That’s what our Culinary Arts instructors and one lucky student will learn when they duke it out on the national stage to compete for the title of best burger in the world at the World Burger Championship.

Chefs JJ Meland and Roger Knapp, along with second-year student Tony Brooks, will be one among fifty teams slated to compete for a $10,000 prize, a chance to win more cash, and to be crowned World Food Champion at the World Food Championships in Las Vegas, Nov. 12-18.

If you’re not familiar with it, the World Food Championships are “the most ambitious and authentic culinary competition on the planet.

Bates Technical College Culinary Arts Chef Meland
Chef Meland proudly holds a much-coveted Golden Ticket.

The event itself attracts more than 25,000 people per day through multiple events and competitions–all while being filmed for a reality TV series slated to air on the A&E family of networks, newly rebranded the FYI Network, this summer.It’s a big deal to compete at the World Food Championships. Most contestants must qualify through local food competitions, like the Washington State Spring BBQ Championship. The Bates Technical College team had luck in the form of a Golden Ticket.

“One really cool opportunity that came from the American Culinary Federation national convention I attended in July, was meeting Ben Vaughn, a Food Network host and celebrity chef,” said Meland.”I spent a couple of days hanging out with him, and had the opportunity to pick his brain about being on TV and competing in shows. I also did a live interview with Ben at the conference, which was a pretty cool experience,” he said.Because Vaughn thought Meland would be a good fit for the competition, he “offered me a Golden Ticket, which is a free pass to compete in the World Food Championship,” said Meland. “I am super excited about the opportunity, and I am excited that Bates is supporting the culinary arts team on this awesome, one-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”A tournament-style competition, the massive event includes nine categories: barbecue, chili, sandwich, burger, dessert, bacon, recipe, pasta and seafood.Once the champions of the first seven categories are named, they get the opportunity to compete at what’s called the Final Table. The lucky winner of the Final Table will become the World Food Champion and take home bragging rights and a nice pile of cash.

While Chefs Knapp and Meland are hush-hush about the details of the burger they plan to serve to the food-critic judges, we have it on good authority that you may be able to sink your teeth into the burger upon their return. And we know it will be the perfect combination of ingredients.

Check out last year’s competition highlight reel, below.

And wish the Bates Technical College Culinary Arts Team GOOD LUCK. Bring home the bacon!