Industry News | May 2, 2008

PMA Expo to Host Two Bravo Chefs

Its the culinary match-up of the year: The Iron Chef and the Top Chef will come together on the same stage to dish on foodservice opportunities for fresh produce at the Produce Marketing Associations (PMA) 2008 Foodservice Conference & Exposition. The only conference dedicated solely to fresh produce in foodservice, this years event will be held July 25-27 in Monterey, California.

About 1,500 foodservice professionals are expected to attend this year. The agenda will feature educational sessions on hot topics in produce and foodservice, as well as many and varied opportunities to network with attendees from throughout the entire supply chain, and a one-day exposition that has been dubbed the best five hours in foodservice.

The beautiful Monterey location and relaxed, intimate atmosphere are designed to promote learning and connecting.

Year after year, the PMA Foodservice Conference & Exposition delivers the education and networking that our business needs to use more produce to get the most out of our plates and satisfy our customers in the process. "PMA's expertise simply helps us do our jobs better," says Rich Dachman, vice president of produce for Sysco Corporation. "If you are in the foodservice business and can only attend one conference this year, this should be the one."

Building on last year's popular celebrity chef demonstrations, PMA will bring reality television to real life with chef demonstrations featuring fresh produce by Bravo TVs Top Chef head judge Tom Colicchio and Food Networks first female Iron Chef Cat Cora. PMA consulting chef, Robert Danhi of Chef Danhi & Co., will moderate the culinary match-up of the year.

"We're bringing two of televisions most popular chefs together in the same kitchen to talk about their very different approaches to food, and their thinking about fresh produce," says Chef Danhi. "Fresh produce is getting increasing attention in most foodservice menu options for good reason, and seeing how Tom and Cat use fruits and vegetables will undoubtedly drum up lots of new ideas from our attendees that they can take back to their operations." This years conference will also feature sessions on two of todays hottest topics: food safety and sustainability. To find out how food safety may affect buyers and sellers in the future, attendees can find out the status of food safety legislation and regulations, and hear updates on industry initiatives including the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement and the Produce Traceability Initiative. Speakers will also dig deeper into sustainability, discussing how PMA is approaching the multifaceted issue and sharing PMA research of consumer attitudes on the subject. This is the first of several sessions planned at PMA conferences on the topic, so attendees will want to tune in early and often. "Three of the biggest buzzwords in the produce industry today are traceability, food safety, and sustainability," says Greg Reinauer, senior vice president of AmeriFresh, Scottsdale, Arizona, and PMA Foodservice Planning Task Force co-chair. "Our experts will discuss how PMA is planning to help the fresh produce supply chain address the produce-specific aspects of it, and help us understand what our customers expectations are."

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