World Food Championship showdown includes two Memphians
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.”
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.
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,
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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?