It's like eight TV chef competition shows in one — but it's live and in Las Vegas. That's the first annual World Food Championships, to be held in everybody's favorite sleepy Western village, er, Sin City, from the first through the fourth of November.
Adam Richman, host of Man v. Food, Amazing Eats, and Adam Richman's Best Sandwich in America, among other shows, is big enchilada, overseeing eight separate on-stage competitions featuring as many as 450 competitors — everything from professional chefs to smoke-crazed barbecue teams to just plain folks. Seven preliminary contests will revolve around barbecue, chili, burgers, sandwiches, side dishes, best recipe, and a Chef's Challenge event, with the winners from each duel participating in the grand-prizewinning Final Table cookoff. A total of $300,000 in cash prizes will be awarded. Celebrity judges will include chefs Kerry Heffernan, Myron Mixon, Marc Murphy, and Nadia G., as well as Barbara Fairchild, former longtime editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit, and myself. TheDailyMeal.com is a media sponsor of the event, and we'll be covering the competitions as they happen.
The World Food Championships weekend — to be held in various venues at the Bally's Paris, and Caesars Palace hotels — is the brainchild of Mike McCloud and Larry Oliphant of Trype Targeting, a Tennessee-based marketing and branding firm whose other enterprises include the KCBS Great American BBQ Tour, the World's Championship Chili Cookoff, the BBQ Raceway Series, and the Sam's Club National BBQ Tour. You may sense a certain theme here.
Coordinating the professional talent and celebrity chefs are Michael Psaltis and Cameron Levkoff of New York-based culinary agency The Cea. "The idea," says Psaltis, "is for this to be a kind of Superbowl of food."
A kickoff bash at Caesars Paris Pool on Thursday evening, the first, will benefit Keep Memory Alive, which raises awareness and support for a popular Las Vegas charity, the Cleveland Clinic's Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
Most of the competitions are open to the public at no charge Tickets for specific events, ranging in price from $25 for the Rubbin' Rebels Rib Fest to $150 for the Keep Memory Alive benefit party to $550 for an all-weekend, all-access pass, are available online.