Delaware North Companies, a global leader in hospitality and food service, is set to welcome hundreds of its food and beverage professionals from across the United States and from locations as far away as Australia along with vendor representatives to Buffalo, N.Y., this week for the company’s annual food and beverage summit.
More than 700 people – nearly 600 traveling from outside of the region – are scheduled to attend the Delaware North Companies Food & Beverage Summit, which is being held in Buffalo for the fifth consecutive year. Delaware North was founded nearly 100 years ago and is headquartered in Buffalo.
About 330 food and beverage industry representatives will be promoting 150 companies and their latest products at a trade show for Delaware North chefs, managers and corporate professionals from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Among the food and beverage companies that will have booths at the trade show are Tyson Foods, Rich Products, General Mills, Cargill, Heinz, Pro-Act and PepsiCo.
Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine, host of the Food Network’s “Restaurant: Impossible,” will address summit attendees at 9 a.m. Thursday at the convention center ballroom. Irvine, a native of England, has cooked on several continents, has appeared on “Next Iron Chef” and once worked in the kitchens of the White House.
The summit will also include the Delaware North Culinary Challenge, 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 and entertainment divisions. The competition, at the summit’s opening reception at 6 p.m. today at the convention center, will feature each team preparing two personal plates and a beverage pairing that incorporate products from the suppliers in attendance.
Other highlights include the summit dinner Wednesday evening at Statler City and Culinary Institute of America training sessions for Delaware North chefs at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute.
Including the annual summit, Delaware North generates about 6,000 room nights in Buffalo hotels each year thanks to regular visits by its employees from other locations for meetings and training sessions, as well as by business representatives.
Jeremy Jacobs Jr., principal of Delaware North, initiated the first annual companywide culinary gathering in 2002 and drove its expansion into a full-fledged trade show and conference. In 2003 Jacobs 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.
The first several Delaware North food and beverage summits were focused on chef development and were held at culinary schools such as the Culinary Institute of America-Greystone in St. Helena, Calif. Since then the company has held separate chef development meetings and instituted other culinary training opportunities while requiring all chefs to obtain certification from the American Culinary Federation.
Delaware North manages food service – including the operation of restaurants, concessions and premium dining – in sports stadiums, entertainment venues, national parks, resort hotels and airports in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, beginning in 2014.