My Trip To The World’s Largest Food Fight: 2015 World Food Championships

Chef Linkie Marais at World Food Championships

18 Nov My Trip To The World’s Largest Food Fight: 2015 World Food Championships

Chef Linkie Marais at World Food Championships

Me with Kelli Fairchild. We anxiously awaited the results of the Sandwich Competition, and she took 2nd place.

A little earlier this month, I had the opportunity to do something I love. Not only did I get to eat delicately planned and executed food, I got to judge it at the 2015 World Food Championships in Kissimmee, Fla. It was not an easy task, but someone had to do it!

Chef Linkie Marais at World Food Championships

Elevated Shrimp & Grits. I’m still dreaming about the grits!

Approximately 1,100 chefs from 40 states and 17 countries competed in several categories, ranging from pasta, burger and BBQ to dessert, bacon, sandwich and more!

I had the distinct and delicious pleasure of judging the Top 10 rounds for the Bacon and Sandwich competitions. Let’s just say that I am still dreaming about both!

My absolute favorite part of the championship was judging two rounds of the World Chef Challenge. First was the International Division competition, and on Sunday, I took part in judging the finals. Chefs from America, Canada and France competed with their signature dishes, a mystery basket dish and a knife skills competition. As a fellow chef, I think that the coolest thing about seeing three chefs from different countries compete was that while all of them have things in common, each had their own unique style. This was especially evident in the knife skill test. All of the chefs had to do a julienne and a brunoise out of carrots. They also cleaned an artichoke and cleaned a red snapper. If you’ve never cleaned a fish before, it is painstaking work navigating all of the tiny bones! Each of the chefs did a great job, but displayed completely different techniques. Biggest lesson learned: It doesn’t matter how you get the job done as long as you get it done!

Chef Linkie Marais at World Food Championships

Steak, potatoes and mushrooms. Probably my favorite foodie find, all things considered.

The same goes for the mystery basket preparation. Each competitor was challenged to create a dish with alligator, an ingredient that can be quite tough if not prepared correctly. But, with one chef doing tacos and another preparing roasted potatoes with sweet bacon on top of a grilled alligator, they all achieved success… and I reached food nirvana! The dishes they presented were out of this world, and I had to restrain myself from licking some of the plates I was handed.

Congrats to all the winners, and thank you to World Food Championships for letting me be part of this awesomely delicious event!