16 cooks from Tennessee ready to take part in the world’s biggest food sports competition

Nearly 1,500 cooks will gather at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Ala., Nov. 7-11 for a culinary battle and a chance to win over $ 350,000 in cash and prizes, the biggest win in the history of the food sport. Among the field of competitors for the 7th World Food Championships (WFC), presented by Walmart, will be 16 teams that will represent Tennessee in this “Ultimate Food Fight”.

“Teams from over 40 states and 15 countries will compete in one of our ten competition categories for a title and a huge televised opportunity,” said Mike McCloud, CEO and official commissioner of the event. “The competition will be more intense than ever this year, and ten incredible chefs or home cooks will walk away with $ 10,000 in cash!

Residents of Tennessee have always demonstrated excellent performance and culinary talent. In fact, last year’s World Food Champion (Lisa Gwatney) and World Hamburger Champion (Tommy Shive) hail from the Volunteer State. Additionally, Tennessee was one of the first states to enter into a new partnership agreement with the WFC. This partnership has helped unify the qualification process for cooks and chefs as they try to make their way into the world’s largest food sport event.

Competitors will cook on site during timed events and take on the challenge of speed of preparation, specialty recipes, presentation and the ultimate taste test for EAT ™ certified judges. Categories include Bacon, Barbecue, Burger, Chef, Chicken, Chili, Dessert, Sandwich, Seafood, and Steak. The following contestants from Tennessee will compete on the world’s biggest food stage in these WFC categories.


Chris Freels from Loudon, Tennessee


David Calkins from Nashville, Tennessee

Karen Elliott from Bartlett, Tennessee

2017 World Burger Champion – Tommy Shive from Memphis, Tennessee


Dhanapol Marprasert from Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Hardin Cowan from Chattanooga, Tennessee

Jessica Hammonds from Knoxville, Tennessee

Julia Sullivan from Nashville, Tennessee

Raenel Stelly-Cummings from the Hermitage, Tennessee

Rebecca Barron from Chattanooga, Tennessee


Jeremy Donald from Knoxville, Tennessee

Lisa Benoit from Cookeville, Tennessee

Richard Jones from Nashville, Tennessee


Judy Beaudin from Franklin, Tennessee


Mary Lang from Vonore, Tennessee


2017 World Food Champion – Lisa Gwatney from Memphis, Tennessee

If any of the Tennessee Food Champs make it to the Top Ten, they will not only have the chance to win their respective category title, but will also earn a spot to compete at the final table for a chance at winning the league title. world of food and a salary of $ 100,000.

In addition to the culinary frenzy that takes place at Kitchen Arena, there are a ton of family activities planned for foodies of all ages at WFC. Whether you’re a southern foodie who loves barbecue and bacon, or a parent seeking the Gulf region’s most outrageous flavors, this multi-day real-fire culinary event has something for everyone. Find out more about WFC events here.

About the World Food Championships

The 7th Annual WFC, presented by Walmart, will be held Nov. 7-11 at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama. To learn more about the event, visit www.worldfoodchampionships.com/tickets. In the meantime, stay up to date on all WFC news and developments by following us on Twitter (@WorldFoodChamp), Facebook and Instagram (@WorldFoodChampionships).

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Sara R. Cicero