Goleta’s George Levinthal and Team Santa Barbara headed to Orange Beach, Alabama last week to compete at the World Food Championships and returned to report a successful trip was had by all. Competing in the Burger category, George finished the first round in the top 10, 11th overall after the final round. A great accomplishment considering he competed against not only other home cooks like himself but professional chefs, and restaurant operators. A total of 45 competitors in all battled it out for prize money and bragging rights as the best burger chef around.
Team Santa Barbara consists of L.J. Washington and Anne Peyrat as well as Jennifer Hernandez and Jill Monthei who flew in at the last minute to support George and assist him. Team Santa Barbara was one of the 430 teams from 40 states and 14 countries who competed at WFC to try to bring home the top prize of $100,000.00. Even though he didn’t win the big prize, George was extremely thrilled to get as far as he did. “My goal going to Alabama was to finish in the top 15 or 20 considering the competition. It was so awesome to hear my name called for 10th place and see my name in lights. I don’t think I’ve smiled that much in a long time.”
There’s a good chance that Team Santa Barbara will be seen on TV, as the event was filmed for a national cable television network. It has been seen on the A&E Network as well as the Discovery Network. They loved Team Santa Barbara’s T-Shirts and had the camera crews around their cooking station numerous times during the competition.
George had to prepare 3 burgers during the competition, all original recipes. One of the burgers he prepared was his Bacon Chorizo Cheddarburger that was a contest winner in the Santa Barbara Independent’s summer BBQ contest held earlier this year. The other two were prepared using Bubba Burgers, the major sponsor of the burger category. Those two burger entries also had to follow a required theme or incorporate a specific ingredient.
Finishing in the top 10 automatically qualifies George to return next year and he can’t wait to get started on creating new burger recipes and finding ways to achieve the big money. In the meantime, George will get back to work at UCSB and daydream about burgers.
About the World Food Championships
The World Food Championships is the largest competition in Food Sport, where champions of previous events convene annually for a chance at winning the Ultimate Food Fight and a share of more than $300,000 in cash and prizes. Now in its fifth year, the World Food Championships platform ranges from live-event competitions to a robust multimedia platform that helps pro chefs, home cooks, and competition teams achieve food fame and fortune as TV’s next big food stars.