NRA Show Announces Chef Lineup


TORONTO — The National Restaurant Association has released a lineup of chefs, mixologists and sommeliers that will showcase their culinary expertise and demonstrate their techniques at its annual tradeshow. The show will take place from May 18 to 21 at McCormick Place in Chicago and will celebrate the group’s 100th anniversary.

The Restaurant Show will host various stages across the show floor, including a demonstration featureing James Beard Award-winning chef Abe Conlon, of Fat Rice Restaurant in Chicago. Conlon will discuss how he recreates Old World heritage recipes utilizing the techniques and technology of today (May 18 at 12 p.m.). In addition, James Beard Award-winning chef Zachary Engel will bring the magic of Israeli cuisine to the show floor on May 21 at 11 a.m.

The World Culinary Showcase will also feature talents including:

  • Gerry Garvin — an acclaimed chef, author and television host known for his television series, Turn Up the Heat with G. Garvin.
  • Abra Berens — chef at Garnor Farm in Three Oaks, Mich.
  • Diana Davila — chef and owner of Mi Tocaya Antojeria in Chicago. She has been named one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs (2018) and Eater Chicago’s Chef of the Year (2017).
  • Jason Hammel — chef of the Lula Cafe in Chicago’s historic Logan Square and Marisol Restaurant at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Hammel recently won the Jean Banchet 2018 Chef of the Year award and was a James Beard Best Chef finalist.
  • Rick Bayless — a chef with four award-winning restaurants in Chicago who has won six James Beard Awards.
  • Hari Pulapaka — an award-winning chef and author with four James Beard Award semifinalist nods as Best Chef-South and multiple Food & Wine People’s Best Chef recognitions.
  • Chris Sayegh — a pioneer in using cannabis-infused fine dining to elevate the perception of marijuana in mainstream media through his company, The Herbal Chef. Sayegh produces gourmet edibles, THC-infused dinners, as well as catered and private dinners and is the subject of two television shows.
  • Kari Underly — the author of the James Beard-nominated book, The Art of Beef Cutting: A Meat Professional’s Guide to Butchering and Merchandising.
  • Andrew Zimmern — a four-time James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, writer and teacher.
  • James Tagg — executive chef of Manchester United who is responsible for developing and innovating contemporary authentic dishes for 75,000 avid sports fans at any given time.

In addition to the chefs featured at the World Culinary Showcase stage, a number of master mixologists and sommeliers will also be featured, including:

  • Tony Abou-Ganim — author of The Modern Mixologist: Contemporary Classic Cocktails.
  • James Bowers — national brand ambassador for The Macallan
  • Michael Carroll — co-founder and head brewer, Band of Bohemia
  • Jarmel Doss — assistant bar director at The Office in Chicago
  • Charles Joly — founder of Crafthouse Cocktails, a line of premium, bottled cocktails that debuted in 2013.
  • Maxx Kliener — manager of Mixology and a Level-1 sommelier. He was also instrumental is revolutionizing the Carnivale bar program.
  • Brian Schnell — a member of the Band of Bohemia team

More information is available at

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