When the World Food Championships began in 2012, the event was held under the neon lights of Las Vegas.
The past few years, though, this global culinary event has found a cozier home here in South Alabama. And on November 7th, hundreds of chefs and restaurateurs will return to The Wharf at Orange Beach for the 7th annual World Food Championships competition.
Over the course of five days, chef competitors from all across the planet will square off in categories that include BBQ, burgers, sandwiches, steaks, bacon, and dessert. There will be several special events and cooking demonstrations throughout the weekend as well.
Which category are we most looking forward to, you might ask? Well that would be the seafood competition, of course.
Alabama Gulf Seafood is a presenting sponsor for the World Food Championships for the third year in a row. Any competing Food Champs will be able to use fresh Alabama seafood product in their dishes, whether they’re in the seafood competition or something else. (We’d be truly impressed if a dessert chef used some of our product.)
In the seafood category, this year’s contestants will be required to focus on fresh Mahi-Mahi in the structured round, which will include preparing the fish on cedar planks or grilling wraps.
“Quality organizations and food products are a big part of WFC’s success,” said Mike McCloud, CEO/President of the World Food Championships. “Alabama Gulf Seafood is both. They are a fantastic organization with a great focus on working with companies and restaurants to provide fresh Gulf seafood year-round.”
Additionally, our Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission chairman and former Top Chef contestant Chef Jim Smith will be in the mix at the WFC. Chef Smith is not only judging the steak and chili competitions—he’ll be doing a cooking demo as well.
“Being around all these amazing chefs, the creativity is contagious,” said Chef Smith. “You’ve got the some of the best culinary minds cooking with the best seafood product. I can’t wait to see what happens.”
Seeing as Alabama’s Gulf Coast is playing host to this wonderful competition, and many international and national competitors may be visiting for the first time, we think it’s only fitting to share our bounty with these world-renowned chefs. We’re already dreaming about those award-winning fresh Gulf seafood dishes.
“We are thrilled to return to the Ultimate Food Fight for another year and provide these talented cooks with the freshest local seafood to create their recipes,” commented Chris Blankenship, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and program administrator for Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission. “We can’t wait to see what amazing dishes these Food Champs construct using Alabama Gulf Seafood.”
All are invited to eat at the table of the World Food Championships! A general admission day pass is $10, and weekend passes are available for $25, with children 12 and under admitted free. There are several other special events requiring tickets as well, so check out their ticket info page before you plan your trip.