World Food Championships Spotlight: Franklin’s Team Scrumptious
Judy Beaudin, a renown chef in Tennessee and wife of Jeff Beaudin, iTrip Vacations Director of Training, has earned her spot in the World Food Championships (WFC) in Orange Beach, Alabama. The event ranks as the largest food competition in the world. For five days, champions battle for the ultimate food crown and thousands in prize money. To celebrate her success, we sat down with Judy to discuss good food and vibes.
World Food Championships Team Scrumptious Spotlight With Chef Judy Beaudin
iTrip Vacations: How did you get started in the food industry?
Judy: I grew up with a Mama and Grandmama who cooked and baked from scratch nearly everything that came from their kitchens. Despite being an 18-year beneficiary of their fabulous Southern home cooking, I didn’t have the desire as a child to learn one thing about the method to their culinary madness!
That changed almost 30 years ago when I started dating Jeff. We met at work in Atlanta, Georgia, where we became friends and started hanging out together. He would have me over for dinner and grill these wonderful steaks. It wasn’t long before we started officially dating. I’m pretty competitive, so I decided to learn to cook and show him he wasn’t the only one who could own the kitchen!
One night I made dinner for him. It was actually really good! I realized then that I loved cooking, and my food was creating special memories, connections and stories that would become part of my own family’s history. My passion for cooking and baking took off from there and has opened the door to incredible relationships and foodie adventures!
iTrip Vacations: What led you to World Food Championships?
Judy: This is the seventh year for the annual World Food Championships. There are 10 categories with about 30 to 40 contestants competing in each category. All have won a preliminary qualifying competitions to earn their way to the championships.
I will be competing in the World Dessert Championship, having earned my way by winning 1st place in Tennessee in summer 2018 for the Taste of America contest, which is a nationwide contest, and the only preliminary qualifying contest sponsored wholly by WFC.
I learned of WFC in 2017 when a foodie friend from Michigan was competing and needed a sous chef to help her. I was able to drive down from Tennessee to Orange Beach, Alabama, and serve as one of her sous chefs. I was hooked on the thrill of the event and decided I wanted to enter in 2018.
iTrip Vacations: What inspires you to cook?
Judy: There aren’t too many days when the creative juices aren’t swirling in my head about what I might like to create in my kitchen.
The idea of family all coming home, a tailgate, the anticipation of our holiday gatherings … all of these have me giddy with ideas of dreamy cakes, breads, savory snacks, cheesy gooey sides and fancy main dishes I can create to woo everyone into the same room to eat, laugh and celebrate. Bringing everyone together over great food is one of my favorite things in life.
iTrip Vacations: Where does your creativity come from?
Judy: Even as a small child, I have always been artistic. I was always drawing in my free time. I ended up going to college at The Art Institute of Atlanta. At this stage in my life, I find my creative outlet in the preparation and presentation of food. I love to think of the most beautiful and unique ways to showcase a particular dish or group of dishes. We eat first with our eyes, so it’s important to visually excite, invite and captivate guests, so they are eager for that first bite.
I also own a boutique catering business, Scrumptious Catering Company in Franklin, Tennessee. I am known for my fresh, made-from-scratch cuisine and my elegant food presentations. I specialize in upscale corporate events ranging from 75-200 guests.
iTrip Vacations: What do you hope to accomplish and gain from WFC?
Judy: This experience will be my first foray into the world of competitive cooking. While I intend to win my category – and ultimately the title of World Food Champion – I most look forward to an exciting week of rubbing elbows with world-class chefs and home cooks, all cooking in an energetic and celebratory atmosphere of camaraderie and fun. I want to learn from them and be inspired by them, and come away with tons of new foodie friends, great memories, and lessons that can grow me as a culinary artist.
iTrip Vacations: Any advice for other chefs and home cooks?
Judy: You always have more to learn. Study the methods and ingredients used by chefs you admire. Pay attention to what styles, ethnicities, flavors, techniques, etc. excite you most to develop your unique style and specialty.
Don’t think you have to master everything in the culinary world, but instead focus on what you do best. Don’t over complicate your creations. Sometimes a fresh filet of salmon, a little olive oil, a smidge of butter, some sea salt and cracked black pepper are all you need to create an incredible and tasty dish. Don’t be afraid; it’s just food. Practice, practice, practice!
About Team Scrumptious and World Food Championships
Team Scrumptious will compete on Thursday, November 8, 2018, in the World Dessert Championship. Judy will have two sous chefs joining her, Chris Moore from Franklin and her husband, iTrip Vacations’ own Jeff Beaudin.
WFC occurs at The Wharf in Orange Beach, the area’s top district for entertainment and events. More than 1,500 chefs and home cooks will compete, and all ages are welcome. Tickets are available for the main event and special celebrations. Need more information? Here are some helpful links: