Foodservice Australia delivers live action and fresh ideas for hospitality industry

Media Release: 1 July 2019

Foodservice Australia delivers live action and fresh ideas for hospitality industry

The Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre was hospitality ground zero for three action-packed days 23-25 June, as thousands of chefs, restaurateurs, café owners, bakers, patissiers, caterers, suppliers and producers gathered for Foodservice Australia.

Visitors discovered over 400 exhibitors, three elite chef competitions, two major conferences and aisle upon aisle of new products and fresh ideas on show.

Event Director Tim Collett says the show has grown year on year to become a major player in the industry. “Once again this year saw a huge range of exhibitors and must-see events, and that helped to draw an even larger crowd than ever before,” he says.

“It proves that now more than ever, live events are the best way to meet suppliers, network with peers and discover the latest trends in food, fit-out and equipment.”

Special events included the Chef of the Year, the annual National Restaurant Conference, the Aged Care Catering Summit, The Sweet Spot, and the Australian Culinary Federation’s ‘Battle of the Pacific’ Restaurant Challenge and Global Chef competitions.

The Sweet Spot was a huge hit, with eager crowds watching demonstrations by master patissiers and chocolatiers each day. Hosted by Nerida Conway and presented by Confeta, Apromo Trading and Unox, this brand new theatre featured the likes of Christopher Thé from Black Star Pastry, Pierrick Boyer from Reverie Café, Monsieur Truffe’s Samanta Bakker, Chocolate Artisan Jessica Pedemont, Santiago Cuyugan from Bibelot and The Sugar Florist Timothea Ridgewell.

The National Restaurant Conference was a sell-out success on Monday 24 June and delivered a snapshot of where the industry is now and where it is headed in the 2020s.

Wes Lambert, CEO of Restaurant & Catering Australia delivered a straight-shooting ‘State of the Industry’ address, while other speakers included renowned restaurateur Chris Lucas, consumer behaviour expert Dr Bri Williams, expert consultants including Kevin Burgin, Howard Tinker, Cathy Goodwin, Eleena Tan, Melissa Pepers, Tim Domelow, Nathan Gunn and Bill Petreski, plus chef innovators Jerry Mai, Matt Wilkinson, Jo Barrett, Kim Wisneski and Steven Rogers. The Conference was proudly presented by R&CA, Rational, Australian Pork and OpenTable.

The Aged Care Catering Summit made its Melbourne debut on Tuesday 25 June, with delegates from aged care facilities and home care providers keen to find out more about the future of dining in this booming market. Sponsored by Rational and compèred by leading food writer Rita Erlich, the range of expert speakers included Aveo Group’s National Food Services Manager John Casey, Cherie Hugo from The Lantern Project, Anne Schneyder from Nutrition Professionals Australia and Dr Angeline Achariya from the Food Innovation Centre at Monash University.

The prestigious Australian Professional Chef of the Year competition was at the centre of the show, with 32 finalists at the top of their game competing in nail-biting heats over the three days. Michael Cole, Head Chef at Georgie Bass Café and Cookery School on the Mornington Peninsula, claimed the coveted title for the second time.

MCs Peter Howard AM and Dani Valent entertained the large crowds, while Head Judge John McFadden led a highly qualified judging team comprising Tom Milligan, Deepak Mishra, Mark Normoyle, Sascha Randle, Daman Shrivastav, Daniel Soto and Bas Van Uyen. Gold sponsors were Australian Pork, Anchor Food Professionals and Unox, and the competition was also generously supported by Alsco, PFD Food Services, Simco, Sous Vide Australia, Ecolab and MCEC.

On Sunday 24 June, the Australian Culinary Federation (ACF) held the Pacific Region semi-finals of the Global Chef Competition. The winners who are headed to Russia to compete in the Worldchefs Congress are Global Young Chef Navneet Reddy and Global Pastry Chef Muni Vikash Chetty, both from Fiji, as well as Cole McDonald from New Zealand.

The ACF Battle of the Pacific Restaurant Challenge saw eight teams of three chefs prepare a two-course menu for 40 guests dining in the restaurant on the show floor. The winning team was Tasmania, comprising Neil Li, Michael Norton and Robin Kelly

Breakfast, lunch and casual dining were under the spotlight at the Café School, sponsored by Mission Foods, Freedom Foods and Lavazza. There were free workshops on making the perfect coffee, vegan menus, new ideas in wraps, smoothies and plant-based milks, sweet treats and global café trends. Presenters included Peter Wright, Adam Khazaal, Pierrick Boyer, Sarah Herbert, Brittany Bertschinger and John Kozsik.

Exhibitors reported doing great business with new and existing customers during the show, with many companies re-booking immediately for next year’s show in Sydney.

David White, Market Development Manager at Simplot says he’s glad to be back exhibiting after a break from trade shows for the past few years. “When you are launching 20 products at once this is the best platform and a lot more cost effective than having reps on the road,” he says. “Most importantly it raises awareness of our stable of brands and keeps Simplot top of mind with our customers.”

Apromo Trading’s Nick Page agrees. “This has been a very good show for us and we are so glad we are here,” he says. “Our sponsorship of The Sweet Spot has been very worthwhile and has really helped to raise awareness of our premium couverture brand, Belcolade.”

The next Foodservice Australia trade show will be held at ICC Sydney 17-19 May 2020. Bookings for exhibitor stands are open now, visitor registration will open later this year.

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Media Contact: Kirsty Hunt

T 03 9999 5460