Chef Selection Process

The Farm & Table Chefs Taste Challenge Committee will review the chef applications and select a group of finalists representing New Orleans and a group from the Gulf Coast to compete. 

Once the Committee establishes who the final chefs are, each of the chefs and their selected sous will be invited to participate in the Chefs Taste Challenge dinner on September 7th in New Orleans (airfare and accommodations will be included for each Head Chef and their Sous Chef).


Each chef team will be able to select their protein and “farm fresh” featured product in advance via a scheduled live lottery. These items must be incorporated into each chef’s dish. We will randomly select the “draft” order in which competitors will choose recipe ingredients. There will be two rounds of product selection — the first to choose protein and the second to chose a farm fresh ingredient donated by State Departments of Agriculture. A pantry list of ingredients will be shared with chef contestants before the event, and once onsite there will be a designated time for each head chef to explore the pantry and select the ancillary ingredients for their dish. 

Each culinary team will have access to the kitchen and equipment (limitations apply) at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. To assist in the creation of their entrees (500 tasting portions), chefs may bring with them one sous chef and any additional equipment or special ingredients. They will also have access to the convention center’s kitchen support staff during competition hours. 


A panel of culinary experts will select their favorite dish created by the competing chefs. The judges will be looking for the best dish to incorporate fresh farm to table ingredients and will judge on taste, creativity, and presentation. A People’s Choice award will also be announced based on the voting from members of the public in attendance. All chefs will receive participation in the Chef’s Taste Challenge dinner and national recognition. Awards will be presented to the Gold and People’s Choice winners.

Audience Voting

You, the guest, get to play an integral part in the Chefs Taste Challenge! In addition to the winner selected by the judges’ panel, we will be awarding a “Fan Favorite” award based on YOUR vote! Each guest will receive a ballot upon entering. After tasting all of the Chefs’ dishes, cast your vote for your favorite chef and dish!