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Shaping The Future Of Food at the 65th Annual Specialty Food Association’s Summer Fancy Food Show

Joyce Appelman, is the Director of Public Relations and Special Events for Total Food Service and previously the National Communications Director for C-CAP, Careers through Culinary Arts Program. An industry leader supporting education and scholarships, she has been instrumental in opening career opportunities for many young people in the foodservice industry. Email her at


he Specialty Food Association (SFA) welcomed over 30,000 attendees and 2,500 exhibitors from around the world to the 65th annual Summer Fancy Food Show on June 23-25 at the Javits Center in Manhattan. North America’s largest specialty food and beverage event for the trade was the place to see and taste 200,000 specialty foods and beverages, and attend a full range of attractions, programming and events. Christina Tosi, two-time James Beard award-winning chef and founder/CEO of Milk Bar was the keynote speaker and she joined SFA President Phil Kafarakis for a Q&A.

(L to R) Front Burner ’19 host Elizabeth Falkner with Joyce Appelman of TFS

During the Front Burner Foodservice Pitch Competition, hosted by chef Elizabeth Falkner, three contestants were given five minutes to extoll the virtues of their foodservice products to a panel of judges. Versatility was the name of the game at the 2019 Front Burner Foodservice Pitch Competition where Chris Muir of Wild Hibiscus Flower Company impressed judges by pitching the company’s Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup product, which has countless applications in food and beverage. Wild Hibiscus Flower Company is a small family company that makes products with minimal ingredients and a long shelf life. Unique to the

(R to L) Specialty Foods chief Phil Karafakis presented top Front Burner/Foodservice honors to Chris Muir of Wild Hibiscus Flowers

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market, the syrup contains whole hibiscus flowers and flavor, giving it both culinary and aesthetic appeal. The syrup can be used for cocktails, baked goods, or vinaigrettes, while the flower can be used as a garnish on salads, charcuterie plates, or desserts. “Our goal is adding value to customers and distributors,” said Muir. “Someone will see the flower in a glass and want to order that at the bar.” Wild Hibiscus Flower Company beat out Small Axe Pepper’s The Bronx Green Hot Sauce, made with serrano peppers grown in community gardens in the Bronx, which was pitched by Daniel Fitzgerald, and Olo & Company’s Chipotle Paste, a concentrat-

Daniel Fitzgerald of Long Island City based Small Axe Peppers brought his firm’s unique story to the show floor

ed chipotle pepper paste in a tube, pitched by Tessa Lowe. Event attendees voted live via text message for the “Fan Favorite” product, which went to Small Axe Pepper’s The Bronx Green Hot Sauce. The judges for this year’s competition included Angela Flenoy, director of innovation and strategy at Sysco; Ken Toong, executive director of University of Massachusetts Amherst Auxiliary Enterprises; and Sean Buchanan, vice president of sales and marketing for Sustainable and Specialty Foods. They scored the syrup high in innova-

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(L to R) University of Massachusetts foodservice chief Ken Toong and Mehdi Menouar

Profile for Total Food Service

July 2019 - Total Food Service  

From - Total Food Service's July 2019 Digital Issue features an exclusive Q&A Interview with restaurateur & author Stratis Mor...

July 2019 - Total Food Service  

From - Total Food Service's July 2019 Digital Issue features an exclusive Q&A Interview with restaurateur & author Stratis Mor...