Josh Cooper takes third place at WFC Final Table Challenge
Chef Josh Cooper holds a plate of brisket and pimento cheese sliders, front left, truffle and mushroom mac and cheese, back left, potato skins with creme fraiché, caviar and chives, front right and watermelon salad. Image via Colin Hackley.

The intense competition unfolded on the Cooking Channel on Saturday.

Tallahassee political consultant and 2019 World Seafood Champion Josh Cooper took third place in the recent World Food Championships.

Cooper in recent years has been a staple at cooking competitions. Last year, he and his teammates made a top-10 showing at the 7th Annual WFC by cooking up a Coconut and Mango Glazed Mahi Mahi with Avocado and Mango Salsa.

And in January at the 8th Annual WFC, Cooper became the 2019 World Seafood Champion thanks to his “Pan-Seared Scallops with Caviar Champagne Beurre Blanc.”

The dish netted him a $10,000 prize and a spot at WFC’s Final Table Challenge.

The ten competitors who emerged from the main event beat out almost 500 teams to become the Champion of their category. In August, they reconvened at Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis to battle three more times, only this time there was a lot more money up for grabs.

The competition featured three rounds with judges who are experts in their culinary fields of focus. Their votes and scores eliminated champions through three challenges of Indiana-based dishes, until only one person was left standing.

During Round One, the ten contestants were tasked with making a Pork and Parisian Gnocchi dish using National Pork Board sourced cuts and Red Gold Tomatoes as a required ingredient.

The second challenge was recreating a complex Duck dish curated by Chef Greg Hardesty of Studio C and provided by Maple Leaf Farms. Only three finalists moved on to the final round, where they made their version of an Indiana-famous Sugar Cream Pie.

Team Cooper navigated through many obstacles and finished the weekend in third place, which earned them a $3,000 prize.

The intense competition unfolded on the Cooking Channel on Saturday when the 8th Annual World Food Champion, Lidia Haddadian, was revealed during a special one-hour TV Show.

Cooper has competed in Food Sport for 13 years now, winning a combined $54,000 in prizes across the competitions he has entered.

WFC is the largest culinary competition in the world, with hundreds of teams, both pro and amateur, competing annually at the event’s main event in Dallas.

A replay of the Final Table Challenge broadcast is available on YouTube.

Staff Reports


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