What: Restaurants Canada Show 2017
Where: Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto
When: February 26, 2017
Why: Restaurant Trade Show
I had a chance to attend the Restaurants Canada show at the Enercare Centre for the 2nd time. Even though I was prepared for what the show entailed I was still tired from trying to see all the new things at the show. It's a huge show. My friend noted that it was a one stop shop for anyone that might want to open a restaurant. It's true, they have everything in one place. From Restaurant equipment to food supplies, dishware, takeout containers, uniforms and software. It really is impressive how many things are involved in the restaurant business and how many new innovative suppliers there are.
New this year was the Canadian Camp Tent. It was pretty cool seeing a tent set up with pelts and hunting related things set up at the end of the Trade show floor. I have a feeling it was the brainchild of Toronto Chef Michael Hunter, yes his name really is Hunter and he owns the local restaurant Antler and is an avid Hunter and gatherer who uses local products in his recipes. He was on hand on the Sunday and sampled some smoked bear and wild blueberry preserves. Yes I did try it and it tasted like corned Beef and was delicious.
You really need to go to this show wearing comfortable shoes, and a big appetite because you will be walking around a lot and sampling a whole lot of food.
We started the show at the Coffee and Tea end of the show where they had a Tea Bot where I was able to get a custom blended tea that was assembled by a machine and served in a filtered lid cup.
My friend had a latte instead. Then we headed over to the Canadian area and the first thing I ate was probably one of my favourite things lately. I had Tuna poke from Sysco. They have some new pre chopped tuna, salmon and other things in consistent sizes that would save Restaurants a lot of time and labour costs and retain consistent quality.
Some of the trends that I noticed where the leaning to things that are a bit healthier and things that were in abundance at the show were Pizza, ice cream, all kinds of beverages, charcuterie and pickled foods and lots of sauces of course.
My favourite things included the fun Mood water which was just fun packaging where you could choose your mood like grumpy, happy etc. I also tried Cannoli chips that were the best cannoli's that I have ever had and a great idea for a party for sure. I also liked the new Sparkling Ice and coffees in a can, I tried the coffee flavour and enjoyed it very much, (pictured second from the right at the bottom of the photo above). I tried some great Cocoa Berry chocolates and all sorts of appetizers.
One of the other highlights for me at the show was a chance meeting with Lidia Bastianich. We went to the media room to have a bit of a sit down and I got up to get something and noticed Lidia tucked into the corner sitting on a chair talking to a man. I asked her for a photo because one of my friends loves her and I watch her all the time too. The man asked if I wanted a photo with her so I took one of her and he took one of us together. Check the Gallery for the photo of us together. She is a very nice lady who happens to run a restaurant empire Eataly. I told her that I was very happy about Eataly coming to the Manulife Centre because I go to see movies there sometimes. I don't think she knew there was a theatre there.
It's a great show that it's unfortunate that it isn't open to the public to see what goes into the making of their food at their local restaurants and what might be coming to them soon.
I felt fortunate as a blogger that I was able to attend this show and give you a sneak peek into the restaurant industry. We spent hours there and we didn't even get a chance to attend any of the panel discussions. We ended the show at the other end of the floor where there was a bar set up with flair demonstrations and of course it was the busiest part of the show.
There are so many people involved in the food business in Canada that you would be amazed how huge it really is.
Support your local restaurants because it's really hard work and they are all trying to please YOU.