LOS ANGELES, CA, July 30, 2018 – Center Stage − an educational, interactive and entertaining area for restaurant and foodservice professionals to stay abreast of what's hot in the food world – is a feature area at the 2018 Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo, being held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from August 19-21.  Some of the biggest names in culinary arts will present various cooking demonstrations, provide samples to taste, participate in panel discussions and competitions and even offer a yoga class. The Center Stage schedule is below, to access updates click here.

“Our attendees have become accustomed to seeing the most influential names in the restaurant industry on Center Stage and our 2018 event will not disappoint the thousands of restaurant and foodservice professionals attending the upcoming Western Foodservice Expo,” said Tom Loughran, Vice President for the Clarion UX Food & Beverage Portfolio, “We are thrilled to be welcoming a terrific line-up of celebrity chefs who are involved with some of the leading restaurants in the country to Center Stage as well as present the Beacon and Torch Awards, and watch two exciting competitions.”

Sunday, August 19 

  • Mareya Ibrahim, an award-winning entrepreneur, chef, author and inventor, will feature Love and Life in a Glass - Chef Mareya's 8 Superfoods Shake That'll Rock Your World. She is the founder and CEO of Grow Green Industries, Inc. creators of patented, plant-based organic and Kosher solutions. (11:30 am – 12:00 pm)
  • Bernard Guillas, Maitre Cuisinier de France, will prepare Artichoke Asparagus Salad, Orange Gastrique, Pecorino, inspired by his travels, this dish utilizes global ingredients for elegant home entertaining and an everyday healthy lifestyle.  (12:00 pm – 1:00 pm)
  • Foodservice Council for Women Panel followed by the Beacon Award presented to Dominque Crenn. (1:00 pm – 2:30 pm)
    • Dominque Crenn, Chef/Co-Owner of Atelier Crenn (Beacon Award Winner)
    • Erin Wade, Founder/CEO, Homeroom
    • Mary Sue Milliken, Co-Chef/Owner, Border Grill 
    • Niki Nakayama, Chef/Owner, n/naka 
    • Nina Curtis, Chef/Culinary Wellness Consultant/Lecturer/Activist 
    • Tati Polo, Chef Tati Polo 
    • Moderator: Kathleen Wood, Founder of Kathleen Wood Partners
  • Nina Curtis, Chef/Culinary Wellness Consultant/Lecturer/Activist will demonstrate how easy it is to incorporate delicious, nutritious and mouthwatering plant-based cuisine on current menus to positively impact the bottom-line, attract more customers and create more diversity in an offering.  (2:30 pm – 3:30 pm)
  • Hip Sip: Battle of the Modern Bartender Competition (3:30 pm – 4:30 pm) Nine finalists will battle in their respective spirit category and then the three winners of those rounds will advance into a sudden death round for the opportunity to be crowned the overall champion and win $1,000. Judges include Tom Fischer, Founder, BourbonBlog.com; Philip M Dobard, President, National Food & Beverage Foundation; Anne Marie Panoringan, Freelance Food & Travel Writer; and David Rose, Private Chef & Caterer, Food Network Star Finalist.


