Sobering Up at the CRFA Show

It’s no secret – well, maybe it is – that those of us in the SOLE (sustainable/seasonal, organic, local, ethical) food scene live in a bit of a bubble. We tend to think of all food as “real” food, made from fresh ingredients, and we tend to frequent restaurants with the same philosophy. But the majority of food service businesses still don’t operate this way. And when I say “food service” I don’t just mean high end restaurants serving artisanal food; food service includes everything from hospitals, hotels, catering companies, school and office cafeterias, sandwich trucks and yes, restaurants, but of all sizes and styles, from little neighbourhood coffee houses to family-style chains and everything in between.

While the philosophy of these establishments may be as different as night and day, they all share some common ground – there are some things they all need to run a successful business: pots and pans, salt and pepper, plates, napkins, dishwashers…

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Where Curly Fries Come From


At first, I was sure I must be dreaming. Pretty ladies stepped out of nowhere to hand me free samples of cheesecake, gelato, or cashews. There was beer, wine, and grilled kangaroo. Everywhere I turned there were displays of gorgeously decorated cakes. Chefs stood over hotplates cooking up dishes of pasta or rosti potatoes, free for the taking. I couldn’t be sure, but there might have been angels singing. I never wanted to leave this blissful place.

Then the ethereal music came to a screeching halt as I came upon a display of salad dressings from a cigarette company. I shook myself out of my sugar-induced coma and noticed displays of chicken wings, available in bags of 500, or frozen burger patties, and all varieties of personal pizzas, sausages and nacho cheese mix.

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