Stories: A Look Back at a Breakthrough Exhibition
The 2018 Midwest Foodservice Expo begins today, and EZ WINGS will be there! If you’re at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee for MFE, visit us at Booth 346. Our Mesquite Drum Lollies are a featured product of the show this year, and we will be grilling them at our booth. We would love to meet you and share our wings with you, so don’t be shy!
We’ve been so busy that our last attendance at a food show was the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show 2015 in Chicago. NRA Show is not kidding when it says it’s “The International Foodservice Marketplace.” I, Nicole, will never forget being at Chicago’s McCormick Place, feeling like I had traveled to a new world that I didn’t want to leave. There, I fell in love with the foodservice industry and had one of the best experiences of my life.
It almost hurts my heart to be nostalgic about it. I was so terrified on the first day. I was in awe but also overwhelmed by the thousands of professional exhibits. I felt like I didn’t belong there, because I had no idea what I was doing. Luckily, the fear that scared me away from our booth gave me the courage to explore the rest of the show.
I honestly can’t imagine a better exposition than one for food. Listen to me: the food is FREE! It’s obviously a significant investment for the exhibitors, but they are happy to give attendees and fellow exhibitors fantastic food experiences. Thanks to NRA Show 2015, I was able to try ginger beer, nitro cold brew coffee, ricotta fig gelato, lamb empanadas with chimichurri, and yogurt topped with rhubarb jam, strawberries, pecan crumble, and fresh basil.
It didn’t take long before I was on a non-stop adrenaline high, eating stracciatella gelato and prime rib between attending educational sessions like “Craveability” and “Savvy Chefs Leading Sustainable Change.” Nothing could wipe the smile off my face, which was good because my goofy grin invited people to connect with me. At the EZ WINGS booth, the energy was intense as people rushed forward to sample our classic Wing Lollies. Capturing the positive reactions with my camera only added to my excitement.
On the last day, I was no longer terrified. The McCormick Center had become an unexpected home to me. When the exhibitors clapped at the close of the show, I got tears in my eyes. I didn’t want to say goodbye, and I know why. It’s easy to think that the foodservice industry is about food; it’s not. It’s about people…passionate, creative people who want to share their love for food. Food is EVERYTHING because of people. EZ WINGS is grateful to be a part of such an innovative industry of hardworking people, and we hope to see as many of you as possible at the 2018 MFE!