We're excited to see the field of competitors who have already won their golden ticket and registered to compete at the 2019 World Food Championships. And we are always proud to announce our special guests and celebrity judges participating in our judging events across the nation - we're sure the championship food certainly helps! Best of luck to our 2019 competitors!
2014 WFC Judge
With a commitment to creating culinary masterpieces that spotlight seasonality of ingredients and unique flavor profiles, Stephen Hopcraft joins The ONE Group as Executive Chef, STK Las Vegas. Recognizable as a Bravo TV “Top Chef” contestant, as well as from the Food Network’s “Chefs vs. City”, Hopcraft’s inventive passion in the kitchen comes from a simple philosophy: use only the freshest ingredients to craft palate-surprising flavor combinations that to appeal to each guest.
Hopcraft credits the intrigue for his culinary journey to the adventurous cooking style of his mother at their home in Shaker Heights, Ohio. By adding unique components to her Midwestern comfort dishes, she shaped an artful yet familiar dining experience that would become the basis for Hopcraft’s own approach as a chef. A serendipitous move to the California coast led Hopcraft to meet Chef Thomas Vinolus, the proprietor of the Bittersweet Bistro and its innovative menu of bright, fresh flavors infused with Mediterranean influences—and also enhanced by his family-oriented Midwestern upbringing. Becoming Hopcraft’s mentor, Vinolus inspired him to enroll in the prominent California Culinary Academy of San Francisco, where once enrolled, he further honed his skills in celebrating the delicious simplicity of fresh food.
Hopcraft’s talents were quickly recognized and he garnered an internship with Chicago’s renowned Chef Charlie Trotter. From there Hopcraft went on to develop a relationship with acclaimed chef Michael Mina, and spent the last 10 years working for his restaurant group in many of Mina’s restaurants, including Aqua, Arcadia, StripSteak and SeaBlue.