Gentlemen, Start Your Ovens: Finals of World Food Championships to Be Held in Indy Next May

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Gentlemen, Start Your Ovens: Finals of World Food Championships to Be Held in Indy Next May

Winners of 10 categories in Dallas event this week will cook Indiana-themed dishes in pursuit of $100K prize

(DALLAS, Tex.) - The 500 won't be the only world championship in Indy next May.

10 of the country's best chefs will compete in the World Food Championships' Final Table. The winner takes home 100-thousand dollars. CEO Mike McCloud says the seven-year-old event has had its eye on what he calls a growing culinary scene in Indianapolis, and says organizers hope to bring some national attention to what Indianapolis chefs have been doing.

The competitors will be the 10 category winners at this week's five-day Championships in Dallas, in 10 specialties from dessert to bacon. Once they reach Indy, they'll all prepare their spin on a traditional Hoosier dish. Five semifinalists will replicate an Indianapolis restaurant specialty, with a three-chef final creating a brand-new dish.

McCloud says the competitors will know most of the guidelines for the dishes in advance and can plan their strategies, though he says there will be mystery ingredients, challenges or judges added in Indianapolis to keep things interesting.

A reality-show documentary on CNBC will reveal the winner in August. McCloud says the organization's still working out whether you'll have a chance to watch the cookoff in person. Last year's final in New Orleans drew a thousand spectators for the preliminary rounds, and 200 for the final faceoff. 

Eight Indiana chefs are competing in Dallas for the chance to pursue the championship on their home court at the Ivy Tech Culinary Center.

The World Food Championships began in 2012. In 2017, the Final Table was separated from the rest of the competition, with category winners competing the following spring in Bentonville, Arkansas, the headquarters of event sponsor Wal-Mart. Indy will become the third city to host the final.

Three chefs representing Indiana in the World Food Championships served as judges at the Indiana State Fair recipe contest in August. (Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)

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