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Grandparents Face Off at the World’s Largest Food Fight


Grandparents Face Off at the World’s Largest Food Fight

ORANGE BEACH, Ala., The World Food Championships (WFC) just added a unique challenge into the mix for its main event in Orange Beach, Alabama. As a part of the largest Food Sport competition in the world’s mission to showcase culinary talents of all backgrounds and ages, WFC has added a grandparents-only cooking challenge called The “Grand” Throwdown.

The new challenge was developed after experiencing the grand success and response from last year’s Granny Grilling challenge. Click here to view’s video recap of the event. The 2017 Granny Grilling Champion Sherri Williams will serve as the host for this new cooking competition and prepare to pass down her coveted title to the next grandparent cook.

“The grannies enjoyed themselves in last year’s challenge so much that we decided to give the grandpas a chance to join in our the fun food and show off their chops alongside the ladies,” said Mike McCloud, President and CEO of WFC. “We are always looking for new ways to inspire all competitors from all generations and backgrounds to join Food Sport. We are really excited to see these talented grandparents battle it out in Grill-Arena.”

The grannies and grandpas will be tasked with creating a tasty dish with ingredients found in the WFC pantry with the hope that their culinary creations will please the panel of kid judges' palate. The “Grand” Throwdown winners will take home the “Grand” trophy, grandparent bragging rights and a Golden Ticket for WFC 2019.

Meet the Grandparents:

Mark Banick 

Age: 62

Home State: Salem, Oregon

Nickname:  The ones that can talk call me Bocca Mark

Number of Children: 2 children of my own and 4 girls from my wife Kim that I call my own, (blended family).

Number of Grandchildren: 4 grandchildren

Culinary Background: My grandfather is from Dalmatia (bottom part of old Yugoslavia. He was a merchant seaman and a baker on a 3-mast sail ship. So, I wanted to copy him and started learning to make bread at a young age.

I was a single dad for about 15 years, so I did all the cooking in my home. When I married my wife Kim she took over some of the cooking but I still some along with the grilling.

I have for the last 13 years along with two other guys and one gal cook home-style meals, 140-200, each Wednesday evening, along with about 15-20 other specialty events out our church ranging upwards to 400 people on holidays.

I always get teased for buying my wife a Traeger for Christmas one year, but that is one of her most prized gifts.

Fun Facts: Most little-known fact about me is that I was a radio operator on Air Force One for two presidents. (Ford, Carter).

Vic Clevenger

Age: 50

Home State: Kissimmee, FL

Nickname: The Cookin' Comedian. But I'm Papaw to my grandson

Number of Children: 2 Daughters + 1 Son-in-law

Number of Grandchildren: 1 grandson

Culinary Background: Just like being taught to how to feed myself, when it came to cooking I sought out those who do it the best and learn from them. So, I don't consider myself a "self-taught cook", I consider myself just a "student of cooking," especially BBQ. I've won culinary awards from Florida to Washington as well as performing at many national culinary events. I also write regularly for National BBQ News, Tailgater Magazine, BBQ Times, Northern NY Entertainment, B&B Charcoal and have been published in Entrepreneurial Chef. I'm a huge supporter and promoter of Operation BBQ Relief.

Fun Facts: I travel the country as a Professional speaker, Stand-up Comedian and competitive cook. I was cooking in a BBQ Competition when my grandson was being born back in September.

Rebecka Evans

Age: 58    

Home state: Pearland, Texas

Number of Children: Gam Gam or Gamma

How Many children? 5

Number of Grandkids: 6

Culinary Background: Rebecka Evans is an award-winning home cook and food blogger, and an avid food and nature photographer. Rebecka lives in Texas and is happily married to her sweet husband Blake. Blessed with five children, this proud "Papa and Gamma" also have five beautiful grand-girls, and one grandbaby boy.

Rebecka began entering food competition at the age of twenty-five and began her food blogging journey over six years ago and is the proud Owner of At Home with

Years of commitment to recipe creation and food competition has recently paid off with a few very big wins. Rebecka took home top honors at the World Food Championships held November 9-12, 2017 in Orange Beach, AL. She is the 2017 "Bacon World Champion" winning $10 thousand dollars in cash and prizes. Rebecka received 7th Place at the Final Table in April, 2018.

Rebecka recently won two back to back competitions in September 2018; the Build a Better Burger Regional Contest sponsored by Sutter Home Wines and held in Washington, DC. She will go on to compete against the other Regional Finalists in May 2019 for a chance to win 25,000.00. The very next day, Rebecka won the Annual Mushroom Festival Cook-off held in Kennett Square, PA. Just a week later, Rebecka also won the South Regional Riunite Chili Cook-off with her Riunite Bold and Beefy Texas No Bean Chili taking home $1000.00 cash prize.

Rebecka won her first TV competition appearance on the Food Network's Clash of the Grandmas "Home Sweet Grandma" taking home cash prize of $10 thousand dollars!

Rebecka is also the proud winner of the Gilroy Garlic Recipe Cook-Off, winning 1st Place at Gilroy Garlic Festival 2016 with her Garlic Goat Cheese and Bacon Soufflés. Total cash prize $5000.00 and the coveted Gilroy Garlic Crown!

Fun Facts: Rebecka is a trained classical vocalist and loves singing opera. She has performed in many professional productions in her lifetime.

Lisa Keys

Age:  61

Home state: Kennett Square, PA

Grandma nickname: Kiki

Number of Children: 2 children (Caitlin & William)

Number of Grandchildren: 1 grandchild (Annabelle)

Culinary Background: Growing up Italian I simply have the cooking gene. I am a self-taught home cook who has enjoyed entering cooking competitions for more than 30 years. I have won multiple awards over the years including WFC Top 10 in Sandwich and Recipe categories but am most proud of winning the Mother’s Day episode of the Food Network Show CHOPPED. Annabelle cooks with me now and this is the most fun ever.

Fun Facts:  I am learning to play the ukulele. So far my granddaughter and I can sing together the song, “You Are My Sunshine.”  

This grand event will take place on Sunday, November 11 in Grill-Arena from 11:00am - 1:00pm.

The 7th Annual WFC, presented by Walmart, will be held Nov. 7-11 at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama. To learn more about the event, visit In the meantime, stay up to date on all WFC news and developments by following us on Twitter (@WorldFoodChamp), and Facebook and Instagram (@WorldFoodChampionships).

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