Sweets & Eats 2018 Competitor Rules and FAQs


WHO CAN COMPETE IN THE TEAM COMPETITION: The competition is for persons that have experience in serving the general public.  This includes but is not limited to: licensed caterers, restaurants, professional chefs, BBQ teams, ServSafe trained individuals, culinary trained individuals, etc.


WHAT IS CONSIDERED A TEAM? It’s strictly up to you how you form your team so long as 1-2 individuals meet the requirement of a licensed caterer, restaurant, professional chefs, sous chef, line cook, BBQ teams, ServSafe trained individuals, culinary trained individuals, etc. You are serving the public and must be prepared to serve safely.


HOW TO SET UP – Please set up like a catering job.  Since you are providing samples to the public, we want everyone to be safe and follow health department rules.  You have running water and electricity in the competition area.  If you need to keep things warm, we recommend that you use a food warmer to pre-cook / stage items prior to the public eating portion of the competition.  We will give you plenty of time to preparing/cooking for the public if you show up early and get set up.  The Head Chef’s meeting is at 5:30 PM.  As soon as it is done, Team Competitors can start preparing dishes for the judges.


EQUIPMENT – We are providing 1 long square table for each contestant.  You will need to bring anything else you feel you need (Tent, Grill, extra tables, water hose, electrical hose, food truck, catering trailer, etc.). Per the Fire Marshall, please have 1 fire extinguisher on hand.  It should be placed at the base of your grill or warmer.


COOKING – For cooking, please bring whatever gear (spatulas, pans, etc.) is needed to prepare, cook, and construct your dishes for the judges. We do not provide it because it’s based on your individual needs. For both the sandwich and dessert competitions, you should be prepared to serve roughly 250 samples for the general public. You should be prepared much like a catering job with (the slicing, dicing, and preparation done beforehand). Serving samples to the public begins AFTER judging (12:00 PM).


MARKETING MATERIALS – Don’t forget your marketing materials, especially business cards!   You will want something that guest can take home!


CAN I USE MY OWN INGREDIENTS? Yes, but we require that it be from a reputable source. A reputable source can be any licensed butcher, grocery OR anyone who has a license to serve food (restaurant, caterer, etc.) If you have a food license (caterer, restaurant, etc.), you are a reputable source. If you do not have a food license, it needs to be pre-packaged from reputable source such as a licensed butcher or grocery store. Because of food safety concerns, you cannot use a grind that you make at home. (example: venison for a deer they killed).


CAN WE USE HOMEMADE ITEMS? Yes, but the items must be from a reputable source. A reputable source can be any licensed butcher, grocery, bakery and/or anyone who has a license to serve food (restaurant, caterer, etc.). If you have a food license (caterer, restaurant, etc.), you are a reputable source. If you do not have a food license, it needs to be pre-packaged from reputable source such as a grocery, bakery, butcher, etc. Because of food safety concerns, you cannot use canned items that you make at home.

CAN WE USE PREMADE ITEMS – You may use pre-made items that you make in advance (example cupcakes), but you may not use items premade by another store (example: cupcakes or cake from Publix).

Public Consumption: You will need enough for approximately 250 samples for the public to sample.  For professional judging, you will need 2 display items (full size) and 10 samples for the judges. Samples for the public should be approximately 2 oz. (small portion cup) in size for dessert, and sandwiches may be cut into slider size bites.  It’s strictly up to the competitor which serving method you use so long it’s approximately 1.5 oz. portion size when you serve it to the public.

PLATING – All competitors must supply their own plating for guests.  We recommend disposable.

WHAT TYPE OF COOKING EQUIPMENT WILL I NEED? Use whatever is needed to prepare, cook, and construct your plate. It’s based on your needs. In past competitions, competitors have used a butane chef’s burner, electric griddle, big green egg, portable gas grill, smoker, etc. We suggest preparing much like a catering job with the slicing, dicing, and preparation done beforehand. The only exception is that you are not allowed to construct your dishes for the judges beforehand.  Those most be prepared at the venue.  You may use items already cooked (e.g. Cupcake not decorated, cooking/preparing to start cooking immediately after the Chef’s meeting.


WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF COMPETING IN THE COMPETITION? The competition is a charity event benefiting the Speedway Children’s Charities and McDonough Arts. Your efforts are donations to helping two great charities raise funds. You will receive a donation letter for all donations provided.  In addition, you will also be competing for other awards and prizes.


IS THERE WATER AND ELECTRICITY?  Yes.  There are hook ups for water and electricity.  You will need to bring your own electric cord and hose (if needed).


WHAT DO WE NEED TO SERVE TO THE PUBLIC?  To serve the public, teams may use whatever they choose to serve their sample.  One of the easiest methods is probably a paper food serving tray which can be found in Sam’s Club.


