World Food Championships

Nearly 1,500 cooks will meet at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama November 7-11 for a culinary battle and a shot at more than $350,000 in cash and prizes, the biggest payout in Food Sport history. Among the field of competitors for the 7th Annual World Food Championships (WFC), presented by Walmart, will be 16 teams who will be representing Tennessee at this “Ultimate Food Fight.”

“Teams from more than 40 states and 15 countries will enter one of our ten competition categories to earn their way to a title and a huge TV opportunity,” said Mike McCloud, the CEO and official Commissioner of the event. “The competition will be more intense than ever this year, and ten incredible chefs or home cooks are going to walk away with $10,000 cash!”

Tennessee residents have always shown great performance and culinary talent. In fact, last year’s World Food Champion (Lisa Gwatney) and World Burger Champion (Tommy Shive) hail from the volunteer state. In addition, Tennessee was one of the first states to enter into a new state partnership agreement with the WFC. This partnership helped unify the qualifying process for cooks and chefs trying to earn their way into the world’s largest Food Sport event.

Competitors will cook on-site during the timed events and face the challenge of preparation speed, specialty recipes, presentation and the ultimate taste test for E.A.T.™ certified judges. The categories include Bacon, Barbecue, Burger, Chef, Chicken, Chili, Dessert, Sandwich, Seafood and Steak. The following competitors from Tennessee will be battling it out on the world’s largest food stage in these WFC categories.


Chris Freels from Loudon, Tennessee


David Calkins from Nashville, Tennessee

Karen Elliott from Bartlett, Tennessee

2017 World Burger Champ -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 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 advance to the Top Ten round, they will not only have the chance to take home their respective category title but also earn a spot to compete at the Final Table for a chance at the title of World Food Champion and a $100,000 payday.

Aside from the food frenzy happening in Kitchen Arena, there are a ton of family-friendly activities planned for foodies of all ages at the WFC. Whether you’re a southern-fried foodie who loves barbeque and bacon, or a parent looking for the most outrageous food flavors in the Gulf region, this multi-day, live-fire culinary event has something for everyone. Find out more about WFC’s events here.

About 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 In the meantime, stay up to date on all WFC news and developments by following us on Twitter (@WorldFoodChamp), and Facebook and Instagram (@WorldFoodChampionships).