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Editor's Blog

NRA Show 2014 Sets the Stage for Innovation and Education


Food industry leaders will come together in Chicago over the course of four days to share their wisdom and shape the future of the culinary arts at the annual National Restaurant Association (NRA) Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show.


The NRA Show 2014 will feature more than 2,000 suppliers and tens of thousands of buyers interested in networking, learning from world-class celebrity chefs and exploring new culinary trends. “These shows are so great because they bring together so many able, forward-thinking chefs,” says Chef David Burke, Top Chef Masters contestant and owner of The David Burke Group restaurants. “It is for this reason that I am able to stay current and on top of new trends.”

The NRA Show 2014 will be held May 17-20 at McCormick Place in Chicago. The event attracts more than 65,000 attendees and visitors from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.Some of the highlights at this year’s show are the announcement of the Operator Innovations award winners at Destination: Celebration, the addition of a new interactive Foodamental Studio, and the all-star celebrity chef lineup for the World Culinary Showcase. The NRA Show 2014 will feature 300 new exhibitors, which the association says demonstrates more brands and companies are constantly growing, evolving and wanting to showcase their advancements in the industry with their peers and consumers. “There are many reasons why I love this show,” says Chef Robert Irvine, host of The Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible and Restaurant Express, and author of two cookbooks – “Mission: Cook!” and “Impossible to Easy. “It’s the show that sets the pace for all other shows.”

World Culinary Showcase

A number of celebrity chefs will make appearances during the NRA Shows’ annual World Culinary Showcase. Although their personalities, thoughts and banter can be highly entertaining, their tips, recipes and techniques will steal the show. “People can look forward to learning something different from each chef in a fun and approachable environment,” says Sam Facchini, the NRA Show 2014 Convention Chair.

Irvine will host a segment of the World Culinary Showcase. He says that he strives to make an impact on those who share the same passion for the restaurant business by providing real answers to questions and business advice based off his experiences. “Our industry is very large and at the same time, for those who have not been in it long enough, always remember that it’s also a very small world,” he adds. “For me, spending time with those who share the same passion and vision in the business and seeing the growth of colleagues through the years never stops amazing me.”

During Burke’s session at the NRA Show, he will discuss aging methods for beef and demonstrating three different ways to the beef after it’s aged. In 2011, Burke was awarded a patent for his aging process. “In two of my restaurants I have pink Himalayan rock salt tiled rooms – it is here that I dry-age the beef used in all of The David Burke Group’s restaurants,” he says. “Educating people regarding the different aging methods is something I believe is often overlooked, and I am excited to inform attendees of these processes, as well as how to determine different grades of beef.”

Exploring Trends

The Foodamental Studio is new to the NRA Show this year and will give attendees an opportunity to explore new culinary trends hands-on in an intimate workshop area. More than 20 classes will be available over the course of four days that will explore techniques in everything from pickling to dessert design to adopting trending cuisine flavors. “We hope these workshops give attendees the basic tools and education to interpret these trends in their own personal way,” Facchini adds. “We want to teach attendees the basics in each of these topics so that they can take those basics they’ve learned and make them their own.”

Because there are always new trends, products and techniques that industry leaders are eager to incorporate into their brand or business, the NRA Show is looking to make the Foodamental Studio an annual event. “Every time I am exposed to a new product or equipment and watch a demo, I am learning,” Burke notes. “This show is so great – keep up the good work.”  

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