Tag Archives: nra show

The 2013 NRA Show in a Nut Shell

It’s finally here! The National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago, Illinois stars tomorrow, May 18th, and goes on until Tuesday, May 21st. If you’ve never been to one of these shows before, imagine a giant convention all about food. Recipes, products, demonstrations, innovations, you name it. What could be better, right? This year, expect to see over 1,800 suppliers and tens of thousands of buyers all gathering for the event of the season. And speaking of seasoning…

Get ready to see demonstrations from some of your favorite celebrity chefs and restaurateurs, connect with exhibitors and learn about new processes in the industry, listen to presentations from some of the top people in the hospitality field, check out some cool food sculptures, and of course, even sample some delicious dishes.

Two years ago, a certain celebrity came over to visit our booth from a T.V. show that will remain nameless (though it does go well with dip), and ended up wearing our chef coat all day!

Eric Estrada with the ChefUniforms.com Sales Team

Are you going to the show this year? If so, be sure to stop by the ChefUniforms.com booth, # 514.

For more information on the show and a list of attendees, visit show.restaurant.org/Home.

2011 NRA Show in Three Words…

Another year has come and gone, and we’ve made it through another exciting NRA Show. A few of our wonderful sales representatives were able to make it to the NRA Show this year, where they met Peter Del Cotto and Kimber Hoang, our two NRA Contest winners. Below is a picture of our team with Peter: (From left to right) Yary, Diana, Peter (the contest winner), Chanty and Leslie.

When reflecting on their experience at the NRA show, our team said,” Meeting customers was a great experience because it not only gave us the opportunity to stay in touch with them, but we were also able to see what our customers thought of our brand.” Our team was excited to be able to take Peter out to dinner on Sunday night to the Grand Lux Café, where they could speak with him one on one and gain insight as to how our customers perceive ChefUniforms.com. Peter mentioned how he was happy to be at the show and thanked our team for the opportunity ChefUniforms.com gave him.

When our team got back home, we asked them, “What three words would you use to describe the National Restaurant Association Show?” Their responses varied:

–          Yary: “Innovating, Instructive and Networking”

–          Chanty: “Remarkable, Competitive and Extremely Demanding”

–          Leslie: “Entertaining, Exciting and Interesting”

We even had some celebrity guests come and visit our booth, including the one and only Eric Estrada. Not only did Eric come by and try on one of our chef coats but he also kept the coat on all day as he walked around the show!

This year our booth was located across from the Coca Cola booth, where they had a representative on stilts. There was a lot of foot traffic at this new spot, so the team was able to meet and speak with more people from all over the country.

Overall, the trip was a rewarding experience for everyone. Our ChefUniforms.com team had a great time meeting new people, gaining feedback from our customers and learning about new innovations in the culinary industry. I know I speak for the whole team when I say that we can’t wait to see what’s in store at next year’s NRA Show!

See You At The Show!

Finally, it’s the weekend we’ve all been waiting for – the annual National Restaurant Association Show (NRA) in Chicago! As an exhibitor at the NRA, ChefUniforms.com will be located at booth # 1904. So for those of you who will be at the NRA, be sure to come over for a meet and greet with our sales team. And, as an extra incentive to those who do intend to visit our booth, you will receive an exclusive ChefUniforms.com discount! The discount can be used on your next purchase of chef coats, chef pants or chef shoes from ChefUniforms.com

To help you locate us more easily, here’s what the ChefUniforms.com booth # 1904 looks like:

For those who don’t know about the NRA show, it is taking place in Chicago, Illinois from May 21-24. The NRA allows attendees to preview the most cutting-edge kitchen equipment, meet top culinary professionals, and find out what’s cookin’ in the restaurant biz.

Here are a few of this year’s highlights:

  • A special Keynote Presentation by General Colin Powell (yes, the Colin Powell).
  • You can attend the International Wine, Spirits and Beer Event, where you can learn how to make new concoctions and even taste new types of beverages. 
  • At the Technology Pavilion you can watch demonstrations or listen in on an education session.
  • Into Organic food? Head over to the Organic & Natural Pavilion where you can check out the latest trends in natural products.
  • The Kitchen Innovations Pavilion displays the most innovative kitchen equipment on the market (go figure).
  • The International Cuisine Pavilion is your source for traditional meals and beverages from different cultures around the world.

