The National Restaurant Association had it’s annual trade show at
in McCormick Place this month. Oooh what culinary fun! Chicago
Everyone who was anyone was hawking their wares at the show. There were dishes, ovens, sinks, gadgets, celebrity and non-celebrity chefs, new technology in meat thermometers, blenders, wine aerators and stoppers, cutting tools, cleaning supplies, uniforms, utensils, furniture and delivery options – it was all there. Over 2000 vendors on three exhibit floors. Whether you are a supplier or an end user, there was everything the food industry had to offer.
And food. Glorious food. Chefs were demonstrating techniques, food and beverage suppliers were offering both their new and their traditional offerings, cookware and oven manufacturers were demonstrating their products; all leading to loads of freshly cooked food for the sampling.
Makers of cookies, candy, spices, bbq sauce, you name it. From the big names to the new kids on the block everyone wanted you to try what they had to offer.
I tasted coconut water, plain and in various flavors. The pineapple was my personal favorite, but then I am partial to pineapple. Besides coconut water there was still water and sparkling water and aloe water (surprisingly good). I’m well aware of the medicinal properties of the aloe plant but I had no idea you could drink the stuff! And of course bottles of water you could get your own label on.
I tasted bacon in multiple forms – bacon sausage, bacon bowls, bacon and Schmacon! Schmacon looks like bacon, acts like bacon, even tastes like bacon, but is made with beef and not pork.
And the Bacon Bowl? Oooh. The imagination runs wild. Think beyond eggs – think hash browns, think pulled pork, think salad, even think chocolate. Oh yeah! The bacon bowl.
|A couple of chefs from Q - adding their delicious pulled pork to the bacon bowl!
I sampled candies and cookies and tried a brand of fiber bar I will actually eat. I try one every so often, thinking someday I might learn to like them and actually eat one. Well I finally found one that actually tastes good! Oskri. One bite and I went, Oh! Then another bite. It was good! I would have made a great commercial.
New gadgets were everywhere too. Wine stoppers and aerators, spatulas, and electronic menus. New technology is evident even in plastic tableware. Remember melamine? Already outlawed in
Europe, it’s soon to be defunct here in the
States as well. For good reason. You cannot microwave it as it emits formaldehyde
when heated. Not good!
One company is producing a new type of plastic tableware that you could conceivably use everyday for the kids and still use to set a fancy dinner party table on the weekend. Not just plain, solid colors, they can imprint the most fabulous, intricate patterns on them - they are microwavable, dishwasher safe, even OVENable, virtually unbreakable and - did I mention, oh so pretty!
|Bill Rychel of Sublimation Tecnologies and some of his tableware
You could design your own pattern, have your family crest imprinted – even a photograph! One piece or a set. And it’s great for restaurants to have their logo right on the dishes.
Another new gadget I love is the Hold-A-Plate. How impossible is it to be at a picnic or cocktail party with a drink in one hand and a plate in the other and actually eat anything off that plate? Well this little device hooks around your finger, so you can hold the plate AND the drink in the same hand and actually have a free hand for eating!
|John Zox of Holdaplate
Although I can’t say I made it through the entire show, I saw enough to boggle my mind. I can’t wait for some of these new products to hit the market and if money was no object I would definitely get one of these pizza ovens on my patio!
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