Foodservice Australia 2018 – Sydney

The nation’s hospitality industry descended on ICC Sydney at Darling Harbour last week for Foodservice Australia – with 300 exhibitors, four elite chef competitions, two major conferences and literally thousands of new products and ideas on show.

Event Director Tim Collett says the show has grown year on year to become a major player in the industry. “We had a huge range of exhibitors and must-see events, and that helped to draw a crowd larger than ever before,” he says.

“I think it demonstrates that live events are the best way to meet suppliers, network with peers and discover the latest trends in food, fitout and equipment.”

Special events included the Chef of the Year, the annual National Restaurant Conference, the inaugural Aged Care Catering Summit, Savour Patissier of the Year, Dairymont Australian Pizza Championships and the Australian Culinary Federation’s Restaurant Challenge.

The Aged Care Catering Summit on Tuesday 29 May was a sell-out success, with delegates from aged care facilities and home care providers keen to find out more about the future of dining in this booming market.

Speakers at the Summit included Aveo Group’s National Food Services Manager John Casey, Cheri Hugo from The Lantern Project, Lynn James from the Maggie Beer Foundation, and HammondCare’s Executive Chef Peter Morgan-Jones.

The National Restaurant Conference was held on Monday 28 May and delivered practical advice and solutions for real-world issues – such as online ordering and food delivery, the impact of social media, plus technology and marketing trends. Speakers included Christine Manfield, St Peter’s Josh Niland, Dan Mylonas from The Grounds of Alexandria, Menulog’s CEO Alistair Venn and Marta Pogroszewska from Gail’s Bakery in UK.

Savour Patissier of the Year organised by Australia’s ‘Queen of Chocolate’ Kirsten Tibballs attracted large crowds and was also watched by over 160,000 viewers online.

There were 30 talented competitors in four categories – tarts, éclairs, entremets and desserts. They were judged by global superstar patissiers Frank Haasnoot, Jerome Landrieu and Melissa Coppel, plus local Master Patissier Paul Kennedy from Savour Chocolate & Patisserie School.

The overall winner with the highest score was Guillaume Lopvet from Sepia restaurant in Sydney, while category winners were Philip Khoury (tarts), Tat Man Ricky Wong (éclairs) Kevin Gully (entremets) and Esteban Garcia (desserts).

Lopvet won a trophy, a cheque for $15,000, a Savour Chocolate & Patisserie School voucher, culinary equipment from sponsors Unox Australia and Robot Coupe, plus an exciting trip to Hong Kong to train with Marike van Beurden at the Ravifruit Studio.

The prestigious Australian Professional Chef of the Year competition was once again held at the centre of the show. Taking the coveted title was Jack Lee, who is soon to open his own café Beansmuggler in Point Cook, Victoria.

Head Judge John McFadden led a highly qualified judging team including Adam Moore, Nick Whitehouse, Karen Doyle, Steve Belcher, Claire Van Vuuren, Julio Azzerello and Tony Panetta. Premier sponsors were Australian Pork, Chobani, and Unox, and the competition was also supported by Alsco, Robot Coupe, Winterhalter, PFD Food Services and ICC Sydney.

The ACF Restaurant Challenge joined the lineup of events at Foodservice Australia for the first time this year. Eight teams of three chefs each prepared a two-course menu for 24 people dining in the restaurant on the show floor. The winning team was Clarke’s Of North Beach, representing WA – Stephen Clarke, Lauren Dodsworth and Belinda Barrett.

Meanwhile at the Dairymont Australian Pizza Championships, heats in five categories were held over two days and assessed by Head Judge Glenn Austin and his team. The winner was Mark Paterno of Arte Bianca Sydney, second place went to James Parker of Alphonsus Pizza at The Glen Hotel in Queensland while Raffaele Brotzu of Delisio Pizza Romana in WA was placed third.

Lunch and food-to-go was the focus at the Café School, sponsored by Mission, Parmalat and Freedom Foods. Highlights included the Bowl&Spoon Granola Bowl Challenge, in which Alex Cossell from The Milk Bar Coffee Co. in Queensland won $5000, and the Pauls Professional Beat the Barista latte smackdown, which saw competitors take on top baristas Jibbi Little, Ha Ram Gang and Li Tao to create the best latte art.

There were also free workshops on making the perfect coffee, new ideas in flatbread, and global café trends. Presenters included Peter Wright, Graeme McCormack, Jared Mea and Liam McLaughlin.

Exhibitors reported doing great business with new and existing customers during the show, with many companies re-booking immediately for next year’s show in Melbourne.

“We have captured more than 70 high quality leads which is huge,” says Richard Miguelez, NSW State Field Manager for Kraft Heinz. “We only have three reps on the road in NSW and it would take them months to find that many leads. Here, they are all coming to us!”

The team from PFD Food Services also found the show worked well for their brand. “We have not exhibited at this show for a while but it is so good to be back,” says Ryan Young, PFD State Manager, Meat, Victoria.

“Being involved with the Chef of the Year has been great for PFD. We have been impressed with the quality of competitors and very pleased with what the chefs created with the fresh seafood and meat provided by PFD. The whole event has been worthwhile.”

The next Foodservice Australia trade show will be held at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre from 23-25 June 2019. Bookings for exhibitor stands are open now, visitor registration will open later this year.

**Information & Image Courtesy of Foodservice Australia/Specialised Events – Kirsty Hunt

Connie Lambeth

The Australia Times News

Editor GOURMET – Food/Wine/Events

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