The World Food Championships, a competitive event featuring 1,500 home cooks, professional chefs and BBQ teams, will be presented in Indianapolis for the first time, organizers announced Monday.
Billed as “the ultimate flavor fest and culinary showdown,” the World Food Championships are scheduled Nov. 8-12 at Farm Bureau Pavilion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
The event debuted in Las Vegas in 2012 and completed a multiyear run in Dallas in 2023.
Culinary Crossroads Director Larry Dickerson said his organization, which promotes the food and dining community in Indiana, pursued the chance to host the World Food Championships with representatives of Ivy Tech Community College, the Indiana State Fair and Visit Indy.
“We’ve brought a great idea to fruition and are on our way to establishing Indianapolis as the food sports capital of America,” Dickerson said in a written statement.
Dickerson credited Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch as a supporter of the effort to bring the competition to Indianapolis. Crouch attended the 2019 edition of the World Food Championships in Dallas.
Indianapolis has an initial one-year agreement to host the event, according to Culinary Crossroads.
The 2024 edition will crown champions in 12 categories: bacon, barbeque, burger, chef, dessert, live fire, rice, noodle, sandwich, seafood, soup and vegetarian. Attendees can watch the competitions, taste food prepared by competitors, check out cooking demonstrations and purchase items from exhibitors.
In 2020, Indianapolis hosted the annual “Final Table” component of the World Food Championships. This event brings together category winners from the main competition to determine an overall world food champion. Category winners from the 2023 World Food Championships are scheduled to compete in April during a Final Table event in Bentonville, Arkansas. The grand prize is set at $150,000.
The World Food Championships have awarded $3 million in cash and prizes and served as a springboard for more than 30 chefs who have TV careers.
Competitors make it to the World Food Championships through qualifying rounds, by receiving published accolades or through an invitation.