The Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA)’s premier foodservice event, the Louisiana Foodservice & Hospitality EXPO takes place August 5-7, 2017 at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center, Halls I-J, with an estimated 10,000 attendees. The EXPO is open to foodservice industry professionals from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. On Monday, August 7, the EXPO is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“The EXPO is a must for restaurant owners, managers, buyers, hotel food and beverage directors and many others. It’s the only place in Louisiana to gain valuable industry knowledge and save valuable time by shopping hundreds of companies under one roof,” said Stan Harris, President & CEO of the LRA.
This year’s EXPO, themed “The Main Ingredient,” is the largest, most comprehensive industry event in the Gulf South region. Companies will be featuring a wide range of industry-focused products and services. The EXPO will deliver an environment where exhibitors can promote their businesses and attendees can network. The EXPO welcomes more than 50 new exhibiting companies this year.
The Opening Ceremony, Saturday morning, August 5, at 10:45 a.m. in the Hall I foyer, will feature special guest, National Restaurant Association Chair Jeff Davis, and will kick off 64 years of bringing together restaurateurs and suppliers for the ultimate shopping and learning experience. During the ceremony, the LRA will also recognize its inaugural class of NEXTGEN award winners—leading young professionals in the restaurant and hospitality industry.
A well-received feature of the EXPO—the IDEA ZONE, where express presentations will be made all three days of the EXPO—will cover emerging trends, best business practices and professional development. Timely sessions of note include the Keynote Presentation by Ti Adelaide Martin of Commander’s Family of Restaurants: “Lessons Learned from my Mother—Hurricane Ella” on Saturday, August 5 at noon; “Is Your Restaurant Going to the Dogs?” by labor attorney Michelle Anderson of Fisher & Phillips on Saturday, August 5 at 2:15 p.m.; and “Secrets to Holding Your Management Team Accountable” by David Scott Peters, also known as “The Restaurant Expert,” on Sunday, August 6 at 3 p.m.
The 2017 EXPO will once again be the venue for the Gulf Coast Seafood Pavilion and the Great American Seafood Cook-Off (GASCO), both celebrating its 14th year and produced by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board (LSPMB). On August 5, 13 chefs from across the nation will compete, using domestic seafood from their home states, vying for the title of King or Queen of American Seafood.
In June, Chef Bonnie Breaux of The St. John Restaurant in St. Martinville was crowned Queen of Louisiana Seafood during the Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off. She will represent the state in GASCO. This year’s GASCO judges include former King of Louisiana Seafood Chef Brian Landry of Borgne Restaurant in New Orleans; Steve Green of #Foodiechats; Chef Brian West of Smoke: The Restaurant in San Antonio; chef, motivational speaker and Food Network personality Monti Carlo and Garden & Gun editor David Mezz.
“Having GASCO as part of the LRA’s EXPO demonstrates our industry’s commitment to promoting not only Gulf seafood, but all domestic seafood, as a center of the plate staple in Louisiana and beyond,” added Harris.
GASCO is open to the public and tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door. Opening ceremonies begin at 11:30 a.m. and closing ceremonies will be at 4:30 p.m.
PLEASE NOTE: While GASCO is open to the public, the Louisiana Foodservice & Hospitality EXPO is for foodservice industry professionals, at least 18 years of age, only. Security personnel will be onsite to monitor event barriers. Registered EXPO attendees will be allowed access to both events.
The Diamond Sponsor of the EXPO is Capital One Bank. Platinum Sponsors of the EXPO are: Heartland, LRA Education Foundation, LRA Self Insurer’s Fund for Workers’ Compensation, Pan American Life Insurance Group, Republic National Distributing Company, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits and UnitedHealthcare. Gold Sponsors of the EXPO are: Ecolab, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, Midlands Management Corporation and LouisianaHospitalityJobs.com. The Silver Sponsors of the EXPO are: Bourgeois Bennett, LLC, Fisher & Phillips LLP, Hailey McNamara, Hall, Larmann & Papale, LLP and Johnson, Yacoubian & Paysse.