New England Food Show is harbinger of Spring

BOSTON – Snow, sleet or rain, the New England Food Show, taking place this year March 15-17 at BCEC in the Seaport, is a sure sign of Spring, offering foodservice operators a look at new products and services together with a lineup of events, keynote speeches, exhibits, and more. Over 14,000 foodservice industry professionals are expected to attend this year’s NEFS. Program highlights for this year’s show, which features over 500 booths showcasing the latest industry trends, equipment, products and more, include:

· Keynote speeches by hospitality industry training expert and author Jim Sullivan (March 15) and Boston auto industry leader Herb Chambers (March 16)
· A mixology competition featuring top bartenders from Trina’s Starlite Lounge, Eastern Standard, Audubon, and Brick & Mortar (March 15)
· An Iron Chef-style competition between Executive Sous Chef David Ladner of Rialto, Chef and Owner Jason Bond of Bondir Cambridge and Bondir Concord, and Chief Culinary Officer Bill Brodsky of Boston Nightlife Ventures (March 16)
The Show kicks off with hospitality industry training expert and best-selling author Jim Sullivan who will offer industry insights during the show’s inaugural keynote speech, titled “Fundamentals 2015: Nine Ways to Be Brilliant at the New Basics of Leadership & Profitability.” At 2:30 p.m., Yelp Boston Community Manager and Marketing Director Damien Smith gives a keynote presentation on the fundamentals of user review sites.

NEFS’s first day will wrap up at 3:45 p.m. with a Mixology Competition featuring four of Boston’s best bartenders—Naomi Levy (Eastern Standard), Tainah Soares (Trina’s Starlite Lounge), Tyler Wang (Audubon), and Matthew Schrage (Brick & Mortar). Using craft spirits donated by MS Walker and a secret ingredient of their choosing, these master mixologists will go head-to-head to create three rounds of original cocktails. Three local media experts will taste and critique their creations to decide who takes home the $500 first prize.

On Monday, March 16 at 1 p.m., keynote speaker Herb Chambers, president and CEO of The Herb Chambers Companies, will present “Copier Repairman – Hard Work, Passion, Integrity and Great Customer Service Can Take You Anywhere.” During his speech, he will share the story of his career and how a focus on customer service can help drive prosperity in all industries, including foodservice.

Also on Monday is the second annual New England Food Show Greater Boston Culinary Cook-Off, featuring three top local chefs using produce donated by Costa Produce. At 3:15 p.m., Boston chefs David Ladner (Executive Sous Chef, Rialto), Jason Bond (Chef and Owner, Bondir Cambridge and Bondir Concord), and Bill Brodsky (Chief Culinary Officer, Boston Nightlife Ventures), will prepare three dishes highlighting a mystery ingredient revealed onstage. After an intense hour of slicing, dicing, searing, and plating, the final dishes will be judged by a panel of Boston food media.

On Monday night at 6 p.m., Massachusetts dining and foodservice professionals will gather to celebrate the industry’s standout leaders at the MRA Annual Awards Dinner, taking place at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel (606 Congress St., Boston). This year’s honorees are Business Partner of the Year Ed Doyle (Real Food Consulting), Business Partner Associate of the Year Karen Coleman (ARF Financial), Executive Chef of the Year Nick Calias (The Colonnade Hotel), Limited Service Restaurateur of the Year Brian McCarthy (Kelly’s Roast Beef), and Restaurateur of the Year Chris Coombs (Boston Urban Hospitality). To register to attend or learn more, please visit the Awards Dinner event page.

On Tuesday, March 17 at noon, attendees are invited to a St. Patrick’s Day Celebration featuring Irish music, coffee creations, and more sponsored by New England Coffee Company.

NEFS 2015 offers educational seminars and culinary demonstrations on Sunday, March 15 and Monday, March 16 from 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and on Tuesday, March 17 from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Top chefs representing every New England state including Chef Billy Grant of Restaurant Bricco, Grants, and Bricco Tattoria (CT); Chef and Owner Andy Husbands of Tremont 647 and Sister Sorel (Boston, MA); Chef Shannon Bard of Zapoteca (Portland, ME); Chef and Owner Nick Rabar of Avenue N American Kitchen (Rumford, RI); and Chef and Owner Kevin Halligan of Local Eatery (Laconia, NH) will cook up signature dishes on the SnapChef Center Stage each day. At the MRA Info Theater, experts will offer educational sessions covering many aspects of foodservice operations, from craft wine and beer, service fundamentals, and finances, to social media.

The New England Food Show exhibit hall at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (415 Summer St., Boston) will be open to ticketholders on Sunday, March 15 and Monday, March 16 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and on Tuesday, March 17 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. All keynote sessions and competitions will take place on the SnapChef Center Stage.
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