There's Something Called The World Food Championships Going Down In Vegas

More than 300 competitive cooks will travel to Las Vegas this weekend as the World Food Championships are contested at Bally's, Paris and Caesar's Palace in what promises to be the ultimate food fight. The event, which is hosted by our insatiable man with the Yale Drama education Adam Richman, is in its first year but has already drawn great interest among the competitive cooking community. A large part of that interest may have been generated by the fact that over $300,000 in prize money is at stake in seven different categories.

Individual competitions will crown the World Champions in barbecue, chili, sandwiches, burgers and side dishes. There will also be a recipe contest and a World Chef Challenge where cooks will compete in tests of skill and create dishes under pressure using specific secret ingredients. The winners of each category will face off at "The Final Table" where Richman and a panel of celebrity judges will choose the ultimate champion and award a $50,000 grand prize.

Other notable food celebrities appearing at the World Food Championships include Nadia G, host of the Cooking Channel's #1 show Nadia G's Bitchin' Kitchen; Marc Murphy, star of Food Network's Chopped and last year's Marc Murphy Week on Food Republic; Barbara Fairchild, former Editor-in-Chief of Bon Appétit magazine; and Colman Andrews founder of Saveur and Editorial Director of The Daily Meal.

Also appearing at various events and demos over the weekend of November 2-4 are chef Jeff Henderson, regular on GSN's Beat the Chefs; Antonia Lofaso, featured chef appearing on Bravo's Top Chef and Top Chef: All-Stars; Kerry Heffernan, former Executive Chef at South Gate at the Essex House in NYC and featured chef on Top Chef Masters; Eric Greenspan, well-known standout from Food Network's Next Iron Chef and Monster Kitchen; Myron Mixon, star of BBQ Pitmasters and author of the NYT bestseller "Smokin' with Myron Mixon"; Elizabeth Falkner, runner-up on Next Iron Chef; and Chris Hanmer, winner of Bravo's Top Chef Just Desserts and owner of the School of Pastry Design in Las Vegas.

Like a prize fight to unify the boxing championship belts from many various sanctioning bodies, the WFC is intriguing in that it will include teams that normally compete under the auspices of different regional and national organizations. Just in the barbecue category alone, a dozen different sanctioning bodies are sending some of their best teams to compete, including the Canadian Southern BBQ Association, Florida BBQ Association, Georgia Barbecue Association, International Barbeque Cookers Association, Kansas City Barbeque Society, Lonestar Barbecue Society, Memphis Barbecue Network, New England Barbecue Society, Pacific Northwest Barbecue Association, South Carolina Barbeque Association and the Southern Barbecue Network. Look out for that New England Barbecue Society! They're known for smoking up a mean lobster.

In addition to the competitions, which are open to spectators, there are also several special events planned for attendees. An opening reception on Thursday night by the Paris Resort and Casino pool will feature culinary secrets from several celebrity chefs and pros and custom-designed cocktails by world-renown mixologist, Francesco Lafranconi. Adam Richman will host a final "Feast Under the Stars" Saturday night by the pool at Bally's, where the winners of the seven categories will be recognized and the Final Table will be set.

There's no word as to whether the Vegas sports books are taking action on the eventual winner of the World Food Championships, but you can rest assured that even the losers will be putting out some outstanding food.

If you find yourself in Sin City this weekend with an empty stomach, tickets are still available here.