More than 600 people – the majority traveling from outside of the region – attended last week's 2015 Delaware North Food & Beverage Summit, which began as the annual GuestPath® Conference came to a close.
About 330 food and beverage industry representatives were on-hand, promoting 168 companies and their latest products at a trade show for Delaware North chefs, managers and corporate professionals Wednesday at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Among the food and beverage companies that had booths at the trade show were Tyson Foods, Rich Products, General Mills, Cargill, Heinz, Pro-Act and PepsiCo.
The summit also included the Delaware North Culinary Challenge, with a team comprised of chefs and managers from Delaware North’s gaming business coming out on top. The team – Larry Alexander, Scott Clark, Sandra Foote, Joseph Ighnaut, Brian Sterner, Brian Waters and Brian Wolfe – won over the judging panel with a menu featuring Shrimp Cocktail (shrimp ceviche-style, fresh horseradish and tomato Gell’o), Wings and Things (chicken drum lollipop, cereal and red-hot chicken, celery leaf salad and blue cheese), Coffee and a Cigarette (semi-sweet white chocolate mousse, toasted granola and Nestle’s Quick) and a Space Age Collins (Bombay Sapphire, fresh lemon juice, club soda, Tang, simple syrup, candied lemon rind and maraschino cherries).
The always-exciting Delaware North Culinary Challenge is a competition among chefs and front-of-the-house management staff in teams representing Delaware North’s sports hospitality, travel hospitality, parks and resorts, and gaming divisions. During the competition, which took place at the summit’s opening reception, each team prepared three dishes and a beverage pairing. As a nod to Delaware North’s 100th anniversary, each team had to create its menu with a theme from a certain decade.
Other highlights included a dinner event at Buffalo’s Burchfield Penney Art Center and an event-cap (err, night cap?) at Big Ditch Brewery, one of several popular new destinations in the city’s burgeoning craft-beverage scene. And, of course, attendees paid a visit to Delaware North’s new global headquarters at 250 Delaware Avenue in downtown Buffalo.
“It’s always exciting to bring our colleagues from all over the world to Buffalo,” said Steve Eden, director of Delaware North’s Culinary & Hospitality Council. “But this year was different. We have a stunning new headquarters building, and the city as a whole continues to transform. I certainly hope everyone enjoyed their time, and we look forward to next year.”
Jerry Jacobs Jr. initiated the first annual companywide culinary gathering in 2002 and drove its expansion into a full-fledged trade show and conference. In 2003 he also created the Delaware North Culinary & Hospitality Council, which organizes the summit and whose mission is to consolidate and advance the company’s culinary and hospitality objectives across all of its divisions.
PHOTO CAPTION: The Food & Beverage Summit kicked off with the “Party of the Century,” at nod to Delaware North’s 100th anniversary, at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.