By ASHLEY INGE
STEPHENVILLE (October 20, 2018) – Many people love to cook but not everybody gets to cook for money!
Teresa Cardin, a Stephenville resident, is competing in the World Food Championships on Nov. 8 at The Wharf in Orange City, Alabama.
Nearly 1,500 chefs will compete for a chance to win more than $350,000 in cash and prizes, the biggest payout in Food Sports history.
“Teams from more than 40 states and 15 countries will enter one of our 10 competition categories to earn their way to a title and a huge TV opportunity,” said Mike McCloud, the CEO and official Commissioner of the event in the World Food Championships press release. “The competition will be more intense than ever this year, and ten incredible chefs or home cooks are going to walk away with $10,000 cash!”
Cardin recently won the title of Grand Champion at the Grand Tasting which was part of the Texas Super Chef Throwdown in Port Aransas on Oct. 6 and will be representing Texas at the Ultimate Food Fight.
According to the World Food Championships press release, competitors will cook food on-site during the timed events that include preparation speed, specialty recipes, presentation and the ultimate taste test for E.A.T. certified Food Sports judges. The categories include bacon, barbecue, burger, chef, chicken, chili, dessert, sandwich, seafood and steak.
Cardin will be competing in the seafood category. She said she wasn’t expecting to be successful in cooking seafood.
“At World Food, seafood is all I have competed in. I never thought it was but it seems to be. People seem to like what I do with the seafood. When I went down there to Port Aransas to cook, I wasn’t expecting to do anything there because I was competing against people that live down there, right on the ocean who are used to cooking with fresh fish on a daily basis and I won, so you just never know. It’s hard to predict what the judges are going to think is the best,” Cardin said.
She said the hardest competition she competed at was Port Aransas.
“I was invited to go cook down there and we were all in a tent and we had this table and two burners. We didn’t even have a stove that we had to cook on. That was probably the hardest competition I have ever cooked in because I never competed in an event where all I had were these two little gas burners,” Cardin said.
Cardin also said the smaller competitions aren’t as bad as the bigger competitions. She said at the bigger competitions, she feels like she’s at a circus.
“The World Food Championship, it’s kind’ve like a circus. There’s no describing it. There’s this huge tent. There’s like 40 people cooking at the same time under this tent with a big clock counting down the time. The professional chefs and the restaurant owners and even chefs from other countries [are] competing against people like me [who is] just a homecook. You’re just kind’ve all thrown in the arena together and everyone has the same cooking stations so you’re all on the same playing field as far as your equipment and stuff goes. You have an hour to cook your dish and get it presented to the judges and people are probably like, “Girl, that’s plenty of time,” but it’s really not when that clock is ticking down and there’s some guy with a microphone telling you, ‘You’ve got so many minutes left. You need to hurry up.’ Time flies,” Cardin said.
Cardin said she’s always grown up around cooking. Her mom, her grandparents and her aunts have all cooked.
“I can remember my mom would make real macaroni and cheese and my friends would get the Kraft, and I was jealous because I wanted Kraft Macaroni and Cheese,” Cardin said, laughing. “Food has always been a big deal in my family. Everyone has always cooked and always made homemade foods.”
Although Cardin has been cooking for 15 years, she only started competing in the live cooking competitions in recent years.
“I was always scared. They’re pretty intimidating,” Cardin added.
But that hasn’t stopped Cardin for long. This marks the fourth time that Cardin has competed at the World Food Championships. Her best finish came in 2014 when she took home 5th place in the Seafood category.
Although Cardin is competing for the largest payout in history, she said she is not focused on the money.
“I just concentrate on doing the best that I can. When I go and cook, I just try to focus on cooking the recipe I’m supposed to cook and don’t even think about the prize at the end. I just do the best I can. If I turn the dish in and I know it’s turned out well and I did the best I could, I have no control over what the judges are going to think about it. You hope the judges like it [but] I just focus on doing the best that I can,” Cardin said.