On Tuesday, Sept. 27, and Wednesday, Sept. 28, the Restaurant Association of Maryland (RAM) will host approximately 10,000 attendees at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, in Timonium, for the Mid-Atlantic Food, Beverage & Lodging Expo.

The expo, the area’s largest hospitality event, will bring together the best elements of the hospitality industry in a dynamic trade show format. Not only will local companies offer inventive new products to enhance hospitality businesses, but the show will feature chef demonstrations, educational seminars, sampling opportunities and cocktail competitions, as well.

The keynote speaker will be former star quarterback for the Washington Redskins and 40-plus year restaurateur Joe Theismann, who will be sharing his “Game Plan for Success” at noon on Sept. 28. This presentation is free for expo attendees.

Interactive elements for the event will include the following.

  • The Chesapeake Chefs Challenge, a live cooking competition held on both days of the expo, will be hosted by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Greater Baltimore Chapter and the Anne Arundel Community College Hotel, Culinary Arts and Tourism Institute. Each chef will compete for 60 minutes in the hopes of winning the $1,500 grand prize, sponsored by Nestlé Professional. Attendees are invited to watch the competition throughout both days. Finished plates and desserts will be on display for attendees to view.
  • The CRAFT: Local Alcohol Pavilion will feature local breweries, wineries and distilleries from around the region. In addition to their classic libations, these companies also will showcase new and seasonal products.
  • The Mid-Atlantic Battle of the Bottle, presented by Chopin Vodka, will take place on Sept. 27 and will feature the best of the best in bartending, creating seasonal autumn cocktails for a chance to win a prize package worth more than $1,000. The winner will be named by a panel of industry judges.
  • Mix It Up! The Mid-Atlantic’s Biggest and Baddest Bloody Mary Competition will be held Sept. 28 and will offer a chance for restaurants and hotels to showcase a visually stunning Bloody Mary cocktail, adorned with their most creative garnish, for a chance at a $500 prize. The winner will be decided based on a public vote of expo attendees and Facebook likes.

Registration is free for hospitality professionals and can be completed online at www.midatlanticexpo.com. Badges are valid for both days of the expo and will be printed onsite. Attendees must 21 and older. No child care will be available.

Visit www.midatlanticexpo.com for the full schedule of events.

Hilary Yeh is director of Expo at the Restaurant Association of Maryland. She can be reached at 410-290-6800, ext. 1022.