For years you’ve seen me report from the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show, the massive convention for restaurants and food service professionals. I always like to walk the massive convention floor looking for trends — and sampling all of the foods that vendors are passing around.
Each year I get asked by readers how they can attend the convention. Sadly, it’s open only to members and industry professionals.
But I can get you in this year.
On Saturday, Sept. 8, I’m hosting a Sous Chef Challenge called The Next Big Thing. I’ve invited some of the talented men and women who serve as second in command in some of our top kitchens to show us what they can do. I’ve asked them to create a dish that they think will be the next big thing, a food or ingredient trend we’ll all be nuts for next year.
And the folks at American Culinary Federation, which is sponsoring the event, have agreed to allow me to make some tickets available to my readers. The competition will take place on the convention floor, so not only will you be able to taste all the dishes the sous chefs prepare (and sip some of the beers and wines that are also being provided), you can also wander about the floor and see what is new in restaurant technology and food preparation. If you’re a restaurant nerd like me, you’ll feel like one of the kids in Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Without all the evil stuff.
You’ll also get to cast a vote for your favorite sous. And just to make things interesting, the winner as determined by the professional panel of judges will receive $1000.
Tickets are just $30 but I have a very limited number available. Follow this link to the Next Big Thing page for more information and to reserve your tickets.
The event will be Sat., Sept. 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Orange Country Convention Center.