New Orleans Chefs Brennan, Martin, Rondeno, Eubanks To Crown World Food Championships’ Final Table Winner, Award $100K

World Food Championships
Chefs Dickie Brennan, John Martin, Ryan Rondeno and JD Eubanks will judge The World Food Championships’ (WFC) Final Table $100,000 competition in New Orleans.

The World Food Championships’ (WFC) Final Table $100,000 competition takes place in New Orleans this month, and while no New Orleanians are vying for the Final Table title, four local chefs will be judging the most anticipated culinary moments in Food Sport – Chefs Dickie Brennan, John Martin (Tableau), Ryan Rondeno (Rondeno Culinary Designs) and JD Eubanks (American Sector Restaurant and Bar).

The WFC held its seventh annual World Food Championships five-day outdoor cooking tournament from November 7-10 at The Wharf at Orange Beach, Alabama, last year. More than 1,500 contestants from 42 American states and 12 countries competed in 10 food categories at this largest cooking competition in the world, and more than 30,000 foodies convened to watch these category winners claim $10,000 each and the chance to compete in the Final Table:


• Bacon World Champion – Peter Radjou (Roanoke, Virginia)

• World Barbecue Champion – Oliver Sievers with BBQ Wiesels (Bochum, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany)

• World Burger Champion – Neil Daniell (Atlanta, Georgia)

• World Chef Champion – Nick Rickman (Marianna, Florida)

• World Chicken Champion – Lidia Haddadian (Pasadena, California)

• World Open Chili Champion – Jacqueline Seavey (Long Beach, Mississippi)

• World Dessert Champion – Greg Buerger (Peoria, Arizona)

• World Sandwich Champion – David Molina (St. Louis, Missouri)

• World Seafood Champion – Beau Smith (La Marque, Texas)

• World Steak Champion – Robert Mansfield (Ringwood, New Jersey)


These crafty culinarians will meet again in just a few weeks to face-off in three rounds of cooking competitions from Friday, May 17, to Sunday, May 19, at the New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute (NOCHI), 725 Howard Ave., to determine who will be crowned the seventh World Food Champion. 

They will be judged for their versatility, natural culinary ability and ingenuity during three challenges that will focus on Cajun and Creole cooking.

“We are so excited to watch these talented cooks and chefs battle it out in such a world-class facility,” said Mike McCloud, president and CEO of WFC. “This year’s Final Table is going to be our most unique challenge yet as we incorporate local cuisine and celebrity judges to truly test the abilities of our 10 champions. We want the 10 category champs to receive the accolades they deserve while highlighting a city’s culinary pedigree. What these 10 individuals accomplished in November is remarkable, and now it’s time to see who will take home the 2018 title of World Food Champion from one of the best-known culinary cities in the world.”

The panel of Final Table’s five judges includes Chef Eubanks from the American Sector Restaurant and Bar that’s located in the National World War II Museum. A former Naval Culinary Specialist who spent years cooking for admirals and captains, Eubanks has worked for Wolfgang Puck Worldwide and Fox Restaurant Concepts.

“Having local, active chefs as judges at our Final Table is very important,” said WTC’s McCloud. “JD’s experience and culinary expertise will be very insightful as our Food Champs navigate the upcoming Cajun/ Creole challenges.”

Chef Rondeno is from Metairie, and his passion lies in preparing French, Italian and Regional American food. Rondeno’s Rondeno Culinary Designs caters innovative and elaborate dishes for his star-studded clientele including actor Will Smith and actor/ singer Tyrese. In 2016 he developed his own line of spices, the Ryan Rondeno Spice Collection.

“Ryan has a unique eye for culinary design, and we are super impressed with his accomplishments,” said McCloud. “His creative palate will be a great addition to our incredible panel of judges.”

On the opening day of competition, the 10 Final Table finalists will create a classic Cajun dish. Only five will move on to the second challenge, which will be to recreate a famous Dickie Brennan dish – Redfish Bienville.

“This is going to be a great challenge for our next World Food Champion,” said McCloud. “Not only will they face one of the culinary legends in New Orleans, but Dickie will be judging how well they cook one of his legendary dishes. Make no mistake about it. This is going to be tough task.”

Chef Brennan, the owner and manager of Dickie Brennan & Company, a restaurant group that owns and operates Palace Cafe, Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse, Bourbon House and Tableau, is a third generation restaurateur of the renowned Brennan family, and is dedicated to cooking modern, yet traditional Creole cuisine. 

Chef Martin is the Executive Chef at Tableau and places emphasis on the French side of French-Creole cooking.

The fifth judge on the Final Table panel will be Chef Katie Dixon from Birdhouse Café in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Two of the remaining five contestants will be eliminated after the Redfish Bienville challenge, and the final three will move on to compete in a “Mystery Basket Challenge.” 

From the final three, a $100,000 winner will be selected.

WFC has awarded more than $1.8 million in prize money since 2012 and reps said its events has garnered more than 6.9 billion media impressions, and connected more than 150 food brands with food fans, food bloggers and food media.

The eighth annual World Food Championships will take place from October 16-20 in Dallas, Texas.

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