Turn on a television these days and you’re likely to see one of many popular food competition shows. You’ll also find countless food festivals, chili cook-offs, barbecue events, online recipe contests and other food challenges going on every week in cities across America.
That’s where the idea for the World Food Championships – which will be held at Bally’s Nov. 1 – 4 – came from.
“The World Food Championships is basically the natural culmination of all of these food competitions – our national obsession with food as well as the desire to see who’s the best – to see the best compete against the absolute best and see what happens,” said Jeff Morris, communication director for the World Food Championships. “It’s the marriage of food, which we love, and sports competition, which we also love.”
Adam Richman, culinary expert known for his role on the Travel Channel’s “Man v. Food,” will host the four-day food festival and cooking competition, which will feature culinary champions squaring off for food supremacy in several food categories and for their share of the $300,000 total prize purse.
The categories will include classic American cuisine: barbecue, chili, burgers, sandwiches, side dishes, a recipe championship featuring winners of online recipe contests, and a World Chef Challenge, open to some of the best chefs in America’s greatest food cities.
Around 300 competitors will be on hand to cook up their specialties in Vegas. In order to compete in the invitational tournament, chefs must have qualified, won an award or contest, or received an acclaim to get there.
The winners of each of the seven categories will go on to the final table where they will square off with their signature dishes. Richman will be the host of the final table and a panel of celebrity and notable foodie judges will determine the winner.
Morris said Las Vegas was a natural fit for the location of the World Food Championships.
“We had a big media week last week with Adam Richman and he talked about how Las Vegas is America’s playground – you can find whatever you want in terms of food on any level – it’s all there from fine dining to great hole-in-the-wall places. Las Vegas clearly has food down and it has food down well.”
The World Food Championships will also include a food expo with live stage shows and hourly cooking demonstrations. The competitions and demonstrations at Bally’s on Friday and Saturday are free to attend and open to the public. Guests will be able to buy championship ribs from across the country or purchase a chili tasting and vote for their favorites, which will weigh into the competitors’ scores.
In addition to Richman, several notable chefs and food celebrities are scheduled to appear, including: Chris Hanmer, winner of Bravo’s “Top Chef Just Desserts,” Marc Murphy, star of Food Network’s “Chopped,” Kerry Heffernan, contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” Elizabeth Falkner, celebrity chef on “Top Chef Masters” and runner-up on Food Network’s “Next Iron Chef,” Antonia Lofaso, chef on Bravo’s “Top Chef: Chicago” and “Top Chef All-Stars,” and more.
In addition to the free events, there are also several VIP ticketed opportunities available, including:
- Thursday, Nov. 1 from 7 – 10 p.m. at the Paris Las Vegas Pool – WFC Champions Reception hosted by Richman, benefiting Keep Memory Alive. Enjoy fine food, food celebrities and drinks from world famous mixologist Francesco LaFranconi. Tickets are $150 online in advance and $175 at the door.
- Friday, Nov. 2 from 7 – 10 p.m. at Bally’s Las Vegas Entrance Plaza (corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road) – The World Burger Extravaganza featuring the finals of the $25,000 World Burger Championship and the Celebrity Burger Bash where guests will dine on the best celebrity burgers and decide whose is best. General admission is free and open to the public of all ages. VIP tickets are $175 with online advance purchase; $225 at the event (includes exclusive VIP area with complimentary bites and beverages, meet and greet with Richman and other participating celebrity chefs).
- Saturday, Nov. 3 from 7 – 10 p.m. at Bally’s Las Vegas Pool – Feast under the Stars hosted by Richman, featuring World Food Championship food bars with delicacies from every category of the WFC. General admission is free and open to the public. VIP tickets are $125 with online advance purchase; $150 at the event (includes exclusive VIP area with complimentary bites and beverages, meet and greet with Richman and other participating celebrity chefs).
- Sunday, Nov. 4 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Caesars Palace Cooking Coliseum (in front of Caesars Palace main valet) – The 2012 World Food Championship, Final Table hosted by Richman. The inaugural World Food Champion will be crowned and guests will dine on gourmet fare surrounded by food celebrities and entertainment stars. Tickets are $250 with online advance purchase; $300 at the event.
- All Access VIF (Very Important Foodie) weekend pass VIF Tickets – $550 online advance purchase; $750 at the event. Includes entrance to every ticketed event with an all-access pass to the VIP area, complimentary bites and beverages, meet and greet with Richman and other participating celebrity chefs at each event.
Tickets for WFC events can be purchased online at: www.worldfoodchampionships.com/tickets.