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We're excited to see the field of competitors who have already won their golden ticket and registered to compete at the 2023 World Food Championships. And we are always proud to announce our special guests and celebrity judges participating in our judging events across the nation - we're sure the championship food certainly helps! Best of luck to our 2023 competitors!


Chris Lilly

Most notably, Chris Lilly is the Vice President and Executive Chef and partner of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q. 

Lilly emerged on the barbecue scene in 1992 when he began working for the world famous Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q restaurant in Decatur, Ala. Recognized by The Wall Street Journal as having the best pork barbecue in the country and named the “Best Barbecue Restaurant in Alabama” by the Birmingham News.

Lilly is also head chef of the award-winning Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q Competition Cooking Team, and the winner of 15 World BBQ Championships in several barbecue categories and four Memphis in May Grand Championships (2000, 2003, 2011, and 2014), as well as winning the American Royal International Invitational Cook-Off.  

Widely recognized as one of the top pitmasters in his field, Lilly has been a guest chef for 14 years running at the Food Network’s South Beach Wine and Food Festival, has served twice as guest chef at the James Beard Foundation and the American Institute of Wine and Food, was a presenter at the Low-Country and Caribbean Food Conference at Johnson and Wales University, and recognized as Celebrated Chef by the National Pork Board. In 2011, Lilly was an instructor for Pork Summit at Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley.