Monday, Nov. 11, 2013 | 3:33 p.m.
The carrot cake walloped the all-American burger, and who would have guessed?
Dave Elliott from Olathe, Kan., walked away from the World Food Championships Finals on Sunday with $50,000 and the champion’s title.
Over four days of intense rivalry, more than 400 American cooks competed in seven American comfort food categories for a total purse of $300,000.
Last year, the championship title was won by chef Robert Butler from Paris Las Vegas for his braised pork sandwich.
I joined “Pin Up” at the Stratosphere headliner Claire Sinclair, Food Network star chef Ben Vaughan, barbecue king “Famous” Dave Anderson and three other food judges to decide on the winners.
Wade Fortin of Chicago placed second with his hamburger, and Victor Howard from Houston was third with his brisket barbecue. Other categories were chili, pasta, sandwich and bacon.
David brought his mom, Jan, to the contest and used her secret carrot cake recipe to walk away the ultimate winner. He is the chef at Porky McBeef and Cluckers in Kansas.
Neither would reveal the secret of the delicious dessert dish. The show was taped for broadcast on the A&E Television Networks in March.
Earlier in the showdowns, NFL Hall of Fame stars Earl Campbell (Houston Oilers) and Bill Bates (Dallas Cowboys) — both of whom have food companies — took part in a heavyweight food fight on Fremont Street.
Food judges Simon Majumdar and Emily Ellyn pronounced 1977 Heisman Trophy winner Earl the winner, saying his dish “was like a Philly cheesecake with spicy sausage.”
Yellowtail (Bellagio) and Kumi (Mandalay Bay) celebrity chef Akira Back congratulated his executive chef Michael Chen, who won $5,000 in the all-star World Chef Challenge. Akira raced to the airport from the cook-off for a flight to New Delhi, India, where he is opening his first overseas Akira Back restaurant in the next two weeks.
Crowds of the chefs’ fans and food fanatics jammed Fremont Street Experience in record numbers for all four days of competition, most of which was free to the public. I learned that the World Food Championships will return to Las Vegas for its third year next fall.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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