WHAT IS TURNED IN TO THE JUDGES: Each competitor will be provided with a turn-in tray at the opening cook’s meeting.  It is a 12” x 19” oval tray that will be provided to each competitor by Atlanta Food Wars.  A contestant’s display food items and 5 samples must fit on the tray.  When your tray is turned in, you must provide a basic recipe card with your tray that states 1) the name of your creation, 2) the basic ingredients needed to create it, and 3) very simple instructions.  It does not have to be elaborate, and post card size is sufficient.  You may not use any identifying markings or names on your food or recipe card (Example:  logo’d toothpick, your name, restaurant or team name, state, city, etc.).  Toothpicks can be used to hold your creation together.  An identifying marking is grounds for disqualification.


HOW WILL THE JUDGED SAMPLES BE EVALUATED:  Judges will be instructed to judge each entry on Execution, Appearance and Taste, which is the foundation for the EAT™ method of judging. The numbering will rank from 1 to 10 (with 1 being worst and 10 being best) in each of the three judging categories. Each judge will convene at the mandatory judges meeting in advance of the judging round, where they will be instructed on what is expected of them at the competition. Judges will have access to basic flatware/plastic ware for use during all rounds of tasting. Competitors are not required and not recommended to provide individual flatware. Each entry will be judged on its own individual merits as opposed to comparatively against the other entries. Entries may include any combination of ingredients, sauces and toppings. Every component must be placed together as a single judging portion. If a component to an entry, such as a sauce or condiment, exists outside of the serving, it will not be judged. Judges are instructed that garnish does not have to be eaten or evaluated for scoring.

Overall, EAT category scores will be weighted as follows: Taste – 50%, Execution – 35%, Appearance – 15%.

WHAT IS EXECUTION: Within a category, “Execution” is scored specifically based on the category in which it belongs. However, in general, execution will be evaluated by overall and specific judge’s interpretations of a dish’s structure, edibility, potential featured ingredients, category specifications, design and preparation. (A couple of examples of why a judge might score poorly for execution includes: a soggy bun on a burger, or under cooked, inedible meat, an ingredient left off the dish, etc.) Specific category requirements / challenges will be detailed to the judges in the same manner that they have been detailed to the competitors. It will be up to the judges to determine the success of the competitor at accomplishing the requirements of the round.


WHAT IS APPEARANCE: Within a category, “Appearance” is first scored based on the category in which it belongs. (A burger that looks like a soufflé, for example, will not score well.) Secondly, only the display dish is judged for Appearance (meaning that sample dishes are not scored for appearance, since they may need to be portioned to fit on the turn-in tray). While judging the display dish, Judges will be instructed to base their assessment on the appearance of the category product, but to also consider overall presentation of its components. For example, a BBQ Cheeseburger that is smothered in BBQ sauce (making it impossible to see the burger) may be scored lower than a BBQ Cheeseburger that presents the BBQ sauce, cheese and burger in a balanced, visual manner.


WHAT IS TASTE: Within a category, “Taste” is first defined specifically to the category it belongs in. During WFC Judging each criteria will be judged on a scale of 1 (inedible) to 10 (perfect), with 5 being a mid-point (average) score. Additional Taste considerations include the balance of flavors and ingredients used by the cook. Judges are instructed to NOT use personal bias when it comes to spicy or savory desires. However, a Spicy Jalapeno Burger that is not spicy, but perhaps sweet due to another ingredient used, will score poorly compared to a dish that achieves what the cook describes in his or her title. In this year’s championship, for example, a Bacon dish in the Top 10 (where chocolate is the Infused ingredient) that does not achieve a sweet and savory taste will not score as well as one that does balance those two flavors.


WHAT IS THE WORLD FOOD CHAMPIONSHIPS: The World Food Championships is the largest competition in Food Sport, where grand champions of previous events convene for a chance at winning the ultimate food crown and a share of hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money. The World Food Championships is also the springboard for many up and coming culinary stars and home cooks as they seek TV fame through many well-known food shows and acting opportunities.

Now heading into its 6th season, the 5th Annual World Food Championships boasted the largest Food Sport tournament in history with well over 1200 contestants on 419 official teams. They came from 48 American states and 14 countries to compete, while more than 20,000 foodies watched and enjoyed the heat of the battle unfold in 10 official categories.

Since its debut in 2012, WFC has given birth to 30 TV food stars, awarded more than $1.5 million in prize money, garnered more than 5.7 billion media impressions, and connected 150+ food brands with food fans, food bloggers, and food media. In short, it has given birth to “Food Sport” by providing a level playing field, a fair judging system, a creative culinary fest, and a process that allows the culinary elite to show their chops and earn the respect they deserve.

Be sure you check out their TV coverage on ABC’s Nightline; or the six-episode reality series that A&E Networks did in 2014 for their FYI Network; the battle royale that occurred in 2015, which was filmed for yet another six-part series on the Discovery Network’s Destination America; or the 2016 episode which will air in 2018 on the Food Network.  Chances are, you can also find a ton of WFC content on YouTube or our Facebook platforms!


If competitors have further questions, please send those to us @ info@atlantafoodwars.com