Our first opportunity to create stories about one or more of our pillars was creation of “Team Indiana”, a group of talented Indiana home cooks and chefs who were making their mark in the world of food sport competition.
Food sport competition may have started with state fair pie competitions, burger battles, and BBQ competitions, but an event known as the World Food Championships (WFC) had taken “food sport competition” to an entirely new level. Entering into it’s 8th year of competition in 2018, the WFC attracted nearly 500 teams from over 42 states culminating in over 1,500 home cooks, chefs and professional cooking teams coming together to compete in 10 food categories for over $100,000 in prize money!
Recognizing the opportunity to highlight the talented “people” making up Team Indiana, Culinary Crossroads reached out to both public and private sector leadership to underwrite its first initiative to bring awareness to Team Indiana member’s backgrounds, their preparation for their first WFC event and the onsite food sport competition.
Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch provided tremendous leadership and shepherded in support from both Indiana Tourism and Indiana Grown. Additional underwriters included Indiana Kitchen, Cluster Truck, Red Gold, Piazza Produce, The Agency Worldwide and MConnect Group.
Team Indiana founding members prepare for the World Food Championships 2019.
Team Indiana competed at the highest level with three of Team Indiana competitors reaching the World Food Championship finals in their respective categories. Although we didn’t bring home a championship trophy we did bring home our second Culinary Crossroads Initiative, the WFC Final Table.
The Final Table Indy featured 10 category winners from the World Food Championships competing for the title of World Food Champion and a $100,000 payday! In addition to the live weekend competition, the Final Table Indy was also produced as a reality TV show for “The Cooking Channel”.
Once again, Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch provided tremendous leadership and 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.
Although the originally scheduled May 2020 Final Table was cancelled due to the pandemic, Culinary Crossroads leaders were able to successfully activate the event in August of 2020 at the Ivy Tech Culinary Center. In keeping with all local and state health guidelines, the event and the overall initiative was well received and lauded for demonstrating the ability to bring energy and upbeat stories during the turbulent and challenging times of the pandemic.