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Team Lake Murray Country Chefs Sweep Top 10 at the World Food Championships

Lexington, SC - Team Lake Murray Country turned up the heat at the 2023 World Food

Championships (WFC), in Dallas, Texas. More than 450 teams from 40 states and 10 countries

competed in 10 categories of food at this year’s tournament. Team Lake Murray Country swept

the top 10 in each of their respective categories: Chef Mike Ellis, Chef - 8 th place; Chef Maegan

Horton, Seafood - 4 th place; Chef Chris Williams, Sandwich – 2 nd place.

“We are so proud of these Chefs and their Top 10 placements! These awards are a validation of

what locals already know – that the Lake Murray Country region is a foodie destination,” stated

Miriam Atria, President/CEO of Capital City/Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board.

Team Lake Murray Country Play-by-Play Results:

Chef Mike Ellis competed on Thursday, Nov. 9 in the Chef Category, and took 6 th place. The

placement qualified him for the Sam’s Club™ Bite Club on Friday, Nov. 10, a 5 th and 6 th place

sudden death style challenge judged by the public. His opponent, Chef Preston Nguyen won the

2021 WFC Final Table event held in Columbia, SC in 2022, and appeared on “Next Level Chef

with Gordon Ramsey”. Chef Nguyen won the match and advanced to the top 5 final round. Chef

Ellis placed 8 th in the final rankings on Saturday, Nov. 11. Back home in Columbia, SC Chef

Mike will continue his stellar direction of Culinary Services for Smoked, The Grand on Main, The

Main Course, Good Life Cafe, The Players Club, and Peak Drift Brewing. Stop by and have a

world-class meal!

The World Food Championships was an incredible opportunity to showcase my skills

and see how they stack up against some of the best chefs in the world. The competition

challenged me to be more creative, provided validation of my talent, and helped to

propel my skills to the next level! I learned a lot with this experience, and I cannot wait

until my next opportunity!

Chef Meagan Horton competed on Thursday, Nov. 9 in the Seafood Category, and placed 4 th .

She went on to compete in the top 7 final round, held on Saturday, Nov. 11 where she took

home 4 th place. Chef Maegan is excited to share that she is venturing out on her own and

opening her own private meal prep service, Chefs for Seniors of Columbia, SC.

“I am so excited to have this opportunity to venture out and open my own business

continuing with the hospitality industry, giving back to my community that has supported

me over the years doing what I love. I can't believe I placed 4 th in the seafood category at

the World Food Championships, it is hard to put into words, but my experience at WFC

was just AMAZING. I want to thank Capital City/Lake Murray Country for the opportunity

to have this experience, and our team rocked it out in Dallas!”

Chef Chris Williams competed Friday, Nov. 10 in the Sandwich Category, and took 6 th place,

qualifying him for the Sam’s Club™ Bite Club on Saturday, Nov. 11 against the 5 th place Chef.

Chef Chris won the challenge and advanced to the top 7 final round on Sunday, Nov. 12 where

he placed 2 nd . Want to taste the #2 Sandwich in the world? Visit Chef Chris at Roy’s Grille in

Irmo at 7971 N Woodrow St. Suite D. Chris serves up high-quality BBQ, homestyle flavors, and

also offers catering.

“It was yet again an honor to represent myself, my company, and Capital City/Lake

Murray Country at the World Food Championships. To be so close to victory and not win

has really motivated me to go harder than ever next year! I will take home #1!”

Join Capital City/Lake Murray Country, on Thursday, March 21, 2024, at the DoubleTree by

Hilton for the Taste of Lake Murray (TOLM) fundraiser. All proceeds directly benefit the 4 th of

July Celebration on Lake Murray held next year on June 29, 2024. Party with a purpose, taste

bites from over 20 restaurants, and vote for the next Chef to join Team Lake Murray Country at

the 2024 World Food Championships. Early bird tickets go on sale Thursday, Nov. 16 at 10:00

AM. Visit, Call 803-781-5940 or stop by the Lake Murray Country

Visitors Center at 2184 North Lake Drive, Columbia, for more information.

About World Food Championships

The World Food Championships (WFC) is the highest-stakes food competition in the world. This

multi-day, live event culinary competition showcases some of the world’s best cooks who

compete for food, fame and fortune in 12 categories (Bacon, Barbecue, Burger, Chef, Cocktail,

Dessert, Live Fire, Rice/Noodle, Sandwich, Seafood, Soup and Vegetarian). Each year as Food

Sport kicks off in January, teams have to earn their way into WFC by winning a Golden Ticket at

a previous qualifying competition, like Taste of Lake Murray. Almost 40 countries and every

state in America have been represented at WFC’s main event since 2012.

About Capital City/Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board:

CCLMC is the official source for all things Lake Murray Country. To plan your next trip, find

information on attractions, dining, hotels, outdoor recreation, fishing, golf, and events. Explore

The Top Southern Destinations of Columbia, Richland, Lexington, Newberry, and Saluda. For

more information about CCLMC visit or call 803-781-5940 | 1-866-SC-



Call the Editor
(803) 587-3144

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(803) 587-3144

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