2018 National Restaurant Association Show Recap

We had an incredible time at the 99th annual National Restaurant Association Show, which was held in Chicago’s McCormick Place last month. Famous for being the largest convention center in North America, the 2018 NRA Show was the biggest yet. With more than 66,000 foodservice professionals representing over 110 countries on the show floor, it’s arguably one of the most important food events in the world.

Alto-Shaam was proud to have a booth at the show, with live cooking demonstrations running throughout the weekend. Our chefs were cooking daily in our full line of foodservice equipment including Vector® Multi-Cook Ovens, Cook & Hold Ovens, and Combitherm® combi ovens.  

The Show

Spanning more than 715,000 square feet, this year’s NRA Show offered a tremendous opportunity for foodservice professionals to connect with each other. There was plenty of culinary inspiration on the show floor, with 24 international pavilions from countries like Greece, Thailand, and Japan.

94 of the top 100 global restaurant brands attended the 2018 show, finding new avenues for their products and spreading the word. Show highlights included the World Culinary Showcase, Foodamental Studio’s hands-on workshops, a Kitchen Innovations Pavilion, and SuperSession: The Future of Restaurants, an inspiring panel discussion about technology and automation. Truly, there was something for everyone to enjoy.

The Guests

We were pleased to invite our friend Charlie the Butcher to cook his famous “Beef on Weck” sandwiches at the NRA Show. His delicious demos are always a hit with attendees. Three decades ago, Charlie befriended Alto-Shaam founder Jerry Maahs at a foodservice trade show, where he saw a Cook & Hold Oven demonstration for the first time. Today, Charlie the Butcher’s Kitchen relies on Cook & Hold Ovens to cook its iconic roast beef overnight, until it’s remarkably tender for service the next day.

We also had Chef Peter Sandroni of La Merenda stop by on Monday to be our guest chef. He served guests a delicious meal using a clay pot cooking method and our compact but powerful CT Express™ combi oven.

The Products

Throughout the show, our chefs hosted a number of live demonstrations, so that attendees could see equipment in action and taste the difference for themselves. At our Vector Multi-Cook Oven Station, Tim Murphy produced tasty appetizers and entrees throughout the day, utilizing all four oven chambers and cooking 12 different dishes in less than 17 minutes during his demos.

Meanwhile, Chef Simon and Chef Joe manned our Combi Oven Station, showcasing the Combitherm’s versatile cooking options to create a complex and flavorful menu.

Chef Nic and Chef Alejandro were at the Advanced Cook & Hold Station, sharing advice about how to expand menus, and preparing international dishes like Greek octopus stifado and cochinita pibil.

Chef Kristina and Chef Andrew made waves in the Small Space Solutions Station, teaching attendees how to maximize a cluttered kitchen with space-saving equipment such as Vector Multi-Cook Ovens.

Finally, Chef Robert manned the C-Store Solutions Station, showcasing ready-made sandwiches on a countertop heated shelf merchandiser and dishes that cater to C-Store and fast food outlets.

Check out his live demonstration:

At Alto-Shaam, we offer innovative solutions for today’s foodservice industry – whether you’re running a small business or a Michelin-starred kitchen.

Didn’t make it to the National Restaurant Association Show? Sign up for A Taste of Alto-Shaam demo in your area to see our equipment in action.

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