World Food Cham­pi­onship show­down in­cludes two Mem­phi­ans

The Commercial Appeal - - Mlife - On Food USA TO­DAY NET­WORK – TENN.

Two Mem­phis cooks will face off in a group of 10 champions on Sun­day to find out who takes home a $100,000 grand prize at the World Food Cham­pi­onships. Yep, that’s five ze­roes.

They’re LBOE’s gen­eral man­ager Tommy Shive, who won the 2017 World Burger Cham­pi­onship in Novem­ber with a Bene­dict Bubba Burger on Bri­oche and home cook Lisa Gwat­ney, who took home the 2017 World Steak Cham­pi­onship with her Steak Africana Os­car with As­para­gus.

It’s not ex­actly con­fus­ing, but it’s a lit­tle com­pli­cated. The WFC started in Las Ve­gas in 2012 and has moved around a bit. For the past two years, it’s been in Orange Beach, Alabama, where Shive and Gwat­ney com­peted and won in their cat­e­gories. This year, the com­pe­ti­tion was sep­a­rated in two events and The Fi­nal Ta­ble takes place in Ben­tonville, Arkansas, on Sun­day (Wal­mart is now the spon­sor).

To com­pete in Orange Beach, you have to win at a qual­i­fy­ing event. Shive’s LBOE team won at Best Mem­phis Burger in 2016, but the burger cat­e­gory for WFC was full that year. They were of­fered a spot in a dif­fer­ent cat­e­gory or al­lowed to enter the fol­low­ing year, which is what they chose to do.

Gwat­ney won a Steak Cookoff As­so­ci­a­tion com­pe­ti­tion in Green­wood to get to Orange Beach.

The Novem­ber com­pe­ti­tion was twopart. Shive said teams (there were about 40 in burg­ers) cooked two burg­ers for the first round, then 10 teams ad­vanced to the sec­ond day. One win­ner was cho­sen and they made it. Same process for Gwat­ney and the other cat­e­gories.

The cooks will com­pete in seafood, steak, recipe, chef, chili, bar­be­cue, dessert, ba­con, burger and sand­wich.

Some­one goes home with a big check.

“I’m re­ally ner­vous,” Shive said. “I’m also re­ally ex­cited. I’m a lit­tle bit of ev­ery­thing right now.”

An­other con­test

In­de­pen­dent restau­rants and food truck op­er­a­tors: You have less than two weeks left to enter a con­test that could earn you some cash (sorry I didn’t tell you ear­lier, but I just heard about it). Go to neigh­bor­hood­na­tion.com to check out the re­quire­ments. It’s spon­sored by Gen­eral Mills and you have to use cer­tain prod­ucts in the recipe you sub­mit. But the pay­off starts at $5,000 in the re­gional cat­e­gory and goes up to $30,000 for the grand prize, plus some char­i­ta­ble do­na­tions and a “pub­lic­ity pack­age” at each level. Check it out, and let me know if you enter. Dead­line is April 30.

Com­ing up

This is a fun event that’s dif­fer­ent from a stan­dard wine tast­ing. I went last month and will be go­ing as of­ten as I can. 4550 Po­plar,hosts “Third Thurs­day Tast­ing Club,” a very re­laxed ap­proach to tast­ing.

You show up and pay, then you’re taken to the back of the restau­rant. Pick a ta­ble and work your way around four sta­tions at your con­ve­nience, each fea­tur­ing food pre­pared by Chip Dun­ham and a bev­er­age pair­ing. Last month it was one lo­cal beer, a cock­tail and two wines and will be the same this month. The for­mat could switch up, owner Jeff

The Grove Grill,

Dun­ham said.

Af­ter each course, you get up and get an­other. Your ta­ble is cleared while you’re gone, and when you’re done, you ei­ther leave or head up to the bar. You’ll be given a mem­ber­ship card when you pay for your din­ner that gives you half off a bot­tle of wine, a free ap­pe­tizer at the bar when you buy a drink, and 10 per­cent off other spe­cial din­ners. Call 901-818-9951 to re­serve your spot.

On April 24, hosts a six­course wine din­ner fea­tur­ing wines from North Berke­ley Im­ports and some fine food, too. Dishes in­clude trout roulade, quail and rab­bit with foie gras, lamb con­fit, rib­eye and more. $100; call

RECIPE OF THE WEEK Con­grat­u­la­tions Mama Gaia

Hats off to Mama Gaia for hit­ting its first an­niver­sary. Last April the first lo­ca­tion of the or­ganic veg­e­tar­ian restau­rant opened in Crosstown Con­course, fol­lowed by a sec­ond in Bal­let Mem­phis on Over­ton Square. The menu has been up­dated and now in­cludes veg­gie burg­ers, a bar­be­cue tofu op­tion (the Mem­phia) and even a ba­nana cashew smoothie to riff on an Elvis fa­vorite.

Con­tact Jen­nifer Biggs at 901-5295223 or biggs@com­mer­cialap­peal.com. Friend her on Face­book at face­book.com/jen­nifer.biggs.100 and fol­low her on In­sta­gram and Twit­ter @jen­nifer­biggs1. In honor of Shive and Gwat­ney, I went look­ing for fun steak and burger recipes and came up with a burger that sounds over the top but in a good way. And come on, with the name A Doozie of a Floozie, how can it be bad?

Jen­nifer Biggs Mem­phis Com­mer­cial Ap­peal

Shive

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