2016 WFC Day 4: Bacon World Championship with the Fabulous Bacon Babe

Since I didn’t have to arrive at The Wharf until 10 a.m., I got to sleep in a little and make a quick breakfast sandwich at the Hampton Inn. I still had a LOT of Whole Foods Market leftovers. I made a sandwich with a brioche bun stuffed with an egg salad made with hardboiled eggs and avocado topped with bacon strips, bleu cheese, and diced tomato. After protein-packed sandwich down the hatch, it was time to get myself ready for the Bacon World Championship Top 10 round at the World Food Championships.

While we waited to get into Kenmore Kitchen Arena, I spotted my good friend, Big Moe Cason. You may know him from competing and judging on Destination American’s BBQ Pitmasters. You may have also seen him on my YouTube channel when I covered the Horse Town Brew N’ Que last year. He is the nicest guy in BBQ!

Jodi Taffel, a.k.a. The Fabulous Bacon Babe, made her way through the opening round and now it’s time to test her skills on infusing Olive and Sinclair Chocolate with Hormel Black Label Pecanwood Thick Cut Bacon. Olive and Sinclair’s Southern Artisan 67% Chocolate is made with single-origin beans from Ghana, along with red stone fruit, brown butter, and sorghum molasses. The Southern Artisan Sea Salt Chocolate starts with a 75% cacao bean base and is speckled with flaked sea salt.

Before the start of the competition, Jodi’s station was plagued by electrical issues. First, the oven would not turn on. Jodi didn’t want to take all her food and supplies out in case she had to move. WFC personnel worked on it and managed to get the oven working before the start of the round. When it was time to start melting the chocolate for the mousse, the microwave was not working. As the WFC personnel worked on the problem, Mary, Jodi’s sous, used a microwave in an empty station to get the chocolate melted. It turned out that the microwave was broken and they swapped it out for a new one. David coined the motto, “Adapt and overcome.”

  • WFC Cooking Tip: You can’t buy liquor in a grocery store like you would in California. Per Alabama Alcohol Laws: “Alcohol can be purchased any day except for Sunday. Spirits and wine with an alcohol content of 14% or higher are sold in ABC stores, also called package or state stores. Table wine (less than 14% alcohol) and beer with less than 6% alcohol content is available in groceries and convenience markets.”

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Jodi’s entry was a Chocolate Espresso Mousse topped with balsamic bourbon pecan marmalade, bacon infused Chantilly cream, raspberry coulis, chocolate pearls, and pecan bacon tuile served in a chocolate tulip cup. The chocolate tulip cups came all the way from California and the helpful flight attendants kept them safe during the flight over.

Jodi made me my own tasting portion. The Olive and Sinclair Chocolate really makes a rich chocolate mousse with luscious texture. It is silky and melts just right on the tongue. The balsamic bourbon pecan marmalade complements the rich chocolate mousse with tangy, sweet, salty, smoky, and nutty notes but not too strong to overwhelm the chocolate. The bacon flavor in the Chantilly cream was subtle adding a nice creamy flavor and texture. The chocolate pearls, fresh raspberry, and mint leaf on top tied in the chocolate tulip cup for the presentation. This dessert flavor and presentation is worthy of a fine dining restaurant. If I had judged this dish, I would have scored it: E – 10, A – 10, T – 10. The judges scored her an 84.6667, moving her up to #5 with a final score of 86.05002. Just 1.69998 points away from #1!

I am so proud of Jodi, showcasing her skills as a great cook as well as her organizational skills in the kitchen to deliver perfect dishes (in my opinion) at the World Food Championships! I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us this November!

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