This event is going to be one for the books! Below is a photo of last year’s NRA Show. You can tell our guests were excited to be at our booth (note the spiffy hats), so come check it out for yourself this weekend. We Hope to see you there!

Culinary Professional Winner: Kimber Hoang

Kimber Hoang

Magenta Restaurant


867 Votes

Kimber is one of two winners of our ChefUniforms.com contest. Below you can find her contest entry essay, the recipe she submitted, and our interview Q&A. Bon Appétit!


Why I deserve to go to the NRA:

Hello! I’m very happy to say I will be celebrating my 13th year anniversary of my restaurant, Magenta, this June 18. Without any former culinary education, or much in my pocket to start with, I have created my high end fusion restaurant in a very small town of Corvallis, Oregon. Food is my passion and is an art to me, and is due to eating very well at home. I had to do what I had to do to build my little dream. Never have built a wall nor done any dry wall stuff before, I have figured a way to make my little tiny restaurant in a mall across from OSU campus looked “as if they were sitting in Paris”, as many of our customers have said. Nine years later, I was fortunate enough to have found a building in downtown of Corvallis of my very own. It is now quite the “amazing building”, and most from my own sweat and time. And, this last August, I just made a purchase of another building downtown. I am creative and very original. I don’t like to copy other’s recipes, as I think it is more fun to create my own and i can have another excuse to pat myself on the back :). Since Magenta restaurant opened, I have made it to several front pages of the newspapers, sunset magazine, opened several more other restaurants in town. I am known in town as the sauce gal! I am all about sauce! Flavor is a huge thing for me. It can look pretty, but if it doesn’t taste flavorful, it isn’t going to do it for me. I also hold my very own courses on cooking, “Feel the Flavors”. This teaches people to use all of their senses while cooking, and using the last is their tongue, and only if they have to.
Now, I ask myself this question too, “Why do I deserve to go to the NRA?” My whole heart and soul is in the restaurant industry, I have so much more to tell as I am very proud of all the things I have created and done in the past 13 years. You will have a person you can share and be proud of going to the NRA!

My Recipe:

Chilean Sea Bass & Sautéed Pork in a Hot Dried Pan:

1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoon of chopped garlic
1/4 cup of chopped green onions
stir around to get the garlic cooking
add 2 cups ground pork (doesn’t matter if it’s lean or fatty, you’ll just have more fat to dispose)
3 tsp of 3crab brand fish sauce (or any brand, just balance with sugar as the more expensive brands have more sugar content)
1/4 cup chopped mushrooms (any kind, they are all good!)
1/8 cup chopped carrots
1/2 tsp vegetarian base
2 tbsp diced fresh basil
1 tbsp of chopped kaffir lime leaves, or lemongrass if it’s easier to find.
1/4 tsp white pepper or black pepper if you don’t have white.

Cook until pork is greyish in color (doesn’t sound pretty but it’s the color you are looking for.
Now, butterfly your big chunk of Chilean Sea Bass, if you can’t find this bass, any other fatty and flaky fish is fine. When using a thin fish, you will not have to butterfly.
Sprinkle fish with 1 tsp of fish sauce, lightly rub into fish.
Pour pork mixture over one end of the bass, then roll over to the end to form a log.
Wrap banana leaves all over the bass log and cover as much as you can, tying using strips of the leaves.
Bake at 375
Buy a piece of fresh fish so you can have it a little rare!
10 minutes after oven has reached its temperature
Finish with white wine and cream in pan for a quick glaze


The Interview:

1.       How does it feel to win an all-expense paid trip to the 2011 NRA Show?

Very thankful to all my great friends and big fans from of Corvallis and the surrounding cities.

2.       What do you plan on getting out of your trip to the NRA?

Learn about new tools in all aspects towards a perfect restaurant.  (I’m opening another restaurant, yet in a very small space and with an entry of an alley.  I will need to fit everything effectively yet keeping comfortable space)

3.       How did you go about getting all of those votes? What did you do that helped the most (Facebook, Emails, etc)?

Email addresses from customers on file, requesting customers to leave their email addresses in our log book for this competition, Yes Facebook & texting all of my friends with a smartphone.

4.       Why did you want to become a chef?

I truly love eating well!  I enjoy seeing friends enjoying their food!  Yet, becoming a chef was never a lengthy planned deal.  I can tell you the whole story when I talk to you…

5.       What fabric and style of uniform do you enjoy wearing most?

Women fit most definitely!  And cotton, with some blends OK.  We’ve been told, many times, we are very stylish in the kitchen!  Thanks to you guys!

6.       Do you enjoy dining out in your free time?

Any moment I can as it is very much my true passion!  I don’t mind spending hundreds of dollars when it comes to eating well…and I only drink well!

7.       Do you ever get menu ideas from your competitors?

Of course!  I have to see what others are doing in the very near areas so I know NOT to do the same thing as they!  And if I find that once my style or recipe is being used by someone else around, I will immediately change it!  I get ideas on using products, I will be the person creating the rest!

8.       Do you see any changes in food trends?

No, for at least the last 13 years!  It has been modern with a touch of history for this long.  However, the “organic” and “local” thing… is now more prominent!  And of course mending style for allergies that didn’t surface until this decade!

9.       Is there any one thing you would have done differently in starting your culinary career?

Yes, silly thing such as purchasing a business and basically demolished it, using it only for its space!  Yet, I learned a lot too from having no money left, I had to do most things myself, such as building walls!   Cooking related, I enjoyed every moment and wouldn’t know of a better way!

10.   What advice would you give to someone who wants to go into the culinary field?

Organization, know your tools, be the creator, feel from your very own senses.  Get ideas yet Do Not copy others!  Oh, you really can’t be in this field unless you are speedy!

Congratulations again, Kimber, and remember to come see us at the show at Booth #1904!

Culinary Student Winner: Peter S. Del Cotto

Peter S. Del Cotto

Trocaire College Russell J. Salvatore School of Hospitality and Business


383 Votes

Peter is the first of two winners of our ChefUniforms.com contest. Below you can find his contest entry essay, the recipe he submitted, and our interview Q&A. Bon Appétit!

Why I deserve to go to the NRA: 

I deserve to go to the NRA show because I want to improve my skills and serve my community by opening a restaurant in my home town. The NRA show will not only broaden my knowledge base but make me a better person, chef and family man. I have traveled all over the world serving our country and want to give back to those who supported me throughout my life such as the local community, parents, family, friends, fellow colleagues, and certainly not least, my professors. I am currently studying for my degree in Hospitality Management and have a 4.0 GPA. Unfortunately, I am also a victim of corporate downsizing and unemployed. Due to the lifestyle change, the decision was made to totally retrain into a different industry and go into business for myself and my family. The trip to the NRA show allows me to get immersed into the industry and get a restaurant and culinary world view, Not to mention meet the great people of the industry! Please consider my essay for the culinary student award. My family and I would be forever grateful to Chef Uniforms.com and the NRA. As an added bonus, I am submitting a picture of me in one of your handsome embroidered chefs coats while I’m in action in our kitchen at home.
Best regards.
Peter S. Del Cotto

My Recipe:

Simple Marinara Sauce:

2 #10 (6lb) cans of Hunts Tomato Sauce
2 6 oz Hunts Tomato Paste
1 Large Yellow Onion or Sweet Onion Small Dice
6 Large Cloves Garlic (Minced)
1 Tbsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper                             
2 Tbsp Salt, then salt to taste
2 Tbsp Italian Seasoning or equivalent amounts of basil, thyme, dried parsley and oregano
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 Fresh Basil Leaves (tear into fine pieces)
1/4 Cup Grated Parm/Regg Cheese

Cooking Directions:

In large sauce or stock pot over med heat:
Add olive oil and once heated, add onions and salt, sweat onions for 8 minutes stirring occasionally then add garlic, dried spices and sweat for another two minutes.
When finished, lower heat to med low and add tomato paste, stir frequently until spices and onions are incorporated into the tomato paste. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Then add tomato sauce and stir to incorporate ingredients.
Add Fresh Basil.
Bring sauce to a simmer slowly, stir occasionally.
Let cook 15 min at reduced heat med low to low
Add cheese and cook an additional 5 minutes.
Note: Please make sure that the heat is not too high or you will ‘scorch’ the sauce. An evil that every Grandma tells you to avoid! However, if it does scorch, do not scrape it off of the bottom of the pan, transfer the remainder of the sauce to another pan/pot and stir on! Leave the scorched pan to soak and have the kids attack it when done with dinner… 🙂

The Interview:

1.        How does it feel to win an all-expense paid trip to the 2011 NRA Show?

Well, I have to admit, pretty darn good! When I received the notification that I won, I was elated beyond belief, I couldn’t wait to post the good news to my family and friends. In addition, to have an all-expense paid trip is a dream of a lifetime that became a reality.

