2015 World Food Championships – Kissimmee, Florida

Welcome to the 2015 World Food Championships (WFC) in Kissimmee, Florida.

The World Food Championships (WFC) is an international cooking competition being held in Kissimmee, Florida (Celebration Avenue & Market Street). The competition was held last week from November 3 to November 10. In its first year of existence in 2012 to 2014, the event was hosted in Las Vegas, Nevada (Fremont Experience). But for the first time in 2015, the organizer moved the competition to the sunshine state of Kissimmee, Florida as the organizer wanted to host its event in a more family friendly environment with an up and rising culinary culture. And Kissimmee is the perfect match that meets the criteria.

MoVernie Media Pass to cover the World Food Championships in Kissimmee, Florida

Last week, I was there to cover the 2015 World Food Championships and the weather was perfect to cover such a special event, especially the competition was hosted outdoor with a giant tent to provide ample of shelter in case of rain. The competition features top chefs and home cooks from around the world who had won qualifying competitions. Competitors compete in the categories of sandwiches, barbecue, chili, burgers, pasta, bacon, dessert, recipes and seafood. This year, chefs came from 17 countries (4 teams from Canada competing in various categories), all gathered in Kissimmee to compete with a chance at winning the ultimate food crown and a share of $300,000.

The World Food Championships starts from November 3 to November 10 in Kissimmee, Florida for the 2015 year.

Last week, I was there to cover the WFC Press Conference. The executive of Tourism of Kissimmee thanked the city and the organizer of WFC for choosing Kissimmee as the destination to host such a special event. Kenmore was the proud sponsor of all the appliances for the competition. Kenmore built 50 identical cooking stations (aka Kenmore Arena) that include many of its state-of-art Kenmore PRO appliances such as the cooking oven, barbecue, microwave, stove, blunders, etc. In fact, I was told that many of the appliances were not even sold to the public yet, so the chefs got the first taste of using such high-tech appliances.

All the state-of-the-art appliances & 50 identical cooking stations sponsored by Kenmore.

Furthermore, I was told that the chefs were given special training sessions by the Kenmore staff, showing them how to operate each appliance, its latest technology so the chefs know how to maximize each equipment and cook the best dish they could prepare. Kenmore also setup exhibits so the public, so they can get up close and personal, got to learn and touch its products on-site.

Kenmore exhibits showcasing it’s new “Kenmore PRO Appliances” to the public.

Also, Mike McCloud, President & CEO, World Food Championships thanked the media and everyone in attendance for their support for WFC. Mike also thanked Experience Kissimmee for the wonderful partnership and welcoming them to a wonderful city to host such an amazing event. Mike also emphasized the fairness of the food competitions, from the rating of the food results to the professional recording systems monitored by Humm.

Mike McCloud, President & CEO, World Food Championships thanked the media and everyone in attendance for their support for WFC.

He said “Anyone can win. In fact, in the past three years of the ideology method that we used, judges evaluate each dish individually in a blind process, based on execution, appearance and taste, we have three different winners from three categories.”

What I like about the WFC judging system is that, each team submitted their finishing dish at a “Turn In” section. Staff and volunteers will identify each dish with a number that is designated to each team. However, when the dish are presented to the judges, they don’t know which dish is from which chefs, so they are solely focus on judging the dish based on 1) Execution; 2) Appearance and 3) Taste. Thus, it doesn’t matter if you are a famous celebrity chef or if you are just a good cook at home. That’s what I like about it, no bias, let the food speaks for itself!

Real-Time rankings and scores prepared by the Humm Technology for the WFC event.

Meanwhile, Humm was the Official Technology Sponsor for the WFC. Humm was a scoring app that was developed for the judges to view competitor recipes on handheld tablets. WFC used the app in each round of the kitchen category competitions to provide instant scoring results. This type of advanced technology was super helpful because it provided a safe-guard, fair tally of results in a quick manner. In addition, Humm had a large area next to the WFC’s Main Stage, to supply competitors and attendees with charging stations, Wi-Fi access, and big-screen TVs to follow competitor’s dish scores on their way to the Final Table. Most importantly, my favourite activity at the Humm tent was the “Food Fight“ which you posed with a number of poses and the app will put all the photos together to form a image in motion. It was fun! I had a great time making different versions with my other Social Media peeps.

Having some fun “Food Night” at the Humm Tent. One of my favourite activities at WFC.
So happy to meet some of the Canadian Chefs who are in attendance to compete at WFC.

We got to check out the culinary teams competing for the “Best Bacon” category. Each team had to cook two dishes. In the first dish, it’s a “structured” round, which means each team had to come up with a dish that was determined by the organizer. In this case, each team had to prepare a dish with bacon and had to make some sort of dumpling out of it. As for the second dish, it’s free-for-all. Each team could prepare a dish with their own personality, creativity to come up with a bacon dish that represent them.

During the competition, a “Cheferee” was there to provide some entertainment value. He was there to inform each team the amount of time left for each round. Asked them what they were preparing. So, that was a cool idea to have such an entertaining commentator.

Cheferee is like a in-game host, interviewing the contestants and providing real-time commentating on the happenings during each food competition round.

A staff from the WFC guided us to an exclusive behind-the-scene experience to check out the big fridge that stores all the ingredients for each team as they had to prepare and brought with them their own utensils and supplementary ingredient. Also, we got to see the pantry area where each team can grab whatever they need to prepare their food.

Exclusive behind-the-scene tour of the Pantry area.

