The Food & Hospitality Queensland trade expo returned last month after a three-year break and organisers say it was a huge success, with more exhibitors and visitors than ever before.
Event Director Tim Collett said “after all the delays and interruptions the food industry was ready to come together and talk about the future. Whether you operate a café, restaurant, commercial kitchen or supermarket you need to know about the latest consumer trends, new products and new ways of doing business”.
Collett said the enforced break caused by Covid lockdowns was challenging for the food industry and crippling for the event industry. “We are really pleased to be back and working with exhibitors to rebuild and reconnect. It is just so pleasing to finally open the doors and see everyone streaming in”.
It was not all smooth sailing for the build of the show, as drenching rains threatened to flood Brisbane. On the Friday before the show the Premier called an emergency press conference, roads were closed and a number of outdoor festivals were cancelled. Freight was an issue for some exhibitors and others had staff down with Covid.
Fortunately the skies cleared and the show ran smoothly. It had over 180 exhibitors and special events including the Queensland Chef of the Year, Brisbane Café School, Aged Care Catering Summit and the Chef Success Workshop. It attracted 3500 trade visitors over two busy days which was a record for the show.
Collett says plant-based foods were a popular topic at the show. There was also a lot of talk around staff shortages. Exhibitors like Priestley’s with prepared desserts generated immediate interest. So did the big equipment companies like Unox, Comcater, JL Lennard and the Commercial Kitchen Company with automated cooking gear.
Taking place in the middle of the show was the Queensland Chef of the Year. This prestigious cooking competition attracted over 100 entries from professional chefs. They fought for a place in the Grand Final where they had to produce two dishes from a mystery box of ingredients in one hour. After a close tussle the winner was Tom Hitchcock from The Long Apron Restaurant in Montville.
Running alongside the show was the Aged Care Catering Summit which attracted a full house of chefs and operators. They discussed the rising expectations of residents and how to meet them within tight budgets. Speakers included Cherie Hugo from the Lantern Project, Julie Dundon from Nutrition Professionals Australia and Chef John Casey from Live Life Cook.
Food & Hospitality Queensland will return to the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre in October next year. To see all the exhibitors and learn about getting involved visit the website at www.foodandhospitality.com.au or call the food team on 03 9999 5460.