Maple Leaf Farms Adds Delicate Flavors to WFC’s “Final Table: Indy”

Photo provided.

As Final Table: Indy draws near, the World Food Championships (WFC) and its presenting sponsors Visit Indy, Ivy Tech Culinary Center, Sysco and Team Indiana are thrilled to announce that Leesburg, Indiana-based Maple Leaf Farms will serve as the product sponsor for Saturday evening’s tasting and Sunday’s second round of competition.

In the first round, the Champions will be making a Pork and Parisian Gnocchi dish, after which the field will be narrowed down to just five contestants.

The five remaining contestants will then move on to the second challenge, which will begin with  Saturday evening’s private tasting at Chef Greg Hardesty’s Studio C. Utilizing Maple Leaf Farms’ world-class white Pekin duck, Chef Hardesty will prepare and serve Roast Duck Breast with Crispy Duck Spring Roll, Fried Wild Rice and Dried Cranberry Duck Jus.

The five contestants will then return to Ivy Tech Culinary Center on Sunday morning to prepare the dish and serve it to a five-person judging panel headed up by Chef Hardesty, accompanied by Maple Leaf Farms Chairman Terry Tucker, who will serve as the duck specialist, Oakley Bistro’s owner and Chef Steven Oakley, Sysco Executive Chef Rachanee Teipen and renowned Indy-based Chef Karl Benko.

“Connecting the premier talent in the world of food sports with Maple Leaf Farms’ premier duck products and sharing that experience with a national TV audience is just what we were hoping to accomplish. It’s another shining example of showcasing the people, products, places and services making Indiana the ‘Culinary Crossroads of America,’” said Larry Dickerson, Team Indiana and Culinary Crossroads spokesperson.

“Final Table: Indy,” which was scheduled for May but postponed due to COVID, will take place in Indianapolis at Ivy Tech Community College. Only three will make it to the final round, where they will have to recreate the Indiana-famous Sugar Cream Pie.

The 10 Champions who will compete at the Final Table — which is hosted by Visit Indy and sponsored by Ivy Tech Culinary Center, Maple Leaf Farms, Sysco, Red Gold, The Pork Board, and Culinary Crossroads — include:

  • Lidia Hadaddian, two-time Category Champion from Pasadena, California
  • Jodi Taffel, 2019 Bacon World Champion from Altadena, California
  • Matthew Statham, 2019 World Chef Champion from Fultondale, Alabama
  • Morgan Cheek, 2019 World Burger Champion from Muscle Shoals, Alabama
  • Ryan Hegland, 2019 World Steak Champion from Lakeville, Minnesota
  • Josh Cooper, 2019 World Seafood Champion from Tallahassee, Florida
  • Kelli FairchildCochran, two-time Sandwich Champion from Merced, California
  • Evette Rahman, two-time Dessert Champion from Orlando, Florida
  • Rocky Julianelle, 2019 World Open Chili Champion from East Haven, Connecticut
  • Ryan Murphy, 2019 World Barbecue Champion from Kansas City, Missouri

To learn more about “Final Table: Indy,” visit

Stay up-to-date on all culinary competition news, by following the World Food Championships on Twitter (@WorldFoodChamp), Facebook and Instagram (@WorldFoodChampionships).