Celebrating Indiana’s culinary community

Food Sports

Culinary Crossroads is a fan of food sports at all levels, from the Junior Chef Academy at Paramount Schools of Excellence in Indianapolis and Skills USA cooking competitions for Indiana high school students to local chef throwdowns and national events.
One of Culinary Crossroads’ first initiatives was on the national level – helping support local chefs competing at the 2019 World Food Championships.

Food sport competition may have started with bake-offs, burger battles and BBQ competitions, but the World Food Championships (WFC) have taken food sports to an entirely new level. The WFC attracts more than 1,500 home cooks, chefs and professional cooking teams who compete in 10 food categories for more than $100,000 in prize money.

Recognizing the opportunity to highlight some of our top culinary talent, Culinary Crossroads reached out to both the public and private sector to underwrite its first initiative – helping chefs competing in the WFC.

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch provided leadership and support from both Indiana Tourism and Indiana Grown. Additional underwriters included Indiana Kitchen, ClusterTruck, Red Gold, Piazza Produce, The Agency Worldwide and MConnect Group.

Our chefs competed at the highest level with three reaching the finals in their respective categories. Although we didn’t bring home a championship trophy, we did bring home our second Culinary Crossroads initiative: the 2020 WFC Final Table.

The Final Table competition includes the 10 category winners from the World Food Championships competing for the title of World Food Champion and a $100,000 payday.

Watched by a “cheferee,” competitor Craig Baker prepares a dish at the 2022 World Food Championships in Dallas.

Competitor Turon Cummings, center, turns in his dish in the 2022 World Food Championships burger finals in Dallas.

Although the originally scheduled for May 2020, Final Table Indy was postponed due to the pandemic and was carefully executed in August 2020 at Ivy Tech Community College’s Culinary Center. In keeping with all local and state health guidelines, the event and the overall initiative were well received and lauded for demonstrating the ability to bring energy and upbeat stories during the turbulent and challenging times of the pandemic.

In addition to the live competition, which featured many of our local chefs as judges, Final Table Indy was also produced as a reality TV show on The Cooking Channel.

Lt. Gov. Crouch facilitated our outreach to presenting sponsors Visit Indy, Sysco and Ivy Tech Community College. Additional support was also secured from Red Gold, Maple Leaf Farms and MConnect Group.

Post-pandemic, Culinary Crossroads has helped support chefs competing at the 2021, 2022 and 2023 World Food Championships and cheered on Paramount Schools of Excellence’s Junior Chef Academy competitors to a win in a new youth division at the 2023 WFC. And we’re looking forward to the 2024 WFC!

Competitor Marcus Daniel turns in his dish at the 2022 World Food Championships in Dallas.

The Final Table Indy took place at Ivy Tech Community College’s Culinary Center in August 2020.
The Final Table Indy event at Ivy Tech Community College for the World Food Championships was filmed for the Cooking Channel.
Chef Mike Gomez of Gomez BBQ in Indianapolis won the People’s Choice award at the 2022 Paramount Schools of Excellence TURN Fest “Perfect Bite” chef competition.