My favourite part, the staff guided to an exclusive area called the “Turn In”. It’s the area where the chefs had to bring in their finishing product so the staff can gathered them and presented to a panel of judges who were situated in a separate room so they didn’t know who made each dish to preserve the fairness and the integrity of each dish. We got to see the chefs up close and personal. Some were quite intense after dropping off their first dish and run immediately back to their chopping table to prepare the second dish. Some other contestants, you could see a sigh of relief from their faces after dropping off their first submissions.

Walking & holding up your finishing product from the Kenmore Arena to the “Turn In” section takes skills because you surely don’t want to trip and fall and dropped your creation on the ground. This was part of the skills as well in my opinion.
The “Turn-in” area where the chefs submitted their finishing food dishes.

Last but not least, we were informed that any leftover food or ingredients were donated to Second Harvest Food Bank, which as many of my followers know me by now, is BIG on covering and donating to charitable events. So, it’s nice to know that they were very thoughtful & utilizing this event as a mean to give back to the communities. Kudos to World Food Championships!

Any leftover ingredients and food are donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank. Very thoughtful idea by WFC!

World Food Championships is now widely recognized as an ultimate food sport. It’s now considered as a sport that are widely gaining popularity. It was cool for me to witness the amount of focus, concentration, preparation and working as a team or individually and working under pressure. Mind you, they had to get use to the new cooking equipment and outdoor environment. It’s all about adaptation and getting used to the conditions you are giving and persevere to produce the best dish during the competition. If you are a foodie or someone who just love to watch and experience what it’s like to witness a live food competition, World Food Championships in Kissimmee, Florida is perfect for you! WFC occurs annually every November, so check out its site here for details and possibly plan your trip for next year, perhaps visiting WFC, Walt Disney and planning a stay at one of the Global Resort Vacation Homes in Kissimmee, Florida!

MoVernie Tips & Recommendations:
The following tips & recommendations will hopefully help maximize and make your experience an enjoyable one at the World Food Championships:
  • I highly recommend you to review and print out this World Food Championships Map so you have a better idea of where all the exhibits and the Kenmore Arena are located.
  • Check out the World Food Championships Schedule for each day. Each day, there will be special food category competition. If you want to check out the “Best Bacon” competition or “Best seafood” competition, check out the schedule so you don’t miss the events. Also check out when the food seminars are being held so you don’t miss it as well.
  • There are a number of food seminars that are hosted by home chefs or restaurant chefs that will share their cooking experiences or tricks that will enhance your culinary knowledge. Check the schedules to attend.
  • For extra cost, I recommend you to purchase the “Very Important Foodie (aka VIF) Club” access. You get to try some very nice alcoholic beverages and Hors D’oeuvre as well as a nice gift bag. Most importantly, there are nice rocking chairs or cabana tables and chairs for you to enjoy the beautiful view of the Lake Rianhard (the view is especially beautiful during sunset).

    WARNING: There could be potentially alligators swimming in Lake Rianhard, so don’t swim or dip your feet into the lake.

  • For extra cost, check out the World Cocktail Experience. It has a tent there and a number of cocktail stations and mixologists are on hand to mix some very nice drinks for your tastebuds. It’s not the same without a nice cocktail that complements well with the food. They proivde you with drinking tickets and you can enjoy and indulge the cocktails.
  • Make sure you go to the Humm tent, it has free Wi-Fi as well as charging stations (essentials for Social Media bloggers) and while you are waiting for your gadgets to be fully charged, check out its awesome interactive “Food Fight” backdrop that you could grab a few food props and pose photos with it and from a click of a button, the photos will be sent to your inbox.
  • There are some food exhibits that you can try food samples for free. In particular, I saw a gentlemen preparing the ribs with special rub and sauces. A few hours later, I just grabbed a napkin and tasted a piece of its ribs on the MOVE, super delicious.
  • Check the weather and bring umbrella if it will rain or wear sun screen if it is too sunny. Remember, the Kenmore Arena is sheltered by tents and there are many sections under the tents. But it’s still an outdoor festival, so prepare yourself accordingly.
  • Check the Event Map to find out where to park or check out the public transportation site so you can access to WFC.

Our World Food Championships admission, food and cocktail expenses were covered by Experience Kissimmee as part of a press trip to Kissimmee, Florida. As always, all reviews and opinions are entirely my own.

NOTE: Any dollar amount that I stated in this blog, it’s referring to American currency (US Dollar).

Suggested Hotspots to do your selfie or footie photos:

  • The World Food Championship Main Stage

  • Humm Tent with the “Food Fight” backdrop
  • VIF Club facing Lake Rianhard

Here are some more photos of my coverage at the 2015 World Food Championships:

      The entire Market Street in Kissimmee turned into a Kenmore Arena.

      We met up with some of the Canadian contestants during the WFC Press Conference. Go Canada!

      One of the food challenges involved food bloggers to compete & prepare a food dish. Now that’s cleverly done. Foodies maybe good at tasting food, but can they cook up a decent dish? We will have to find out at the WFC.

      Richardo Heredia (2014 World Food Championship) returned to compete again to defend his title. Will he win again? We will have to find out at WFC.

      Love this tee alot! “Enjoy Bacon!” That’s right. Bacon is no longer just a food ingredient, it’s a category of its own because of its importance in our way of life!

      Our Social Media counterparts working hard, finding a nice spot to capture the “golden” moments of the chefs submitting their food dishes at the “Turn In” area. At the same time, we were all enjoying this wonderful WFC experience.


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