Top summer events for restaurant industry employees

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Most people's summer plans consist of cold drinks, beach trips and plenty of lounging. But why not squeeze in a little business to accompany the pleasure? This year, when you're itching for a getaway, plan your journey around one of these restaurant-centric events where you can boost your career and take in a new city.

Western Foodservice and Hospitality Expo, Los Angeles
If you've always wanted to see the City of Angels but haven't justified spending a grand on a plane ticket, now is your chance. The Western Foodservice and Hospitality Expo is scheduled to take place August 25 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Running since 1936, the event is one of the largest restaurant and foodservice industry gatherings, consisting of more than 400 vendors and 8,000 restaurants. 

Plan a trip to LA this August to catch one of the biggest expos in the country. Plan a trip to LA this August to catch one of the biggest expos in the country.

According to the event's website, the expo boasts three days of restaurant tips and tricks including menu trends, interior design and decor, and networking opportunities. After you're done mingling, leave room in your schedule so you can take in LA's thriving art scene, diverse dining options and wild nightlife. 

National Products Expo East, Baltimore
Baltimore might not be the first place to come to mind when mapping out your summer travels, but that doesn't make it any less appealing of a place to stay. Visit Charm City at the tail end of summer to catch the National Products Expo East that spans all things pertinent to organic food. In case you haven't picked up a restaurant-related publication lately, offering local and organic items has never been hotter. This year, a number of major companies have marched toward offering GMO-free products, which is reason to stay informed. 

"Hit the town to explore Baltimore's distinguished neighborhoods and historic charm."

After the three-day convention September 17 to 19, hit the town to explore its distinguished neighborhoods and historic charm. According to Fodors, you can take a water taxi to Fort McHenry where a British attack took place during the War of 1812. Before you leave, stop by Piedrigrotta Bakery, which holds claims to making the first tiramisu. 

Food and Wine Festival, Hawai'i
If you have archipelago lust and you're in dire need of some menu inspiration, pack your best beach and business attire for the Hawai'i Food and Wine Festival that runs from August 29 to September 13. This year's signature event Seven Chefs, One Big Island includes a meet and greet with renown chefs and winemakers, a sumptuous meal and a chance to rub elbows with like-minded foodies. 

After you've had your fair share of Hawaiian fare, explore the islands' mesmerizing volcanoes and white-sand beaches. Lonely Planet pointed out what may be the only thing wrong with visiting Hawai'i is picking what island to visit. If you're seeking thrills then the Big Island may entice you with its massive volcano Kilauea and abundance of wildlife like sea turtles and humpback whales. If good eats and ample sun are your happy place, consider spending the remainder of your trip on O'ahu. 

There's really no wrong answer here. Just pick what you'd like to learn and where you'd like to explore and enjoy making the most of your travel budget. You can return wiser and tanner. 

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