The Final Table in Columbia, SC FREE Family, Food + Fun Outdoor Expo

April 18, 2022

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Final Table is the most high-stakes competition in Food Sport! Named the “Top Southern Summer Destination” by Food & Travel Magazine, Capital City/Lake Murray Country and the University of South Carolina will be the perfect backdrop for Food Sports’ brightest hour.

Ten finalists will arrive in Columbia on Friday, April 29th. The ten victors have already won the titles of: Bacon World Champion (Jack MacMurray from Missouri), World Barbecue Champion (Robert Smith, Texas), World Burger Champion (Mike Johnson, Missouri), World Chef Champion (Ethan Nguyen, Texas), World Dessert Champion (Evette Rahman, Florida), World Recipe Champion (Liz Waters, Georgia), World Sandwich Champion (Acie Vincent, North Carolina), World Seafood Champion (Carol Koty, Connecticut) and World Steak Champion (Sunny Moody, Tennessee). On Sunday, May 1st, one of these finalists will be named the World’s Top Chef winning $100,000.

Over the course of two days, these food sport all-stars will be faced with three culinary challenges that are distinctly South Carolina. The event will kick off with a People’s Choice Award Biscuit Challenge, sponsored by Adluh Flour, which involves the chefs creating a biscuit using Adluh Flour; Adluh is the only South Carolina flour mill that is still in operation.

Other challenges include the chefs catching their own ingredient while fishing with a guide on Lake Murray. Yes, that’s right…the chefs must catch a fish on Lake Murray! The winning chef will not only receive the cash prize, but will also have their winning dish on the menu at the McCutchen House.

Since the high-stakes competition is closed to the public, Capital City/Lake Murray Country is hosting a FREE Family, Food + Fun Outdoor Expo on Saturday, April 30th from 10am-3pm at Boyd Plaza at the Columbia Museum of Art. The Expo, emceed by WCOS’s Jonathon Rush, will include live entertainment by Country Music Star, Cody Webb, hands-on, family friendly interactive exhibits, lots of food, and live streamed coverage of the competition.  Expo attendees can participate in the People’s Choice Award Biscuit Challenge by sampling biscuits made by the top chefs and vote for their favorite.  Attendees will also get to purchase pies to “Throw a pie at your favorite Mayor.” The monies raised will support the winning mayors’ charity of choice.

“Visitors and locals will be greeted by an enthusiastic community and a fun filled weekend.  We encourage everyone to come out and join in the celebration at Boyd Plaza,” said Vickie Davis, Vice President of Special Events/Funding for the Capital City/Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board.

Virginia Willis, Food Network Kitchen Chef and Author, will be at the Expo at the Odd Bird Books booth signing her book, Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South, which features stories on South Carolina.

South Carolina State Park’s will have a booth with an Oculus virtual tour experience. The virtual reality headset takes users on a simulated 360-degree hike up to Table Rock State Park. EdVenture Children’s Museum will have additional fun activities for the kids!

“South Carolina is famous for our hospitality and the quality and originality of our culinary scene. The Final Table competition is a unique opportunity to showcase our incredible capital city, the beauty and charm of UofSC’s historic campus, and all of the adventures that visitors can discover in the surrounding region. We’re proud to welcome the Final Table competitors, and we’re grateful to the team at Capital City/Lake Murray Country for bringing this event to Columbia,” said Duane Parrish, Director of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism.

To help with hunger relief in our region, the Capital City/Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board is partnering with Harvest Hope Food Bank. During April 1-27th, food donations will be accepted at the Lake Murray Country Visitors Center. (2184 N. Lake Drive, Columbia). Harvest Hope provides over 50,000 meals a week for those suffering from hunger.

The FREE Family, Food + Fun Outdoor Expo would not be possible without our event sponsors: Experience Columbia SC, Nephron Pharmaceuticals, The South Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association, Main Street District and Sounds & Images.