2.        What do you plan on getting out of your trip to the NRA?

After graduating, I am opening my own restaurant. The NRA show has every exhibitor in the industry available to meet with and consult. I am sure I will walk out of the NRA show a well-educated man on the restaurant biz. In addition, I hope to network with other leaders in the industry and utilize their experiences to mold my restaurant.

3.        How did you go about getting all of those votes? What did you do that helped the most (Facebook, Emails, etc.)?

                As part of my degree program, students must take a sales and marketing course. Last semester, we covered the impacts of social media and their use in the hospitality industry. Come to find out, the impacts were huge and through their use, saved many restaurants during the economic downturn. When the contest started, I fired up my laptop and started an event on my Facebook page. I individually messaged the event to my 290 friends and asked them to forward the event to their friends. In addition, I contacted Trocaire College’s web and social media director, Jackie Bryant and asked if she could get the college involved and support me in the contest. Other items that helped were writing a press release and sending it out to the local media and an occasional ‘tweet’ on Twitter.

4.       Why did you want to become a chef?

Having traveled all over the world while serving in the military, I have experienced the tastes and smell of many cultures’ foods. Food tells a certain story about the people and their environment. I want to become a chef because I want to share my experiences in other cuisines besides classical American by highlighting popular dishes of each respective culture.

5.       What fabric and style of uniform do you enjoy wearing most?

For me, I wear a white, basic, poly-cotton blend, long sleeve chef coat. Some of the reasons for this choice are that the coat is light and breathes well, plus it washes well and I do not have to iron it. 🙂

6.       Do you enjoy dining out in your free time?

Yes, we dine out at least two times a week. It can be anything from the local pizza joint    to casual fine dining at a local independently owned restaurant.

7.       Do you see any changes in food trends?

                Yes, I have been doing a lot of research on upcoming food trends and utilizing the NRA’s website to gather my information. Interestingly, there are many trends that are in high demand such as, tapas, Asian, food trucks, affordable entrees with reduced portion sizes and reduced priced apps during the week.

8.       What are your future plans, once you become a full-fledged professional Chef?

                After working the line in the restaurant, I would like to eventually take the Executive chef’s position with the ability later on to manage the business entirely. If business is good, I may just open another restaurant in another part of the U.S.

9.       Is there any one thing you would have done differently in starting your culinary career?

Start it early in life! The restaurant business is demanding and there are long hours in the kitchen. By starting earlier, not only do you gain the fundamental skills to base your experiences on but also the ability to cope well under pressure and fatigue.

10.   What advice would you give to someone who wants to go into culinary school?

You must ask yourself several questions before even thinking about culinary school:

  1. Do I like people? Am I independent or do I work well with others?
  2. Do I like to work long hours? Weekends? Holidays?
  3. Do I take directions well and have the ability to produce what is asked of me?
  4. Am I doing this for the money or the love of the career?
  5. If I own my restaurant, am I willing to work without getting a paycheck every week?
  6. Can I accept constructive criticism or feedback from fellow co-workers, managers, and customers?

If you answered positively to the questions, you are ready to investigate and follow your culinary dream. If not, look into other aspects of the industry such as, lodging, cruise lines, and air transportation. There is a variety of careers within the hospitality industry to choose from.

Congratulations again, Peter, and remember to come see us at the show at Booth #1904!

We have a winner!

That’s right. We have a winner – actually, make that winners! Congratulations to Kimber Hoang from Magenta Restaurant and to Peter S. Del Cotto from Trocaire College, for winning the ChefUniforms.com contest for an all-expense paid trip to the 2011 National Restaurant Show in Chicago, IL!

We were able to catch these two lucky winners and ask them a few questions about themselves and how they won.  Their answers will be posted shortly, so be sure to keep an eye out for the next two posts.