Monday, August 20 

  • Power Up Yoga with "Fit Foodie" Mareya Ibrahim – (7:00 am – 8:00 am) NEW to the show this year - kick the day off right with this exclusive and complimentary yoga class. Mareya will take attendees through a series of vinyasa flow movements along with some fun and upbeat music. Suitable for all levels. Complimentary smoothies will be provided by Dr. Smoothie.
  • Caroline Stynewill be presented with The Torch Award. Caroline is co-owner of The Lucques Group, a Los Angeles hospitality company that comprises two other fine dining restaurants – a.o.c., and Tavern –  and four marketplace restaurants – The Larder at Maple Drive, The Larder at Burton Way, The Larder at Tavern and The Larder at Tavern at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. (1:00 pm – 2:00 pm)
  • Fabio Viviani, Chef/Culinary Personality/Restaurateur/Cookbook Author, will prepare Fresh Fettucini with Roasted Pinenuts and Basil Pesto. Born in Florence, Italy, Chef Viviani has had a passion for food since childhood, growing to own several concepts by age 27. In 2005, Viviani brought his talents across the Atlantic, where he opened Café Firenze in Moorpark, CA. (2:00 – 3:15 pm)
  • Rapid Fire Challenge: Bacon Lovers Edition (3:30 pm – 5:00 pm) will feature competitors Chef Jodi Taffel, a.k.a. The Fabulous Bacon Babe; Roman Cota, Wedgewood Wedding; and Karla Flores-Ybaceta, Mikhuna Authentic Peruvian Cuisine.  The event is supported by Bacon Freak.  Judges include:
    • David Rose, Chef, Private Chef & Caterer; Food Network Star Finalist
    • Ben Diaz, Executive Chef, Luxe City Center; Director of Culinary Innovations, CBD Cuisine
    • Betty Fraser, Chef/Owner, Dish Functional, Inc.; Grub; As You Like It Catering; Bravo's Top Chef Season Two
    • MC: Shaun O’Neale, Season 7 Champion of MasterChef

Tuesday, August 21 

  • Holden Dahlerbruch, Chef/Founder, Culinary Playgrounds; FYI Network's Man Vs. Child: Chef Showdown Prodigy Seasons 1 & 2 will prepare Turkey Herb Meatballs.  Chef Holden has been cooking since the age of four. (11:30 am – 12:30 pm)
  • Bruce Kalman, Executive Chef, BK Hospitality Group embraces the diverse and abundant produce of California to create exquisitely balanced flavor profiles meant to warm the soul at BK Hospitality concepts like UNION in Pasadena, CA and Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market in L.A.’s Grand Central Market. (12:30 pm – 1:30 pm)
  • Tati Polo received her Executive Chef degree from the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu program at the California School of Culinary Arts. After graduating with honors, Tati created her own company called Forkplate Productions, offering catering and event planning, and much more. (1:30 pm – 2:30 pm)


The 2018 Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo will be held Sunday, August 19 - Tuesday, August 21, 2018 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The tradeshow and conference will provide 9,000+ industry professionals with access to the hottest menu trends, state of the art design and decor, a renowned education program, special events, and 450+ of the leading vendors and purveyors dedicated to serving the restaurant & foodservice community.  The tradeshow and conference, started in 1936 is managed by Clarion UX (www.clarionux.com) and sponsored by the California Restaurant Association (www.calrest.org). For more information, visit www.westernfoodexpo.com. The 2018 event will be co-located with Coffee Fest and Healthy Food Expo West, and attendees will have access to all three events.  
About Clarion UX - Clarion UX produces 37 events across 13 sectors of both trade and consumer events.  Clarion UX, which is the U.S. division of Clarion Events, UK, and backed by The Blackstone Group has become one of the fastest growing event companies in the U.S. with aggressive growth through both acquisition and launch.  Clarion acquired PennWell in early 2018, bringing 4 Tradeshow 200 events into the U.S. portfolio and super-charging the already rapid growth.  Clarion UX has offices in Trumbull, CT; Kennesaw, GA; Boca Raton, FL; Tacoma, WA, and Fairlawn, NJ. www.clarionux.com.

About Clarion Events - Clarion Events operates over 180 events in 50 countries from offices in the UK, South Africa, USA, Brazil, Germany, Singapore, UAE, and the Netherlands.  Clarion can trace its roots back to 1947 and takes great pride in being one of the oldest independent event organizers in the UK.  More recently the firm has developed an international portfolio of brands and now has interests in a number of global vertical industries. The teams at Clarion create uniquely effective and stimulating environments that can serve as a platform to build businesses, enhance customer relationships and accelerate product awareness.   www.clarionevents.com

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