World Food Championships Selects The Wharf For 2016 Tournament


February 5, 2016

World Food Championships Selects The Wharf in Orange Beach, Ala. For 2016 Tournament

The Ultimate Food Fight celebrates its 5th anniversary with multi-year deal

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 5, 2016) – The World Food Championships announced today that it is going coastal for the first time and moving the 2016 Ultimate Food Fight to Orange Beach, Alabama.

Now celebrating its 5th Anniversary, WFC will be held Nov. 8-15 at The Wharf, a resort destination with a full-service marina, retail, dining and entertainment options anchored by a multi-use event center and a 10,000-seat amphitheater.

The relocation to Orange Beach is a major milestone, according to World Food Championships’ CEO Mike McCloud. For the first time, WFC will be able to centralize all of its nine championships while also providing more access for “eatertainment” and culinary tourism.

"The World Food Championship is a great fit for the Alabama Gulf Coast, and we know competitors and visitors will enjoy their experience," said Herb Malone, president and CEO of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism. "Based on other culinary events we have here - National Shrimp Festival, Hangout Oyster Cook-Off, Wharf Uncorked - we know from experience what events like these can do for a destination.”

The direct tourism and economic impact of WFC in 2015 on central Florida surpassed $2 million, while more than 3500 room nights were booked and a national media value of $26 million was reported by BurrellesLuce, an independent media monitoring service.

"Our event brings a huge culinary and economic impact to our partner destination, and as a result, it requires a ton of space, logistics and support to be successful," McCloud said. “With the help of Orange Beach tourism and The Wharf, we are extremely excited about our future as we continue to build out the largest Food Sport event in the world.”

The majority of WFC’s food fights occur in Kenmore Kitchen Arena, the largest outdoor kitchen in the world, measuring a full city block. The space features $250,000 worth of Kenmore branded stoves, cooktops, countertops and cookware – enough for 50 contestants to cook simultaneously. An additional $100,000 worth of professional grills from Bull Outdoor Products allow for open-flame grilling.

"This is a multi-year deal that gives us the ability to plan our growth strategically and confidently," McCloud added. "We will now be able to market and expand WFC on many fronts, including unique food experiences like a Global Tasting Village, a chef-driven Culinary Fight Club, and Food Champ Judging classes that feature the EAT Methodology for scoring competition food.”

The World Food Championships was created in 2012 and has experienced rapid growth ever since. From a 30% annualized growth in competitors, to its second TV series that will be aired this summer on Destination America, the WFC has evolved into a year-long quest for thousands of competitors and foodies, as well as a marketing platform for innovative companies that integrate fun food experiences.

This year's tournament is expected to host more than 1,200 competitors representing 400 teams from 20 countries and 45 states, all vying for part of the $350,000 prize purse and its industry-leading $100,000 grand prize.
Marked by its sugar-white sand beaches, deep-sea fishing and countless family attractions, the Orange Beach and Gulf Shores area is one of the world’s leading beach destinations, annually attracting more than 5 million visitors. Centrally located in the Gulf, and a short drive from the Pensacola airport, Orange Beach's lodging properties are ideal for beach-side access or inland retreats that are both convenient and affordable. A spectrum of local dining, upscale shopping, fishing, nature and adventure-based excursions also contribute to a spectacular vacation, holiday or leisure experience.

To learn more about the WFC and its qualifying events, tournament-style process or consumer experiences, visit www.worldfoodchampionships.com.

To learn more about Orange Beach, visit www.orangebeach.com.

To learn more about The Wharf, visit www.alwharf.com.

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