One of the things I certainly know about Food Service and Food Production is that most consumer assumptions are false. In any restaurant, there is no certainty that your food preparation occurred entirely by human hands or that the ingredients are pure unless you know the purveyor and have verification from their lips. This is but one of the reasons I befriend restaurateurs whenever I can.
This past week I had the opportunity to attend the Food Expo in San Diego with one food manufacturer and two chefs. We created quite a unique team when we first congregated at the door, each with their own agenda of what the important stops should be.
Being an independent and rebellious individual puts me in good stead in these situations so I took off by myself for a couple of hours and found some noteworthy items.
If you’ve read anything I written before now, then you know I’m committed to real food. You also know I have a penchant for fresh food like sushi and I believe in wasting nothing if it’s humanly possible to do so.
That means if you don’t like offal, you should have and keep a friend who does or at least maintain a compost pile. On the other hand, quite hypocritically perhaps, I do endorse several prepared products if they meet stringent quality controls. Therefore, I did and do taste and use several items that save time and effort as long as they don’t cost the consumer more than homemade fare.
So here we go to the Food Expo, which included Expo Comida Latina (also including an area of the show floor dedicated to Asian foods and flavors – All Asia Food), which rates among my favorites with over 300 booths of food, ingredients and services!
In addition to the Food Service portion, I enjoyed the “entertainment” aspect that included chef demos and contests for baristas. Here are some of those shots:
Chef Plating contests intrigue me:
Although the task before us concerned restaurant fare, my interests were personal so we did view some wonderful displays of Food Service items and Dining Service ware:
The chefs and I managed to lose our Food Manufacturing friend for a good hour or so and we cut loose to enjoy the edible food art arena:
Of course, one of my favorite arenas displayed cake artistry:
Next in line, the Asian area, captured my fascination as an avid sushi enthusiast (see my article…). These machines are designed to replace up to 3 sushi chefs. If they are as good as hand rolled, I’ll give up my rolling mat.
The real food items, however, knocked the air out of me. The Waygu beef melts on the tongue as the wasabi gives it a punch that you’ll remember as a supreme culinary moment. Notice that’s a real wasabi horseradish, not the green colored goo that comes out of a tube!
Near the end of our tour of the floor, we stumbled across the “Hot Spot” where live cooking demonstrations by notable chefs occur. The two chefs in my company couldn’t stop laughing and jostling me so my shots were blurred beyond recognition, but this is Brian Malarkey of Top Chef fame making a simple guacamole and some other dish that I didn’t catch the name of due to the raucous laughter from my companions. I guess they don’t take celebrity seriously. They claim you have to prove yourself in the kitchen and not television to be a serious cook. I tend to concur.
We ended our experience in the Comida Latina arena where I imbibed a variety of mescals and tequilas accompanied by salsa, guacamole, asadas, moles, carnitas and an excellent and pleasing variety of other delectable foods. I will certainly seek out the Tequila Reposed, Anejo and Crema Mescal that I tasted. Exquisite!
If ever you are offered an opportunity to enjoy a trade show based upon food, don’t think about it, just go!