23rd Annual American Express Restaurant Trade Program Connects The Industry's Best

Program Continues to Bring Valued Insight to Restaurateurs at Annual FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen

American Express
Celebrated chefs, restaurant operators and leading hospitality industry professionals will gather in Aspen from June 14-16, 2012, for the 23rd annual American Express Restaurant Trade Program.  An exclusive feature of the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, the weekend event consists of a Kick-off Party, two Afternoon Saloons, two Power Lunches, and four panel discussions offering practices and insights from some of the country's brightest culinary stars, as well as valuable networking opportunities for peers in the field. 

"For over two decades, American Express has supported and strengthened the restaurant industry year round through initiatives like the Restaurant Trade Program," said Curtis Wilson, Vice President and General Manager of the Restaurant and Lodging Industries Group at American Express.  "As an ongoing advocate and business partner to the restaurant industry, the Trade Program is an extension of the value American Express brings to this sector and we are proud to present this unique experience and celebrate the individuals who shape the world of hospitality."  


This year, American Express is pleased to introduce a Trade-only Kick-off Party at Matsuhisa Aspen, which takes place on Thursday, June 14, from 3:00-5:00pm.   For the first time ever, Restaurant Trade Program speakers and attendees have the chance to mingle with fellow executives and get their weekend off to a rousing start.

A selection of Matsuhisa's signature sushi, sashimi, and other innovative dishes will be served by one of Nobu Matsuhisa's award-winning restaurants.

Additionally, the Trade-only Afternoon Saloons take place on Friday, June 15, and Saturday, June 16, in the Hotel Jerome Garden Terrace from 2:30-4:00pm each day.  These casual networking events provide a unique environment for Restaurant Trade Program attendees to mix, mingle and relax while enjoying hand-crafted cocktails and small bites.

The first panel, Tech Talk: Marketing to Today's Diner, will feature Jose Andres, Rick Bayless, Bernardo Hernandez and Danny Meyer.  Whether it's through Twitter or Facebook, e-mail newsletters, or on-premise promotions and events, our experts will discuss how they have harnessed the power of emerging technology to communicate their brand and core values to guests and impact the bottom line. 

During Fame Game: The Reality of TV, experts will share their perspectives on the influence television appearances have on a chef and a restaurant's brand, whether it is a cooking segment on the local news or an Emmy-winning broadcast show.  Panelists include Tim Love, Spike Mendelsohn, Jacques Pepin and Ming Tsai.

While the farm-to-table movement is not new, the practice of chefs in both rural and urban areas growing their own ingredients keeps increasing and inspiring others to join the cause.  On Saturday morning, at Homegrown: Sowing the Seeds for the Future, John Besh, Sean Brock, Niki Leondakis and Michel Nischan will examine the practice of chefs and operators growing their own produce, raising livestock, and more – for the benefit of both the restaurant and the community.

For the final panel, Restaurant Reset: Small Changes, Big Payoff, Grant Achatz, John T. Bettin, Tom Colicchio and Anita Lo will explore ways that chefs and operators can increase sales and drive traffic within their existing restaurants' footprints or with minimal adjustments and investment.

About American Express

American Express is proud to present the 23rd annual Restaurant Trade Program at the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen. American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success.  For more than 30 years assisted in efforts to enhance the growth of the restaurant industry by creating and implementing programs designed to benefit restaurateurs.  American Express also supports the restaurant community through sponsorships and commitments to a diverse range of industry organizations.

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