2013 World Food Championsip ~ East Fremont
There was a lot of ground to cover during the 2013 World Food Championship between the main events under the Fremont Street Experience Canopy and the outdoorsy cooking competition events on East Fremont Street. The East Fremont District definitely was the place to be for barbecue and chili cook off fans!
The 2013 World Food Championship venue consisted of competitive events in practically every food category and the Saturday afternoon World BBQ Championship, World Chili Cook Off were the most popular by sheer audience demand. As soon as a spectator walked past the Neonopolis into the East Fremont zone, the aroma of hickory smoked meats and simmering pots of spicy chili filled the air and resistance was futile! It was difficult to not feel hunger pangs when strolling around this area and for some the bacon demonstration cooking tent was like being in seventh heaven!
During the Great Recession, bacon reached a peak in popularity, even though is is one of the most unhealthy food items on earth. Every World Food Championship event that featured a bacon recipe competition drew large crowds of bacon fans. Wright Brand has been in the bacon business since 1922 and this company sponsored many bacon cooking demonstrations on Fremont Street during the event. As one can imagine, the fanatical bacon spectators definitely were all over the opportunity to taste the freshly cooked bacon samples, just as if bacon was something brand new, but that is how culinary trends go during an economic recession.
One of the Wright Brand cooking demonstration tents that drew plenty of attention was operated by fellow students and faculty from Le Cordon Bleu of Las Vegas. Being one of the alumni of this culinary arts college does have its benefits and after showing my student ID card, I was allowed to photograph the action that took place in the Ultimate Bacon Experience event tent. The news media and television network crews were doing their Ultimate Bacon Experience chef interviews, while chowing down on every bacon tasting sample in sight!
The Le Cordon Bleu team offered bacon food creations that were practically irresistible. Hickory Smoked Bacon Brownies, Blondies and Bread Pudding were some of the most popular offerings. The hickory smoked bacon gave the sweet bread pudding a nice aromatic savory flavor that was easy to compliment. After tasting the Hickory Smoked Bacon Bread Pudding, my first thought was that this unique creation could potentially cause a severe bacon addiction. To be honest, bacon addiction is an accurate description, because every taste tester in the Ultimate Bacon Experience tent was asking for seconds and thirds! The Le Cordon Bleu-Write Brand Ultimate Bacon Experience definitely took top billing at the 2013 World Food Championship!
After regaining serenity and overcoming the bacon addiction issues, checking out the Chili World Championship and BBQ World Championship was next on the agenda. Competitors from coast to coast set up shop with the hope of landing the top awards. Chili cook off competitors are an eccentric breed of people who really know how to put on a show. There was no shortage of spicy entertainment in the chili competition area, but there was an intentional shortage of beans. Nearly every chili champ will proudly say that great chili is made with meat and beans are really nothing more than an optional addition. There was not one bean in sight at this traditional chili making event!
Barbecue competitors sure can have some fierce intimidating looks and photographs of the BBQ World Championship certainly demonstrate this fact. There were some seriously big and tough “Good Old Boys” competing for first place honors, but hogging the show is only part of how one competes at such an event. There also has to be captivating BBQ slogans and banners that strictly do not adhere to political correctness. Some of the funniest slogans and signs could be seen where the BBQ competitors set up their shops! I have been involved with pro championship BBQ Rib Tour teams in the past and I can vouch for how crazy BBQ competitors can be. One simply has to have an extreme BBQ personality, just to get noticed and the dog that barks the loudest often wins the BBQ championship event. Based upon experience when working for a dubious BBQ restaurant company in the past, buying the judges will also guarantee a win, unless the commercial sponsors of the event get involved with lining the pockets of the judges too. No matter what, the BBQ competitors always make money during a food competition, because BBQ is always in high demand!
The 2013 World Food Championship was an entertaining event, especially for foodies carrying selfie sticks! I caught a lot of famous Las Vegas Le Cordon Bleu culinary instructors by surprise with the camera and I even caused some that never smile to get a grin on their face. The 2012 World Food Championship on East Fremont was all about bacon, barbecue and chili, so it simply does not get any better than this!