Impossible to fit eleven days of Food Sport into just two posts, so here’s WFC 2018 Recap - Part 3.
The "Grand" Throwdown:
After a long week of competing at the World Food Championships and hosting the 2018 Yacht Club Progressive Dinner Party, my friend and sous chef Lisa Keys were faced with a totally different kind of challenge: competing against each other in the WFC Second Annual "Grand" Throwdown.
About The Event:
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 Delish.com’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. Source: World Food Championships
Meet the Grandparents:
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
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
Home state: Pearland, Texas
Number of Children: Gam Gam or Gamma
How Many children? 5
Number of Grandkids: 6
Home state: Kennett Square, PA
Grandma nickname: Kiki
Number of Children: 2 children (Caitlin & William)
Number of Grandchildren: 1 grandchild (Annabelle)
Source: World Food Championships
Crazy Fun Competition:
This contest was a hoot! The "Grand" Throwdown is a black box challenge where the grand parents are given just 15 seconds each to pick 1 ingredient from a table of produce; taking four turns consecutively, based on oldest to youngest. Minutes after picking our produce the grandparents were all sardined into a car and whisked off to the WFC pantry to pick 10 items including but not limited to a variety of WFC Sponsors meats, butter, and sauces.
I filled my basket of 10 sponsor ingredients in just under 10 minutes time; 2 packages of Wampler Omega 3 Sausage, Springer Chicken (just encase I decided to go a different direction with my recipe), Hawaiian Rolls, Koops Mustard, Challenge Butter, and Challenge Cream Cheese.
Grandparents were given the option to use the grill, a portable burner, or both, to create our recipes. I planned to make a breakfast sandwich in a Gotham Steel pan on the burner and forego starting the grill.
Best Laid Plans:
I was thrilled to have a plan of action for my contest recipe, but that enthusiasm was squashed almost immediately when we returned to the WFC Grill arena. Hosts, Sherri Williams and Nancy Manlove, pulled the ole switch-er-roo and made us trade baskets with the grandpas! ACK!
I got Mark Banick's basket and I can tell you I wasn't happy about it! He picked SALAD. Yup, ingredients to make salad to serve to a panel of kid judges. What was he thinking?
His basket had a sparse amount of ingredients, including Romain lettuce, tomatoes, BBQ Sauce, Springer chicken breast, rolls, season salt, and cream cheese. Thankfully, grandmas know how to roll when it comes to making recipes on the fly with whatever is in the fridge. I made a quick decision to grill the chicken and make a vinaigrette with the BBQ sauce and cream cheese, ultimately leading to my use of both the grill and the burner. Since I hadn’t planned to use the grill I didn’t bring fire starters etc. Thankfully, my sweet friend Lisa Keys was kind enough to share one of her’s with me and I was able to make a tiny fire big enough to cook the chicken.
During our cook time, MC's Sherri and Nancy gave us several chances to run and grab a few more items from the produce table. I picked grapes, asparagus, and mushrooms. I grilled the asparagus and smoked some croutons made from the rolls, tossed in some of the vinaigrette and season salt. I was amazed how delicious they turned out.
Not a Chance of Winning:
I didn't think I had a chance to win the challenge with Mark's basket of salad ingredients, especially since our judges were kids and the other grandma, Lisa Keys, made a stunning recipe with grandpa Vic's basket. My dish was not visually appealing in my opinion, but it must have tasted great because the kid judges loved it and chose my recipe as the winner of the grandma challenge. I was shocked to say the least but it was a pleasant surprise!
If you can believe it, in the crazy twist of baskets, Mark won the grandpa challenge with my basket of goodies making pineapple chicken sliders. Way to go Mark.
Mark and I both won a Golden Ticket to compete at WFC 2019, paid $300.00 entry fee and a stunning hand-made platter by Sparta Ware. Thank you!
Special thanks to Mike McCloud, MMA Creative, World Food Championships and WFC Staff, Walmart and all the other WFC sponsors.
I hope WFC invites Mark and I to share MC duties at the 2019 WFC "Grand" Throwdown, in our new host city and my home state, Dallas Texas. Hope to see you all there!