In its 31st year, Catersource Conference & Tradeshow continues to be the premier gathering for professionals who have built their careers in the catering and events industries. Three days of conference sessions coupled with two full days of tradeshow exhibitions, an opening and closing general session, awards ceremony, a leadership luncheon, and three evening events will keep attendees invigorated! All the major industry associations will be in attendance, conference sessions will allow attendees to keep their accreditations current, and “surprise and delight” installations are in the works to keep your social posts snappy. It’s all here in Orlando March 27–30. Here’s a look at a few details!
Closing general session speaker: Chef Art Smith
Chef Art Smith is the executive chef and co-owner of Blue Door Kitchen & Garden in Chicago, Southern Art & Bourbon Bar in Atlanta, Art & Soul in Washington DC, Art Bird & Whiskey Bar at Grand Central Terminal in New York City, and Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Florida Kitchen & Southern Shine Bar at Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Smith has received two James Beard Foundation awards, the culinary profession’s highest honor, and has cooked for some of the world’s most famous celebrities. In 1997, Smith became the personal, day-to-day chef to Oprah Winfrey, a position that lasted 10 years. Smith now coordinates and cooks for special events all around the world. He is a frequent guest on the Food Network, the Cooking Channel, and Bravo.
Smith is the author of “Back to the Table”; “Kitchen Life: Real Food for Real Families”; “Back to the Family”; and “Art Smith’s Healthy Comfort,” with a focus on healthy cooking and healthy living.
Chef Smith is the founder of Common Threads, a nonprofit organization teaching low-income children to cook wholesome and affordable meals since 2003. He believes that through hands-on cooking and introducing children to fresh foods we can help prevent childhood obesity, reverse the trend of poor eating habits, and learn about diversity and tolerance through the celebration of our cultural differences and our commonalities.
In 2015 Smith launched a non-profit organization, Reunion, Florida Garden and Kitchen School, in Madison, FL at the historic Wardlaw-Smith House near his childhood home in Jasper, FL. At Reunion students of all ages receive free classes on Southern cooking traditions, horticulture, and weather forecasting via Weather Stem systems.
In 2008 Smith received an Honorary MBA Degree, awarded by the Dedman School of Hospitality at Florida State University. On May 19, 2012 Smith received an Honorary Doctorate of Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales University, North Miami Campus.
Smith lives in Chicago, IL and Jasper, FL with his husband, renowned artist Jesus Salgueiro. Catersource is delighted to have Chef Smith onstage at its closing general session on Thursday morning, March 30.
Diced competition 2023
The annual Diced competition will be held on the Culinary Main Stage on March 29, and we are currently seeking a few more chefs to compete in this lively event. Six chef competitors will receive a mystery box of ingredients, a pantry of staples, and 30 minutes to complete a delicious task to delight our three judges and be crowned the winner. Will it be a short plate? Appetizer? Something seasonally apropos? No one knows until the chefs hit the stage.
Bryce Chebren from Stateje Fourteen (now with Footers Catering) was one of the six coompetitors in last year's Diced competition. Photo courtesy WASIO Photography
The judges for last year's Diced competition were (from left): keynote speaker Christina Matteucci (David Beahm Experiences), Duval Warner (Ranch 45), and Chris Taylor (who won the 2021 competition). Photo courtesy WASIO Photography
As always, a variety of boards, small plates, and other vessels will be set out. Once the “start bell” has been sounded chefs will be able to open their mystery boxes, grab their plating pieces, access additional ingredients from the pantry, refrigerators, or shelves and begin work. It’s fast paced, fun, and a little bit of smack talk is always expected!
One thing that hasn’t changed, however—a cash prize for the winner and one for the “audience favorite!” Email [email protected] for details or to express your interest in competing.
Catersource complete: We are family!
The backbone of this event, of course, is the stellar education presented each year and the exhibit hall floor offering the latest in catering and event equipment, supplies, and tastes. This year, expect over 100 classes to choose from via the Catersource-only pass just in the conference area alone, Tuesday through Thursday, March 28–30. With a combined The Special Event pass, you double your opportunity for learning. Want a look at the conference schedule? Go to https:// schedule.catersource.com/ and get your look. After January 06, most sessions will be scheduled into their final time/date. You can also search by track, conference, association, and accreditation.
Chef Nettie Frank delivered two sessions on the Culinary Experience Stage last year: Infuse Your Business with CBD and Mimics & Mishaps: Churros a la Mickey & Other Catering Magic.. Photo courtesy WASIO Photography
Chef Robert Mitchell with Bold Catering & Design talks pastries last year on the Culinary Experience Stage. Photo courtesy WASIO Photography
Chef Jason Sutton with Footers Catering whips up some Late Night Noshes in 2022. Photo courtesy WASIO Photography
On Wednesday and Thursday, head to the exhibit hall fl oor for opening and closing general sessions plus classes on the Ignite stage—and more surprises and networking opportunities along the way.
The exhibit hall floor offers the latest in equipment and supplies. Photo courtesy WASIO Photography
The samples are always a highlight on the Catersource tradeshow floor. Photo courtesy WASIO Photography
King's Hawaiian serves up a few bites on the tradeshow floor during last year's conference. Photo courtesy WASIO Photography
As for the exhibit hall, 2023 will tout a combined show floor, mixing The Special Event exhibitors with Catersource exhibitors for less of a “church and state” feel. After all, we are family—events and catering are hand and glove. We are a perfect fit and stronger together!
Registration is open!
If you are reading this article prior to January 06, quick!, head over to https://informaconnect.com/catersource-thespecialevent and register now for the lowest prices available. After January 06, we start our Early Bird rate (still a great deal). Hotel and travel information can also be found via the navigation bar at the top of the screen.