Often referred to as “The Ultimate Food Fight,” The World Food Championships’ final competition, “The Final Table” will be held at the University of South Carolina, April 30-May 1, 2022.
The World Food Champion will be crowned when the 10 category champions compete at the McCutchen House, located on the University of South Carolina’s historic Horseshoe. The regional tourism office chose the university for this prestigious event since it is an ever-changing blueprint of South Carolina’s rich and unique history. The competition will be filmed for a special Final Table televised broadcast later this year.
“It was an easy decision to bring this event to the McCutchen House and the university’s Horseshoe. The McCutchen House exemplifies Southern hospitality and is especially ideal since it is operated by the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management. The location provides the perfect atmosphere to showcase the region to Final Table competitors and guests,” said Miriam Atria, President/CEO of the Capital City/Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board.
The event will draw 10 top culinary competitors and their families to the Capital City/ Lake Murray Country region and the community is invited to join in the fun. The public is invited to Boyd Plaza in Downtown Columbia on Saturday, April 30 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a free expo with live entertainment, interactive exhibits and, of course, good food. The event will include the chance to meet the chef competitors and enjoy music by Cody Webb and Spencer Rush.
“Visitors and locals will be greeted by an enthusiastic community and a fun filled weekend. We encourage everyone to come out and join in the celebration at Boyd Plaza,” said Vickie Davis, Vice President of Special Events/Funding for the Capital City/Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board.
The contest will last from April 30 through May 1, featuring three rounds of challenges inspired by local cuisine experts. Like previous Final Table events, the 2021 finalists will participate in an elimination process that narrows the 10 Food Champs to five, then three, and ultimately one winner. More details on the specific challenges will be revealed soon.
“We are excited to be working with Capital City/Lake Murray Country and the World Food Championships to host this contest in the perfect venue,” says Robin DiPietro, Director of UofSC’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management. “We prepare our students to lead the global industries of hospitality and tourism management, so in addition to being an exciting and fun event for our faculty, students, and staff to be involved in, it will provide a valuable hands-on learning opportunity and highlights Columbia as a hospitality and tourism capital!”
The School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management at the University of South Carolina is one of the top 10 hospitality and tourism management schools in the country. The school is part of the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management and offers tourism degrees and hospitality degrees at the undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. level.
Team Lake Murray Country is no stranger to major food sport events as the Team played host to a WFC Super Regional Qualifier in 2021 by incorporating the competition into their fan-favorite “A Taste of Lake Murray.” The event qualified six chefs/cooks who just competed in the main event in Dallas. The destination was also recently named a Top Southern Food & Travel Destination by Food & Travel.
“South Carolina is famous for our hospitality and the quality and originality of our culinary scene. The Final Table competition is a unique opportunity to showcase our incredible capital city, the beauty and charm of UofSC’s historic campus, and all of the adventures that visitors can discover in the surrounding region. We’re proud to welcome the Final Table competitors, and we’re grateful to the team at Capital City/Lake Murray Country for bringing this event to Columbia,” said Duane Parrish, Director of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism.
Capital City/Lake Murray Country is one of the state’s 11 tourism regions promoting tourism in Lexington, Newberry, Richland and Saluda Counties. The Visitor Center is located on Highway 6 at 2184 North Lake Drive in Columbia. For more information, visit www.lakemurraycountry.com or call 803-781-5940.
Pictured (left to right):
Chef Arif Rizvi, RF’s Grill and Bubba’s Biscuit
Mike McCloud, President of World Food Championship
Miriam Atria, President/CEO of the Capital City/Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board
Robin Dipietro, Director of the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management
Duane Parrish, Director of the SC Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism
Beth Carrigg, Lexington County Council