Kiana Caban, Communications Assistant
On May 21st, the FSTC team hit the road to Chicago, IL for the NRA Show 2016. Everyone on the team had different tasks they were trying to accomplish on this trip, from project meetings with manufacturers and attending various educational sessions to launching our Twitter account and our new online training program, Fe3 (!). It being my first time at the NRA Show, my goal was to build up our social media presence and attend several educational sessions.
On day one of the show we walked the floor to get the lay of the land. The first stop was the Frymaster booth where Frymaster received the Blue Flame Award for their Frymaster Integrated Oil Quality Sensor (OQS), a built-in system that monitors oil health and indicates when frying oil needs replacement.
The next stop was the Kitchens Innovations Award booths where the FSTC’s David Zabrowski and Richard Young visited this year’s winners such as Vulcan’s Low Water Energy Steamers, Blodgett’s “Hoodini” Ventless Mini Combi Oven, and Champion’s Ventless Heat Recovery Dish Machine amongst many others.
We also stopped by the Rational booth with their impressive “pop-up” restaurant where Richard Young and I got to meet Chef Thomas Keller and ask him a few questions about sustainability.
Richard then participated in a story telling session, “Expert Advice Along the Path to Sustainability” alongside Chef/Owner/Author, Rick Bayless; Director of Sustainability and Public Outreach in the Americas of Asia Pulp and Paper, Ian Lifshitz; and President and CEO of LeanPath, Inc., Andrew Shakman.
They discussed the tried-and-true tips for beginning a journey toward sustainability. The following were the expert’s four key takeaways:
Rick Bayless: “Invest in staff because running a restaurant consciously takes teamwork. Once everyone understands the greater importance of those efforts, they’re much more willing to make the extra effort.”
Ian Lifshitz: “Take a holistic view of sustainability: from lighting, packaging, and napkins to water consumption and transportation practices, among other factors, to enhance and strengthen your sustainability success.”
Richard Young: “Energy (for cooking, refrigeration, cooling, etc.) is just another ingredient in your menu! Use it effectively and reap the cost savings! Start by swapping out a few old school energy-guzzling light bulbs for high-quality LEDS – it is easy to do and will save you money.”
Andrew Shakman: “Changing behavior at scale is an uphill battle…that we can win. Perseverance is the key ingredient.”
On day two, the FSTC’s David Zabrowski participated in the panel discussion “The Future of Restaurant Design” with moderator Joe Carbonara, editor of FE&S Magazine, and panelists Karen Malody, owner and principal of Culinary Options, and Marc Jacobs, partner and executive VP of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises. The discussion explored how evolving customer expectations are changing the way restaurants are designed, outfitted, and operated. The one trend that each panelist expressed is that kitchens are becoming more and more flexible in smaller spaces.
The FSTC team had a very successful NRA show this year and looks forward to another year of innovation and collaboration with the food service industry!
Check out our Facebook page to see more pictures from the NRA show: https://www.facebook.com/fishnick.fstc/