A culinary team from Waxahachie HS won a coveted chance to compete in the prestigious World Food Championships (WFC) at Fair Park Nov. 9-13. The competition draws food show fans and food lovers eager for a chance to cheer on their favorite celebrity chefs. WFC brings 1,500 top chefs and home cooks from around the globe, with over 300 teams–40 of them international–competing in ten categories. These culinary celebrities fight it out for a piece of the $300,000 prize awarded by this major food competition.
Hachie Culinary, a Waxahachie High School team led by Mackenzie Mills (Chef Z), with her sous chef and fellow WHS senior Jordyn Usrey, were very competitive in the World Sandwich Championship open faced sandwich category held Nov. 10. They scored 94.625 in that contest, which Cattle Dog Coffee Roasters James Cook won with a 99.75 top score. The overall WFC Sandwich competition was won by Damon Holter from Hudson, Wisconsin.
The Waxahachie team’s dish was described as a Hawaiian-Texan fusion open faced sandwich: Brioche toast, Bison carpaccio, and baby arugula tossed in a lemon vinaigrette, pickled pineapple and garlic chutney, crispy BBQ glazed SPAM, smoked lobster tail, and drizzled in Z’s own TexSass BBQ sauce.
Chef Z’s Culinary Career
Chef Z Mills has enjoyed an amazing culinary career for someone still in high school. From a championship appearance on Food Network’s Chopped Junior, to judging their culinary idols in that show’s “Make Me a Judge” tournament, to a long top 6 run on the inaugural season of the Emmy nominated “Top Chef Junior” to catering in their hometown of “Waxalothian,” Chef Z keeps “reaching for the stars.”
“Z has sought and embraced opportunities to intern in various high-end kitchens in the metroplex, from Ocean Prime to Chef Dean Fearing’s eponymous restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton. On the home front, Z and their older sister Aly have partnered up to create and market “Chef Z’s TexSass BBQ Sauce” – hopefully the next big thing in Texas BBQ! With all of this, Z has found time to be active at Waxahachie High School, leading the Culinary program as its President, Captaining the State-qualified BBQ competition team, an officer in musical theater, President of the Gay-Straight Alliance, and carrying a place in the top 10% of their Senior class,” from the WFC bio.
“Z remains active in their Midlothian community, acting as a judge in the Bridges’ Foundation BBQ Bash, supporting Manna House, and volunteering for various community projects. Proud of their Texan roots, the (formerly) blue-haired chef is just getting started,” the bio reads.
Bourb’N’Que Happy Hour
WFC chefs participated in ten categories: Bacon, BBQ, Burger, Dessert, Rice/Noodle, Sandwich, Seafood, Soup, Steak, and Vegetarian. An exhaustive number of events were held Nov. 9-13, including a popular Bourb’N’Que happy hour Nov. 11. Photographer Chris Waits, who attended that event, says it was too difficult to choose a favorite from all the outstanding BBQ ribs he tried. People who attended the Bourb’N’Que event were given a chance to vote for their favorites in the People’s Choice category.
WFC recently announced the winner of the overall BBQ competition was Sterling Smith from Scottsdale, Arizona. Several Texas chefs won their competitions. Bethany Boedicker from Galveston won for Dessert, and Peter Armendariz from Rowena won the Steak competition.
For more information about the WFC and a complete list of winners, please visit worldfoodchampionships.com.