Two local, amateur chefs, George Levinthal of Goleta and L. J. Washington from Carpinteria, are packing their knives, recipes and cooking skills and heading to the Super Bowl of cooking competitions, the World Food Championships in mid-November. They’ll be off to Las Vegas where the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Vegas will be transformed into the largest cooking competition kitchen anywhere. It’s a competition that pits both amateurs and professionals in 9 categories. Close to 500 competitors from the U.S. and other nations will test their skills with the ultimate World Champion strutting away with a $100,000.00 grand prize.
George has been cooking for as long as he can remember but has only been part of the competitive cooking world for a little over four years, with ongoing success. His early burger creations have been named one of five winners in the Los Angeles Times Battle of the Burgers, two years in a row. He’s also walked away with winning dishes, for two consecutive years in the Santa Barbara Independent’s Summer Grilling Contest. His victories extend from coast to coast having gone to New York to tape a segment on the Cooking Channel’s the Perfect 3 for his cornbread pudding. And his Kicked-up All-American Cheeseburger which he submitted through the Just a Pinch website earned him his golden ticket to the WFC.
L. J., a New Orleans native, is a registered nurse, musician, owner of L.J.’s Southern Belle Cookies and an avid competitive chef. Her cooking style is rooted in the southern culture and cuisine of her home town of New Orleans. She has been living in Carpinteria for over six years. She has won the Santa Barbara Independent Sandwich Showdown in 2012 in which she won against two professional sandwich chefs and restaurant owners in Santa Barbara. She also adds grill master to her accomplishments when she won in the summer of 2012 the KEYT-TV News Backyard BBQ where she began learning how to bbq a month before the competition. This year she was victorious at the Carpinteria Chili-Cookoff with her hickory smoked infused pork and beef chili. L. J. was also a finalist in the 2012 Santa Barbara Independent Sizzling Summer BBQ Contest, the Today Show Father’s Day Burger Battle in New York City which aired June 2013, and the 2013 World Food Championships Sandwich Division finishing in the top ten. L. J. is ready to get back once more in the heated battle of chefs from around the world in Las Vegas at the World Food Championships 2014. She hopes her savory sandwich will bring home the ultimate prize.
George and L.J. are excited about the upcoming competition with the hopes of bringing home the ultimate prize.