot below: Food tasting with Chef Tommy Tang