The Restaurant Show 2019: A celebration of the hospitality industry

Known as the ultimate diary date for hospitality professionals, The Restaurant Show 2019 - featuring Bar & Pub and the Catering Equipment Expo - did not disappoint. Over the show’s three days deals were done, audiences crowded round the live stages to hear from exciting speakers and top chefs gave it their all in the competition theatre. There was plenty to taste and sample among the aisles as well as the latest technology and efficient equipment to try out too.

Visitors were impressed

The aisles were busy with show visitors sourcing suppliers and making new connections. Representatives from hospitality businesses of all sizes flocked to the show, here’s what Dean Humphrey, UK Operations Manager, Starbucks had to say: “It is really important for any business to stay agile, always look to innovate, find new products and new ways of working and what better place to do it. There’s lots of great new systems as well. I’ve met some really interesting contacts. Pocket full of business cards, so it’s been a great event.”

The Restaurant Show was attended by several high profile chefs too, who found the time amongst their judging duties to explore the aisles and catch up with industry colleagues as Clare Smyth, Chef Patron, Core by Clare Smyth told show organisers: “Coming to The Restaurant Show is just brilliant because you pick up lots of things that are new, that are different. Pieces of kit, ingredients and also meet a lot of people that you know here.”

Successful showcase for exhibitors

It wasn’t just visitors who came away from the show smiling, several of the show’s 300+ exhibitors were thrilled to introduce their products and services to so many interested attendees. Adrian Hodgson, Co-founder, Real Kombucha commented on his time at the show: “The team at Real Kombucha have loved being at The Restaurant Show. It has been great showcasing what we do at REAL – to give people a sophisticated non-alcoholic option. For us it is important to meet the key influencers in the trade, to in turn change their drink offering. In the past few days we have met future and current customers.”

This year also saw a number of brand new exhibitors take a stand for the first time. Here’s what first-time exhibitor Dan Lu, Sales Exhibition Organiser at Tazaki Foods had to say: “It has given us a chance to introduce our products and next year we can bring even more! We got to teach people about Japanese food and how they can introduce it into their menus.  It was such a nice show to come to for the first time.”

Exciting live sessions drew a crowd

Over at The Stage, audiences crowded round to hear the latest market insights from MCA as well as listen to what key industry players such as itsu and Starbucks had to say on topics such as staff engagement and technology. It’s fair to say a diverse range of topics were covered, including marketing, interiors, plant-based foods, workplace wellbeing, West African cuisine, the possibilities for voice tech and even including insects on your menu.

The Liquid Hub, as the name suggests, was home to all things drinks-related and regularly drew a crowd to its inspired tastings and masterclasses. The low and no-alcohol trend was well and truly tackled with a Sober Suds session sampling the best beers in this market. Plus, there were well-attended cocktail sessions from the team behind revolutionary alcohol-free venue, Redemption Bar. TV’s Joe Wadsack’s spirit tasting sessions were a hit, as were the lively talks from The Wine Tipster, Nigel Phillips. Over the three days, Liquid Hub visitors enjoyed sampling everything from Japanese Sake to English Whisky, spelt vodka and vegan, natural and organic wines.

The best chefs put to the test

Every year The Restaurant Show plays host to some of the most prestigious culinary competitions in the industry and this year was no different. Kicking things off in the competition theatre on Monday 30th September was the UK final of the Bocuse d’Or, the world’s largest chef contest. This three hour 45 minutes contest required chefs to prepare a vegetable terrine and a poultry dish using Cotswold White Chicken with six portions of each served to the judges. The results were revealed at the show’s main stage, were Ian Musgrave from The Ritz London was announced as the next candidate to represent the UK in the Bocuse d’Or.

Also taking place on Monday was the Kikkoman Masters, where Stefan Sewell beat stiff competition to win the 2019 title. The heat was well and truly turned up in the kitchen on Tuesday as talented chefs battled it out to become the new Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the Year and Young National Chef of the Year. A huge list of impressive industry names descended on the show to judge the competition, all headed up by Gary Jones, executive head chef at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. After a tough contest, Steve Groves, head chef at Roux at Parliament Square was crowned  as the new National Chef of the Year with William Keeble, demi chef de partie at Whatley Manor taking the Young Chef of the Year title.

The final day of the show also saw plenty of action in the competition theatre, with the return of the Compass Apprentice, Junior and Senior Chef of the Year contests. It was a day of intense competition and hard work from all participants, which ultimately saw Chris Macleod take the senior title, Sam Kent revealed as the junior winner and Miranda Cook named as apprentice chef of the year.

Until next time!

Both exhibitors and visitors came away from this year’s event with valuable insights into some of the latest trends, a wealth of inspiration and plenty of new connections. Many exhibitors have already been quick to confirm their attendance at next year’s show and have rebooked their space. The Restaurant Show returns from 28th to 30th September 2020. See you then!