Chef Selection Process

The Farm & Table Chefs Taste Challenge Committee will review the applications and select a group of 10 finalists who will represent the southern region of the country.

Once the Chefs Taste Challenge Committee establishes who the final Top 10 chefs are, each of the chefs and their selected sous will be invited to participate in the Taste Challenge dinner on September 8th in New Orleans (airfare and accommodations will be included for each Head Chef and their Sous Chef).


A pantry list of ingredients, donated by various Agriculture Departments and companies, will be shared with all ten chef contestants and published ahead of time. These items must be incorporated into each chef’s dish. Because there will be limited quantities of these products, not all ten chefs will be able to use the same main ingredients. Therefore, there will be a drawing/lottery where each chef will make ingredient selections ahead of the event.

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 judges from the culinary world will select their top two favorite dishes out of the ten 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. The top two dishes according to the judging will receive the Gold and Silver Chef’s Taste Challenge awards. A People’s Choice award will also be announced based on the voting from members of the public in attendance.

All ten chefs will receive participation in the Taste Challenge dinner and national recognition. Awards will be presented to the Gold, Silver, 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 Gold and Silver winners 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!