                                Kimber Hoang                                         Peter S. Del Cotto


                                   867 Votes                                                     383 Votes

Here is a recap of what they’ve won:

  • Round-trip airfare to and from Chicago O-Hare International Airport
  • Entrance fee to the NRA Show
  • Four  night stay at the Club Quarters Chicago Central Loop Hotel
  • Check for $425 to be used for taxi rides and food
  •  And their very own featured article on the Chef Vibes Blog.

We would like to express our sincere thanks to all who participated in this contest. Unfortunately, we couldn’t send all 31 of our contestants to the show, but don’t worry… there will be more chances to win fabulous prizes! As for the NRA Show, we are hoping to make this contest an annual event, so be sure to check back for next year’s contest! And if you do make it out to the show this year, be sure to stop by our booth (#1904) and say hi!

Don’t forget – contestants, family, friends, and loyal readers – that all this fun was brought to you by ChefUniforms.com!

ChefUniforms.com Contest…Let The Voting Begin!

As you probably already know (since this is our third blog post on this topic), today is the first day of voting for the ChefUniforms.com Contest contestants!

What you may not already know is that the contestants need your help to win. It is your choice who you think deserves to win an all-expense paid trip to the 2011 NRA Show in Chicago, Illinois! So go to our voting page, choose your favorite culinary professional or culinary student, and get your vote on!

These individuals have worked their fingers to the bone (probably a chicken bone), in order to become great culinary professionals. They work (or study, for those who are students) their you-know-whats off in order to prepare the best meals for their customers (or professors), and are now awaiting their adoring public’s votes. Every vote counts, so if you’re one of the contestants, don’t forget to vote for yourself! And remember: only one vote per person is allowed!

Now get out there, vote and spread the word!

The Countdown Is On!

That’s right, professional chefs and culinary students, you heard it here! There is only one week left to participate in our fabulous contest! In other words, you have 7 MORE DAYS until the contest registration closes, and you’ll have missed the opportunity of a lifetime. In case you didn’t hear about it yet, ChefUniforms.com will be sending two lucky winners to the 2011 National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago, Illinois! For more details, you can read all about it in our blog “Win A Trip To The NRA Show From ChefUniforms.com!

Come on, folks. We’re talking about the trip of a lifetime! You will be able to meet new and exciting people, learn new and exciting things, and take a new and exciting trip… oh! Did I mention it’s all FREE?! Take a chance and enter our contest. Who knows, you just might win! If not, hey! You still get a 10% off promo code just for entering, which you can use during your next visit to ChefUniforms.com! It’s a win/win, what have you got to lose?

Still not convinced that you don’t want to miss this event? Check out last year’s show:

Can’t see the video? Click here.

Trust us when we say you don’t want to miss this year’s event!

For more information about the contest and for complete rules and regulations, please visit www.chefuniforms.com/contest.

Win A Trip To The NRA Show from ChefUniforms.com!

ChefUniforms.com NRA Contest

Attention all culinary professionals and culinary students! Do you dream of meeting some of the most influential people in your industry? Do you love to learn and experience new and exciting things in the culinary field?  Do you like free trips? If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, we’ve got the opportunity of a lifetime for you to win a trip to the NRA Show—on us.

ChefUniforms.com will be sending two lucky winners to the 2011 National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago, Illinois! But wait… there’s more.  Not only will the winners get into the NRA show for free, but they will also get an all-expense paid trip to the NRA show which includes: round trip flights to Chicago, a four night stay at the Club Quarters Chicago Central Loop Hotel, a check valued at $425 for taxi fares and meals AND your very own featured article on our Chef Vibes Blog! I know you’re thinking it can’t get much better than this, but it does. While there are only two grand prize winners, everyone who submits a complete entry will get a 10% off promo code which can be applied to your next purchase at ChefUniforms.com!

There’s got to be some sort of catch, right? Nope, no catch. All you have to do to enter is fill out our online entry form at www.chefuniforms.com/contest (by April 3rd), submit an original recipe, a photo of the dish and of yourself, and a short description of why you believe you deserve to go to the NRA. You will then be sent a link to your very own voting webpage on April 4th, which you should send to all of your friends and relatives, encouraging them to vote for you. Votes will be tallied after the virtual voting booths close on April 29th, and the Grand Prize winners will be announced on May 2nd.

Let the contest begin!

For more information about the contest and for complete rules and regulations, please visit www.chefuniforms.com/contest.

%d bloggers like this: