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Sysco to host three key events at the 2015 National Restaurant Association Show

SHAPE May 2015

Sysco Corporation will bring food to the fore at this year's National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show at McCormick Place in Chicago May 16-19, 2015.

In addition to being represented at its state-of-the-art, 3,500-square-foot booth, the Houston-based broadline distributor will play a central role in three high-profile activities at this year's giant trade show. Sysco will feature a nonstop demonstration kitchen at its booth throughout the four-day show, and sponsor and operate the popular interactive culinary Foodamental Studio. The company also will co-sponsor a luncheon with the National Restaurant Association honoring members of the U.S. military.

“This is the largest industry show, and we see it as a great way to connect with our customers,” says Rich Doggett, Sysco's vice president, field marketing. “It's a great way to educate and give back to the industry.”

Demo kitchen

Sysco's expanded demo kitchen will occupy a 20-foot-by-20-foot space within the company's booth No. 5607 in the North Hall of McCormick. “Every hour on the hour” Sysco’s chefs will present a different demonstration. Each demo is scheduled to run for about 45 minutes.

Sysco chefs will discuss and demonstrate dishes from a range of food categories including seafood, beef, pork, produce, Hispanic preparations, and specialty ingredients like cheese and sausages.  Our Chef’s culinary skills and ability to think on the fly will be tested as we will be hosting our Chef Challenge series at the top of every hour.  Sysco top Chefs will be taking mystery ingredients and turning them into profitable ideas that could go on almost any menu! So come on over to the Test Kitchen and see what is cooking!

The demo area will feature a portable kitchen outfitted with a griddle, fryers, induction burners, blenders and other pieces of equipment, all contained within a U-shaped bar that will offer seating for attendees. One Sysco chef will be participating in the Chef Challenge while another chef will add color commentary. Additional chefs are expected to be on hand to engage attendees in a Q&A format, and discuss the ingredients and cooking techniques being demonstrated. 

They also will be prepared to help answer questions from attendees about how to menu the preparations that are being demonstrated. “The chefs will recommend how to implement the preparation [on the menu] and even cross-utilize the ingredients,” says Jason Bechtold, director of field marketing. “It will create tremendous opportunities for dialog.”

Meanwhile, the demos will be broadcast in-house to video screens elsewhere in the Sysco booth, enabling visitors to observe what is going on in the culinary theater. Sysco representatives also will be on hand to talk to visitors about other topics, like purchasing, merchandising and equipment needs. “Everybody there deeply understands what goes into the making of a menu,” Bechtold says.

In addition, operators will have the opportunity to schedule off-site consultations with Sysco experts while visiting the booth.

Foodamental Studio

Sysco also will be putting food front and center at the Foodamental Studio, a highly interactive culinary workshop. This marks the first time Sysco has sponsored the event at the show. The sessions will provide chefs and restaurateurs with ways to implement new ideas as they seek to revitalize their menus. The 45-minute-long workshops will enable up to 50 attendees to participate in real hands-on culinary classes, where they will be able to roll up their sleeves and work with Sysco's chefs.

The four Foodamental sessions presented by Sysco are:

• The Dish On By-Catch Fish Saturday: May 16, 10:00am-10:45am with chefs Rob Allgood and Jim Gossen
A modern approaches to ceviche utilizing by-catch fish

• That’s Arepa: Saturday May 16 3:00pm – 4:00pm with chef Ben Udave
Fusing classic techniques with a modern tastes.

• The Vegetable Spectacle: Sunday May 17 10:00am-10:45am with chef Jason Russo
A trendy take on vegetables as center-of-the-plate.

• Knead To Know: Monday May 18 3:00-4:00 with corporate executive chef Neil Doherty and chef Jason Bechtold
 A practical approach to adding scratch-made breads to your menu.

In each session chefs will discuss and prepare several recipes while participants working at their individual stations will be able to reproduce what is being demonstrated on stage. Other Sysco chefs will be on hand to help guide attendees.

The Foodamental Studio will be located in the back of the South Hall at McCormick Place.

“Salute to the Troops” Luncheon

Sysco also has teamed up with the National Restaurant Association Military Foundation to sponsor the “Salute to the Troops” luncheon May 18 at 11:30 a.m. honoring members of the U.S. military. The lunch, which be held in the Grand Ballroom, will feature celebrity chef Robert Irvine, who served in the British Royal Navy, and actor/humanitarian Gary Sinise, who played Lt. Dan Taylor in the hit movie “Forrest Gump.” Sinise has long been involved in veteran causes, and in 2011 formally founded the Gary Sinise Foundation with its mission to serve and honor our nation’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need by creating and supporting unique programs that entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen and build communities. The pair have worked together and individually to help support the military, and will share inspiring stories from their careers at the lunch.

The food industry provides great opportunities for former military personnel, Tammy McElroy, Sysco’s senior director of marketing says, adding, “Sysco's customers — particularly independent restaurateurs — are all about community ... and most everyone who is in the industry knows someone who has served or is serving in the military. So what better way to show community pride than by employing military personnel? It's a win for everyone. [It] creates jobs for those who have served our country and provides a qualified workforce for our customers.”

The complimentary luncheon is restricted to those individuals who have received invitations or registered show attendees who are in the restaurant, travel or leisure industries. Suppliers and other exhibitors are ineligible to attend. Those interested in attending must reserve tickets in advance.


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