The 2021 World Food Championships at Fair Park are expected to inject Dallas with an economic impact of $ 4 million. Championship officials expect to attract 25,000 foodies, as well as 2,000 officials and competitors to Fair Park on the weekend of November 5-7.
The championships, which cost around $ 2 million to host, have generated at least 1 billion media impressions each of the past three years of competition, with the Food Network, Travel Channel, Cooking Channel and Discovery Channel showing up to record a taste of the action. And this year the championships have something special in the kitchen.
“We just signed an agreement with a large network to cover this championship,” said Mike McCloud, president and CEO of the WFC. D CEO. “We plan to coordinate a 10-part series around the championship that will increase our media reach and exposure in Dallas.”
Since its inception in 2012, the WFC has spawned over 30 TV stars and recorded an annualized growth rate of 35%. And according to McCloud, the competition may have already reached its peak.
“Right now we’re hitting a small cap that will force us to consider other ways to develop this championship, either by having more categories or by having more equipment,” said McCloud.
The WFC was born out of the idea that food needed the ultimate in competition. In 2012, culinary television programming took off. The backyard hamburger battles were on the rise. But McCloud believed the industry needed a Mecca.
“We combined American Idol with the Super Bowl,” he said.
Attendees will interact with top chefs throughout the weekend watching high-stakes culinary cuisines just like on TV. New and classic recipes will be on display for tastings by chefs stationed around the world; 42 states and 15 countries were represented in 2019. General Admission ticket holders will have access to tasting experiences such as the Hall of Taste, BBQ Ranch, WFC Family Fun Zone, live music, demonstrations chefs, and more. Tickets can also be upgraded to VIP to enjoy cocktails, refreshments and more.
Ahead of the WFC, there are 500 qualifying events across the country that fuel top talent in the Super Bowl staging.
In November, the WFC will welcome 1,500 top chefs and home cooks from around the world for a slice of the stock market pie of $ 300,000. The chefs will showcase their skills to the judges and participants by preparing 8,000 dishes in 10 categories: bacon, barbecue, burger, chef, chili, dessert, recipe, sandwich, soup and steak.
DFW hotels will be happy to see the WFC on the schedule. With 90 percent of the event staff, competitors, judges and sponsors coming from out of town, officials predict that more than 5,000 hotel rooms will be reserved for the event.
Another aspect of the impact is the draw for local restaurants. WFC officials don’t have projections for the event’s specific impact on restaurants, but McCloud chose Dallas because of the local food.
“One of the many reasons we chose to move to Dallas was because it had a great food scene and a great culinary reputation,” said McCloud. “We have no nightly events planned this year, so people can go out and enjoy the culinary offerings of Dallas.”
The event will not only have an impact on the neighborhood, but will also launch competitors into new businesses. In 2019, Sienna Sauce was concocted at the WFC. The teenage chef behind the sauce then struck a deal on Shark Tank to bolster the fledgling business.
DFW chefs competing this year include Jennifer Bajsel, Jean François Fortin, Joseph Graffeo, George Kobdish, John O’Neil, Krystal Perez, Lindsey Lawing, Rob Richards, Brian Erbe, Jason Rehbock, Jack Cashman, Lori McLain and Luke Rogers.
The WFC will partner with the North Texas Food Bank in hopes that an additional 5,000 to 15,000 pounds of non-perishable food will benefit the nonprofit after the event. The event will also make a financial donation to the Dallas 24 Hour Club and partner with Dallas College to provide students with the opportunity to work on the event. Dallas College will also be the official host and sponsor of the “Last Chance Qualifier” to reach the WFC.
Sponsors for the event include Walmart, Impossible Foods, Red Gold Tomatoes, Pyure Organic, SC Johnson, and more.
McCloud and his company want the World Food Championships to become a must-see event in Dallas. “We are looking to make this one of the next big signing assets for Dallas,” McCloud said. But first, they must break their glass ceiling.