First Annual and Film Festival Brings Insights and Entertainment During NRA Show Weekend

Reaching a major milestone on Friday, Foodable Network proudly presented the first annual and Foodable Film Festival, the latest foodservice event redefining how leaders interact with one another and the restaurant and hospitality space as a whole.

Hosted at The Ritz-Carlton in Chicago, gathered more than 100 executives, master chefs, restaurateurs, mixologists, and filmmakers for a day of Food Theory, collaboration, education, and entertainment. kicked off with five interactive panel sessions exclusive to the decision makers of the industry, before a cocktail party preceded the Foodable Film Festival, which was open to professionals and consumers alike, and which played a combination of 12 feature-length and short films. During the cocktail party, the attending "Foodable Top 25 Chicago Restaurants winners" received their awards on the red carpet.

The interactive panel sessions covered a broad scope of foodservice challenges and trends, including the rise of craft beverage, spirits strategies and the tipping debate. Two of these sessions, "Disruptors" and "Future of Food," were streamed live and can be found on Foodable's Facebook page. 

Noah Karesh, co-founder and CEO of Feastly, who sat among the experts lined up in the disruptors panel, introduced another angle when discussing the idea of rise of on-demand delivery.

"Is it a function of becoming more on-demand, or is that a function of people's lifestyle changing? You know, wanting to sit on the couch and watch TV. ...A great meal at home becomes much more part of their lifestyle, and I think that's something I'm seeing play up [with] the restaurateurs that I talk to," he said.

And what issues did bring to the surface? In the "Future of Food" interactive session, participants engaged with the idea of the farming system, consumer attitudes on food, and how foods are produced traditionally in industrialized countries.

"One of the biggest failings of our current economic model is that consumers don't actually get the true cost of an item because externalities aren't really taken into account in the capitalist system," Corey Hill, founder and CEO of Indie Food Hub, said. "The same thing with our current production model of agriculture. It's really petroleum intensive. It has a really nasty impact on the environment and on workers. The average piece of food is traveling 1,500 miles before it reaches your plate in the United States...."

"So, a giant challenge for wanting to change the food system — to make it more resilient in the face of climate change, to pay the workers better — is that people are going to have to be educated about the actual cost of items and about the value of paying more for a head of lettuce that wasn't produced with substandard wages, that wasn't produced in ways that harmed the environment," he continued.

The lineup of films featured in the Foodable Film Festival can be found here. For a peek at one, check out the trailer of "Course of Food" below by award-winning director and editor Christopher Hunt.

Excited for next year? Join the movement. Submit your idea for the 2017 film festival. Not a filmmaker or content creator? That doesn't mean you can't get involved. Be a part of the professionals who support the creatives of the industry by joining the film selection committee! Email for more information. 

And if you're just interested in reliving the experience or a newcomer who doesn't want to miss out, stay tuned for more details by visiting