National Restaurant Association Show 2018 Highlights


The 2018 National Restaurant Association (NRA) show was held at McCormick Place in Chicago, May 19th-22nd. More than 2300 companies came together to demonstrate the latest breakthroughs in innovation, talk about current trends, and show off their newest products.

Because we were trying to fit everything into one day, we didn’t have much time to spend watching presentations, but we made an exception for Rick Bayless. Rick is chef known for putting on a new spin on authentic Mexican cuisine. He walked the crowd through making a delicious guacamole, making sure to add in helpful tips along the way – did you know that most of the products that are meant to speed up avocado-ripening only take one to two hours off the process?! For a 5-7 day method, that’s not really worth it!

Rick Bayless VR 360° coverage!

If you have those fancy VR headsets for your phone, pop those on! Otherwise you can look around with a mouse.
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We also caught the tail-end of an ice shaving demonstration. The carver created a taller version of a gourmet ice cube from a single solid block of ice, perfect for fitting in a highball glass!

Talk about luxury! Best not pour well whiskey in this one…

The ice cream vending machine by Stoelting/Vollrath coined the Self Serve Soft Serve, dispenses ice cream, up to four toppings, and a spoon! The ice cream was delicious, and the ordering process was incredibly simple, making it the perfect choice for ice cream shops wanting to attract customers even when they aren’t open.


We heard some Millennials would rather not speak to humans, well…

They can still get ice cream.

(P.S.) Written by a Millennial staff.
Introverts of the world UNITE!
…but quietly, by yourselves, with ice cream.

As always, the Kitchen Innovation Awards section is a great place to find some of the most unique new products on the market. While we didn’t get pictures of all of these products, some of the ones that stood out were a machine that could peel all of your fruits and vegetables for you, a flatbread toaster, table stabilizers that use hydraulic compression and a spring system, and a pan that will adjust it’s height based on the amount of food in it, making it easy for employees to use.

This giant chocolate fountain is the dream of any fondue-lover!

The chocolate cylinders seen around the fountain rotate and offer an interactive experience for chocolate shaving to add this yumminess to your deserts. Fountains like these have been featured at places like the Bellagio in Las Vegas!


Did you know you could 3D print food? This machine not only takes the work out of some of the more decorative aspects of meal planning, but can also be used for printing off cake toppers that look exactly like the bride and groom!

the future is now

Cocktail, Will Robinson?

A major theme at this year’s show was technology – robots in particular. There was a serv-bot, as well as a salad-bot and a sushi-bot!

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