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WFC Announces Category Expansion & Changes For 2023


WFC Announces Category Expansion & Changes For 2023

Organizers of the World Food Championships (WFC) announced today that a new slate of rules and processes will be introduced in 2023 for continued expansion and opportunity in the world of Food Sport. Some of the changes will be major, like the addition of new categories, while others will involve tweaking processes to make the competition more challenging and rewarding for competitors.

“We continue to look at the industry and focus on aspects that will prepare Food Sport for a mainstream audience,” commented Mike McCloud, President / CEO of WFC. “Most of our tweaks and adjustments are going to occur in that sweet spot where there is an overlap of the desires of food competitors and food fans alike. Finding ways to motivate both of these core audiences is the key to Food Sport success.”

One of those areas includes focusing on genres of food that are popular or trending. For example, WFC will be expanding its ten categories of competition to twelve in 2023, allowing organizers to bring back the very popular “Chef” division as well as add on a new fan-favorite “Cocktails” category.

“We’ve been watching the growing trend of molecular gastronomy and how it really impacts the creativity of a dish,” McCloud noted. “We’d like to encourage this artistic practice, so we’re going to bring back the Chef Championship to focus on active chefs in the industry who use that technique.”

Another significant change to the 2023 competition mix will be the transition from Steak to Live Fire. McCloud said that competitors will still be able to qualify for WFC through existing Steak events, but that when they compete at WFC, the focus will be expanded to allow more creativity in the competition process.

“For years now, we have been encouraging more variety and creativity in the Finals process of Steak. From cut of meats to plate composition, we simply believe that the silver platter process is more accommodating for a chef or cook to impress the judges,” McCloud commented. “The same goes for the cooking process. The more flexibility we allow, the more impressive the contestants seem to be. So Live Fire is now going to be the primary standard. Almost everything else will be left up to the creativity of the cook in the time allowed – using a silver platter turn in process that is scored with our EAT methodology. There will be no more Styrofoam boxes used in the opening round.”

That officially establishes the twelve categories for the 2023 WFC Main Event as follows: Barbecue, Bacon, Burger, Chef, Cocktails, Dessert, Live Fire, Rice/Noodle, Sandwich, Seafood, Soup, and Vegetarian.

“We were very impressed with the additions of Rice/Noodle and Vegetarian dishes in 2022, so we felt it was important to keep them in the mix as well,” McCloud stated. “And we know that the addition of Cocktails is really going to add a whole new layer of excitement and creativity to the event.”

Quite a few key decisions are still being made by organizers for the 2023 event, including an expanded prize purse, confirmation of the host location, the exact competition dates and the final number of contestants allowed per category. Even the cook time for opening rounds is going to be changed, as is the number of contestants who will make the “finals” of each category.

All of these announcements will be released before the end of January so that Food Champs can set their calendars to attend WFC and many other major events or qualifiers throughout the year.

As always, WFC will hold an early bird registration period that enables all pre-qualified contestants to grab their spot for the 2023 Main Event at a discount. This year’s early bird registrations will begin 8 am central on January 16th and end at midnight central on January 31st

Stay up-to-date on all culinary competition news by following the World Food Championships on Twitter (@WorldFoodChamp), Facebook and Instagram (@WorldFoodChampionships).

About World Food Championships:

The World Food Championships (WFC) is the highest stakes food competition in the world. This multi-day, live event culinary competition showcases some of the world's best cooks who compete for food, fame and fortune in 12 categories (Bacon, Barbecue, Burger, Chef, Cocktails, Dessert, Live Fire, Rice/Noodles, Sandwich, Seafood, Soup, and Vegetarian). In 2022, more than 300 culinary teams from 11 countries and 41 American states competed in WFC’s Main Event. While contestants have to earn their way into WFC by winning a Golden Ticket at a previous competition, potential judges are welcome to take WFC’s online certification course that explains the E.A.T. scoring methodology. Certified judges then request and receive available seats at the next scheduled WFC event. Click here to learn more about getting certified. 

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