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FRLA’s restaurantpalooza kicks off in Orlando

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

The annual Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show will be held this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the Orange County Convention Center, 9400 Universal Boulevard in Orlando.

The show connects restaurant and food-service professionals with “new ideas, new products, new solutions and new trends,” according to a press release.

The trade show and conference, produced by Urban Expositions and sponsored by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, will offer educational programs, special events, new food products, and equipment and services from hundreds of leading suppliers.

“We know that a restaurant cannot survive on the food alone, which is why we have created an education program to provide practical and relevant information as well as feature areas on the show floor to find fresh and new ideas,” said Ron Mathews, vice president for restaurant and food-service events portfolio.

Here’s highlights of a few of the special events planned for the week:

The new Beer, Wine & Spirits Pavilion was created to meet the demand from restaurant and foodservice professionals seeking access to the alcoholic beverage component of the market.  It provides the opportunity to meet face-to-face with the producers and distributors of adult beverages and is designed to enhance your learning and sourcing opportunities. Featured brands include: MillerCoors, Blue Moon, Jim Beam Brands, Heaven Hill Brands, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Constellation Brands, D.G. Yuengling & Sons to name a few. The official ingredient sponsor of the pavilion is the Florida Department of Citrus.

The Torch Award Presentation will take place in the Culinary Demonstration Theater on Wednesday, October 7, 2015, at 1 p.m. The Food Shows and Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum are excited to present the inaugural Torch Award to Norman Van Aken for his outstanding achievements and contributions to the restaurant and food-service community. Van Aken, chef-owner of NORMAN’S in Orlando and the founding father of New World Cuisine, is the only Floridian on the James Beard list of Who’s Who in American Food and Beverage, as well as an internationally acclaimed author. He will join Ferdinand Metz, Certified Master Chef, for a one-on-one on our Culinary Demonstration Theater stage open to all attendees.

Culinary Demonstration Theater is an educational, interactive and entertaining area for restaurant and foodservice professionals who want to stay abreast of what’s hot in the food world. Stop by this feature area at the show and see how our chefs have put their spin on hot trends. This year’s featured session will include the presentation of the new Torch Award to James Beard award winning chef Norman Van Aken for his contributions to the industry.

For a full program and registration information, go to

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at [email protected]

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