2014 World Food Championship ~ Fremont Street
In 2014, public interest in culinary arts and food competitions was at a peak. Much of this trend was due to signs of economic recovery from the Great Recession. Food network television came to the forefront to fill a need that people could identify with during hard economic times. Basically, anything to do with food was pumped up on television no matter how much integrity the food lacked and the viewing audience eagerly lapped it all up back in those days.
During the Great Recession, there were more self proclaimed food experts with inflated egos on television than there were real chefs cooking authentic classic cuisines. The viewing audience was more interested in gimmick food items, than learning accurate culinary traditions, thus the main staple on food network shows was most often glorified junk food made by television chefs that operate Ponzi Scheme signature restaurants that lure naive investors. Food hype is what sold in 2014 and food hype was in the spotlight, especially at the commercially sponsored food competitions.
The 2014 World Food Championship was a highly publicized annual competitive event that took place in Las Vegas. This event was moved from the Las Vegas Strip to Fremont Street in 2013 and the relaxed atmosphere downtown helped to increase attendance numbers. Since this competition is a sponsored event, it is operated like a mobile carnival that can change locations anytime to increase exposure. This roving road show was destined for other cities too, because increasing audience recognition of the brand names of the sponsors was the primary goal.
The audience experience at a World Food Championship event can be likened to stepping into an endless television commercial advertisement that takes a few short entertainment breaks that feature culinary competitions. What made the 2013 and 2014 events a success was the move to Fremont Street, which offered a much more entertaining atmosphere than the old site location, which was a parking lot behind an old casino on The Strip.
The integrity of food competitions, including the 2014 World Food Championship, are always dubiously suspect. In nearly every food competition the lack of integrity can be attributed to the judging process, which involves favoritism and commercially sponsored bias. Payola involving the organizers or judges is commonplace in food competitions too. I actually worked for a restaurant that won a national barbecue championship by stuffing lots of cash into a judges pocket, so I know how far some folks will go to become a winner. Basically, a food competition is something that must be taken with a grain of salt, in order for the event to be entertaining, especially for experienced chefs that participate.
The hospitality industry is part of the entertainment industry, so events like the 2014 World Food Championship are just entertainment and nothing more. When events like this take place on Fremont Street in Las Vegas, it is well worth stopping by, because the price of admission for the preliminary events is free. A few sponsors give away promotional item samples away for no charge, so a visitor can get some free goodies too. For those who are just plain old interested in food and the workings of a commercialized culinary competition, checking out the the World Food Championship in Las Vegas is a must to do!