In honor of National Bacon Lover's Day, the 2018 Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo is bringing the BACON to this highly anticipated culinary event. Eager to win the crown, Roman Cota, our Regional Manager & Culinary Leader, will compete to win the finest and most creative dish featuring bacon!
The winner will be crowned the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo Rapid Fire Champion, receive $1,000, get bragging rights, and gain exposure to over 100 media outlets including the Food & Beverage Magazine, Nation's Restaurant News, local television and radio affiliates as well as 9,000 industry peers! Roman will present his Pork Belly Bowl of Fire in this year’s competition!
Event Details: Monday, August 20, 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM, Center Stage, Los Angeles Convention Center
We spent time with Roman asking him about himself and his interest in the competition:
How did you get involved with the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo?
I started attending the WHFE a few years ago, representing Wedgewood and the CRA – California Restaurant association.
Why did you decide to compete in the 2018 Rapid Fire Challenge?
It sounds like a fun cooking contest involving bacon. What is your background? I started my career in restaurants at the age of 15 in the back of the house but quickly moved to the front. I was a bus boy, server, bar back. Then I got into catering. I was the catering Director for Cal State Stanislaus for 5 years and General Manager for a Catering company in Fresno for 10 years and a short period Executive Chef for a large hospital. Before starting my career with Wedgewood.
What is it about the culinary arts that you enjoy most?
I really started to focus on the culinary aspect of the business when I was the GM for the catering company, I wanted to manage all aspects of the business and I learned all I could culinary wise in order to manage that aspect of the company. What I enjoy most is the creativity but bringing it together with reality, for example if you make a great say hors d’oeuvres, its fancy and unique but can you make it for a 1000 people? And now can you make it for 1000 people every weekend. Also is it profitable. So I enjoy the ability to come up with great items that can be duplicated for catering and banquets and can be taught to other culinary staff that are unique, trendy and easy to reproduce and has good margins.
Who inspired/inspires you?
I have and have had a few bosses that have inspired me, individuals that passion for catering and banquets is as strong as mine. It’s a unique business that you just don’t wake up and say I love Catering & Banquets. Somehow it finds you and it’s rewarding to find other people that love it as much as you do.
What would you do with the $1,000?
Give it to my wife or buy her something or take her on a nice weekend. Sometimes our lives are very busy (ok mine) and we just need a break to get away.
Any fun facts about you, Roman?
- I love to go backpacking - latest trip was to Zion National Park
- I collect old cameras, I am not a photographer but I love old cameras. I would say I have 75-100 in my collection
- My wife and I have 5 kids together and their ages are 21, 20,19,18, & 16