COOKEVILLE – The largest Food Sport competition in the world, the World Food Championships (WFC), recently held its inaugural Food Champ University (FCU) event in its hometown headquarters of Cookeville.

The three-day workshop offered attendees an in-depth look into the growing industry and educated aspiring Food Champs on opportunities within both the brand and event spaces.

The event was the first of its kind and sparked interest from foodies around the globe. Among the 40 attendees, two countries, and 13 states were represented, including past and present World Food Champs. One FCU student, Fred Uisso, proved just how much passion and dedication Food Sport competitors have by traveling over 25 hours from Tanzania, Africa to attend the event.

“We were thrilled to see this kind of response from Food Champs,” said Mike McCloud, CEO/President of WFC. “We are excited for our first-year attendees to be able to walk away from our event with a better understanding of opportunities in the industry, how to build their individual brand and more insight on how they can turn their love for cooking into a paycheck!”

Highlights from the event included:

  • Seminars from industry experts
    • Mike McCloud, CEO and founder of WFC, covered opportunities in and around Food Sport
    • Food Champs Nancy Manlove, Suzanne Clark, Darci Bos and Chris Sherrill discussed what it takes to be a WFC Ambassador
    • Public Relations specialist Mindy Bianca helped educate and train FCU students on how to handle and respond to media
    • MMA Creative’s Communication team, Gabriella Stout and Keela Greenlee, walked attendees through a social media workshop to help Food Champs learn how to utilize these online platforms in brand building
    • Walmart, who is also the presenting sponsor for WFC’s main event in Alabama, sent its Senior Manager of Food Safety & Health, Casey Torrez, to walk attendees through an official Food Safety Program
    Live cooking demonstrations and food-centric activities were featured. Over the weekend WFC certified 12 new E.A.T. Certified Judges. Attendees enjoyed Food Champ cooking demonstrations from two-time World Pasta Champion, Suzanne Clark. FCU students enjoyed a wine pairing dinner prepared by WFC Ambassador Chad Combs featuring Walmart’s new Winemakers Selection collection

Fresh off FCU’s sizzlin’ success, WFC is already preparing for next year’s workshop and brainstorming more ways to provide Food Champs with the best tools needed to succeed in the Food Sport industry.

“In all we do, through our competitions, sponsorships, and other events, we strive to create a platform where talented chefs and cooks can gain the recognition they deserve,” said McCloud. “FCU was a great success and we are looking forward to being able to provide this program to many more Food Champs in the years to come as Food Sport and WFC continues to grow.”

To learn more about WFC and its programs, follow the World Food Championships on Twitter (@WorldFoodChamp), and Facebook and Instagram (@WorldFoodChampionships) or visit,

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