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High-Stakes Chef Competition: The Final Table

Perry Baker Perry Baker
Perry is a former photojournalist who now serves as the Interactive Manager for
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The Final Table will be a high stakes cooking challenge in Columbia to name the World's Top Chef

This summer, Capital City/Lake Murray Country will host a unique and fun high-stakes culinary challenge that will culminate in one chef being named World’s Top Chef, taking home a $100,000 top prize.

The 10 finalists who won preliminary championships will arrive in Columbia on Friday, April 29, for The Final Table event. It is the first time the culinary competition has been hosted in the capital city.

The 10 chefs have already won the title of:

Bacon World Champion – Jack MacMurray, Missouri
World Barbecue Champion – Robert Smith, Texas
World Burger Champion – Mike Johnson, Missouri
World Chef Champion – Ethan Nguyen, Texas
World Dessert Champion – Evette Rahman, Florida
World Recipe Champion – Liz Waters, Georgia
World Sandwich Champion – Acie Vincent, North Carolina
World Seafood Champion – Carol Koty, Connecticut
World Steak Champion – Sunny Moody, Tennessee

On Sunday, May 1, one of these finalists will be named the World’s Top Chef and take home the $100,000 top prize.

Over the course of two days, these food sport all-stars will be faced with several culinary challenges distinctive to South Carolina. Kicking off the event will be a People’s Choice Biscuit Challenge, where the chefs have to create a biscuit using Adluh Flour, milled right in Columbia. 

The chefs also will go fishing on Lake Murray and then cook their catch.  The winning chef will win a cash prize and have their dish featured on the menu at the McCutchen House, a hands-on culinary classroom for University of South Carolina students seeking a career in hospitality. Part of USC's School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management, the McCutchen House is serving as the host kitchen for The Final Table competition.

Although the cooking contest is closed to the public, Capital City/Lake Murray Country is hosting a FREE Family, Food + Fun Outdoor Expo Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. –3 p.m. at the Columbia Museum of Art's Boyd Plaza on Main Street. Expo attendees will enjoy:

  • Live music by country music star Cody Webb
  • Interactive exhibits for the family
  • Food vendors
  • Live, streamed coverage of The Final Table competition
  • Sampling biscuits and voting for their favorite in the People’s Choice Award Biscuit Challenge
  • A book signing by Food Network Kitchen Chef Virginia Willis, author of  Secrets of the Southern Table: A food Lover’s Tour of the Global South
  • A SC State Park “virtual tour experience” with an Oculus VR headset that takes users on a 360-degree hike in Table Rock State Park
Perry Baker
Perry is a former photojournalist who now serves as the Interactive Manager for