Saturday, March 13, 2010

Foodie Heaven - Show Day at the CRFA

No word of a lie, the cost for my ticket to the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservice Association show I was lucky enough to go to on Monday was the best $10 I ever spent. Heck - even if I had to shell out the full admission fee of $30 (which I definitely plan on doing next year!) it was more than worth it. I mean really, when else can you show up, ravenous enough to make even a Chinese Buffet restaurant cringe, and eat your way through 358,433 square feet of exhibits, not to mention drink your weight in coffees from all over the globe and even hobnob with chefs like Susur Lee?


For me, the draw to the show wasn't so much the taste-testing of everything from organic carrots to Alaskan salmon as it was a chance to see all the things the big wide world of food and restaurants had to offer. While the majority of the students there (and we all stuck out like sore thumbs, I'm sure, no matter what school we represented) were filling their bags with samples of whatever was out there (and in some cases it looked like everything that wasn't nailed down!) I took my time from booth to booth, talking to the exhibitors. I won't lie - I did score some awesome swag - but the fact that I was ditched by my classmates about 1/3 of the way through the show allowed me to put out this little blog of mine, and spread the word about my passion for nutritious food and recipe development.

As a result, I got a ton of amazing contacts with companies from Saputo to Liberté (who coincidentally recently introduced a 0% Greek-style yogurt!), scored an opportunity to try a breakout product from Hodgson Mills that National Importers is bringing in, said hi and thanks to the always friendly folks at Friends of the Greenbelt (who gave my mincemeat first place last year!) and SoyaWorld (makers of the soymilk I swear by for my ice"cream" and who are also bringing out a dairy-free line of puddings in the next few weeks!), and found two new companies who are both incredibly dedicated to making the act of snacking safer for everyone. Treasure Mills, makers of baked goods from breads to mixes, even has a comprehensive allergen guide on their website in addition to guaranteeing a 100% nut-free plant and snacks labelled "School Safe" (including a decadent chocolate fudge cookie!).

Likewise, the staff at the Touché Bakery booth were adamant about informing the public that their biscotti, meringue, cookie, brownie and pre-made batter business is not only completely nut-free, but also dairy-Kosher and HACCP certified. For those of you not familiar with foodservice / safety in the professional sense, HACCP certification means that the Bakery is able to not only identify potential food safety hazards from reception of ingredients through to the final packaging and distribution of their finished treats, but that action plans are in place to reduce or eliminate those hazards turning into realities. There's a list of 7 principles they must follow too, if you're interested.

So here are a few more shots from my outing. The full list with links is on my Flickr set for you to peruse at will!
IQF Pasta Selections
New Origin Chocolates from Barry Callebaut
Crispy Decorating Chocolates
11 Pounds of Decadence!
Sysco Gets "Fresh"
As Many Mushrooms as You Like!
Payday!

4 comments :

Ricki said...

I went to last year's and just had the greatest time. I decided against it this year because I thought it would be too hard to NOT eat anything! Your swag looks great. :)

Tonya @ What's On My Plate said...

Great write up about the show. I've gone for the past three years because of work so I'm kind of CRFA-ed out but it's nice to see a fresh perspective.

Princess said...

Hey girl, you did a great job putting these awesome pictures and information together. Yes we did ditched you a few times,there was just so much to see and taste. I was a great outing, I'm glad I was given the $10 opportunity to experience the show ^_^

sdaniela said...

Hey Sarah excellent write up. You did a great job, love the picture. Would you mind if I use it for the CAFP Centennial College Student Branch website? Let me know.