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Hottest Culinary Trends Converge at National Restaurant Association's Annual Event

From Food Trucks to Gluten-Free Living, Attendees of NRA Show 2010 Get a First-Look at What’s Hot This Year

Scores of culinary product innovations will be showcased in Chicago beginning this weekend, offering first-hand opportunities to experience all the latest trends in the restaurant and hospitality world. The 2010 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show – May 22-25 at McCormick Place – is the largest industry event in the Western Hemisphere and allows attendees to interact with celebrity chefs, leading restaurateurs, trendsetters and top forecasters to explore what’s heating up menus today and what will be tomorrow’s hottest trends.

NRA Show 2010 is the number one venue for discovering both current and future culinary trends,’ said Ira Cohn, Convention Chair for NRA Show 2010 and President of ARAMARK Business and Industry Group. ‘Attendees will find the inspiration, know-how and products to enhance their menus and serve their guests new and exciting dishes. From the trendiest food and drinks to the most innovative kitchen equipment, the NRA Show 2010 exhibit floor will provide restaurant and other foodservice operators and chefs countless opportunities for culinary exploration.’

With more than 1,600 exhibitors showcasing products in 950+ categories, NRA Show 2010 enables restaurateurs and chefs to remain on the cutting edge when it comes to food and beverage trends. The wide focus includes concepts as varied as mobile foodservice, which is poised to take the nation by storm.

Food trucks roll onto the show floor

This year, the NRA Show has created an all-new area on the Show floor, The Food Truck Spot, where attendees will find everything they need to get on board the mobile food truck trend. Exhibitors include Co-Founder and President Ray Villaman of Mobi Munch, a manufacturer of high-concept food trucks, and celebrity chef Ludo Lefebvre of LudoBites Food Truck in Los Angeles.

The event will also feature two education sessions on the food truck trend: ‘Mobile Restaurants Get Rolling: Chefs Take it to the Streets’ (Monday, May 24 at 2 p.m.), where mobile food truck operators and chefs will discuss cooking ‘on the street’ and how restaurants can become part of the movement; and ‘Expanding Your Brand into Non-Traditional Locations’ (Sunday May 23, at 10 a.m.), led by a panel of development professionals who share their experiences transforming their brand concepts for non-traditional venues including airports, universities, office buildings and more.

NRA Show 2010 will showcase this year’s hottest culinary themes and ingredients, many of which were forecast by more than 1,800 American Culinary Federation member chefs for the National Restaurant Association’s What’s Hot in 2010 survey. According to the survey, the top trends on restaurant menus this year include items related to local sourcing, sustainability, nutrition and food allergies. Key education sessions on culinary currents include: ‘The ‘New’ Kids Meals: Kid Tested, Nutritionist Approved’ (Sunday, May 23 at 10 a.m); ‘Gluten Free: Easy as ABCDE’ (Sunday, May 23 at 10 a.m.); and ‘Local Making You Loco? How to Implement a Local Sourcing Strategy’ (Sunday, May 23 at 10 a.m.).

Gluten Free Showcase

Other highlights on the exhibit floor include the Gluten-Free Showcase Pavilion, the first of its kind, which was created to highlight the rapid evolution of the gluten-free industry; and the Organic & Natural Pavilion, which will showcase an expanse of innovative new options for certified organic and natural products.

In addition, expect to find a variety of culinary themes and ingredients throughout the exhibit floor, ranging from artisan and farm-branded products and non-traditional and sustainable seafood, to ancient and whole grains and traditional ethnic and ethnic-inspired items.

Held in conjunction with the NRA confab is the International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event (IWSB), which will highlight alcohol and food pairings and showcase beverage alcohol trends, including gluten-free beer, culinary and organic cocktails and artisan wine, beer and liquor.

For a full schedule of culinary events and attractions at NRA Show 2010, as well as the full schedule of education sessions held at the event, visit www.restaurant.org/show.

_The annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is the largest single gathering of restaurant, foodservice and lodging professionals. NRA Show 2010 will be held May 22-25 at McCormick Place in Chicago. The event attracts tens of thousands of attendees and visitors from all 50 states and 100+ countries, and showcases more products, services, innovative ideas and other growth opportunities than any other industry event. For more information, visit the Show Web site at www.restaurant.org/show