Industry News | October 2, 2013

Atlanta Foodservice Expo Announces Keynote Speakers

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Clarion Events North America (Clarion) announced a Keynote Panel of Industry Leaders to take place on October 22 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. as a highlight to the last day of Atlanta Foodservice Expo 2013. The panel will bring together four local industry leaders who will share their stories, challenges, and what it takes to succeed in the highly demanding world of foodservice and restaurant ownership.


The Keynote Panelists are:


Along with his roles at JCT. Kitchen & Bar, King + Duke, No. 246, and The Optimist, Ford Fry is also the founder of one of Atlanta’s most popular food events, The JCT. Kitchen & Bar Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival. Fry’s culinary inspirations cover many years and much of the country: from eating out with his family as a child in Texas, to studying at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, to spending time as a fine dining chef in Florida, Colorado, and California—and eventually as a corporate chef in Atlanta. Although the corporate chef position didn’t stick, Fry’s love for Atlanta stuck with him and it has proved a recipe for success so far. Fry and his restaurants have been included in numerous national and local publications, such as Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, Chicago Tribune, Cooking Light, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Esquire, Food & Wine, Garden & Gun, Sky, Southern Living, and the Washington Post.


The legacy began in 1993 when Robby Kukler and his partners opened South City Kitchen on Crescent Avenue in the heart of midtown Atlanta. A continued focus on innovation and growth led to the development of South City Kitchen in Vinings, La Tavola Trattoria, Ecco, The Original El Taco, Alma Cocina, Lure, and one of the South’s most renowned catering companies, Bold American Events. These successful concepts make up what is now Fifth Group Restaurants – Atlanta’s award-winning chef and community driven hospitality group. Over the past 20 years, Fifth Group Restaurants’ food, chefs, business model, green initiatives, and community work have been frequent features of high profile publications such as The New York Times, Atlanta Business Chronicle, Southern Living, Food & Wine, Garden & Gun, USA Today, and Esquire. Robby leads and mentors Fifth Group Restaurants’ operations, marketing and recruiting teams as well as heads new concept development. He is a long-time member and advocate of the Atlanta Community Food Bank and frequent industry speaker and adviser.


After thirty years in the restaurant business working and learning from others, in 2004, Kevin Rathbun opened his namesake restaurant, Rathbun's, then Krog Bar (2005), then Kevin Rathbun Steak (2007), and then KR SteakBar (2013). He has worked with celebrity chefs and restaurateurs such as Bradley Ogden, Emeril Lagasse, Stephen Pyles, Ella Brennan, and Pano Karratossos, and he has perfected not only his technique in the kitchen, but his passion for owning and operating his own businesses. Kevin has been featured on the Today Show, The Early Show, Iron Chef America (Winner), Chopped (Winner), Good Morning America, Good Day Atlanta, Better Mornings, CNN, and print media such as Food & Wine, Gourmet, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Veranda, Southern Living, Diversions, Men's Journal, Miami Herald, The Atlantan, Oprah Magazine, National Geographic Traveler, RAVE, SKY Magazine, GO Magazine, Denver Post, Food Arts, and Flavors. Kevin continues to be a pivotal and driving force in the local and national restaurant scene.


Todd Rushing’s presence in the Atlanta restaurant scene has been long-running. A partner in the nationally acclaimed, Atlanta-based, Concentrics Restaurants, Rushing is responsible for creating nationally acclaimed innovative wine programs which have received numerous awards and recognition in publications such as Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Wine & Spirits, The Wine Report, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Condé Nast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Restaurant Business, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Business Chronicle and Jezebel magazine. In addition to owning Atlanta’s ONE. midtown kitchen, TWO urban licks, TAP, PARISH and The Spence, Rushing along with Bob Amick, current owner and founder of Concentrics Restaurants, offer a full-service restaurant consultation service specializing in concept and development. Clients (current and previous) include Atlanta’s Murphy’s, Bakeshop, FLIP Burger Boutique, HD1, La Pietra Cucina, Lobby Bar and Bistro and Room at TWELVE owned by Novare Development, STATS, a partnership with Atlanta’s Sports Radio 790 The Zone and Legacy Property Group.


Atlanta Foodservice Expo is the only event in Georgia and the Southeast to bring together under one roof all sectors of the restaurant, foodservice, and hospitality industries with a broad range of the best suppliers. The show will be held October 20-22, 2013, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

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