The inaugural Team Bull in 2013 was comprised of six different competitors from across the country and varied backgrounds. From an accomplished home cook, to restauranteur, to a food truck owner and a competition BBQ team, their backgrounds were varied, but they all entered the 2013 World Food Championships with one goal in mind; to win the World Burger Championship.
She may not hold a culinary degree that gives her chef or professional cooking credentials, but what Sandi Sheppard does have are FAMILY APPROVED credentials after 50-some years of cooking experience. Enthusiastically self-training along the way, Sandi has learned techniques and flavor combining courses that work with any meal. The Horse Racing Industry brought her to Oklahoma in '78, and like a winning race horse at the track who may not be a favorite because of "lack of credentials", that horse just might have what they call "HEART" and doesn't know he/she shouldn't win. Well, that's Sandi in my approach to cooking competitions… she’s seasoned and saucy and ready to compete!
The Porketeers are a dynamic competition BBQ team. Their first competition was in Havasu where tehy placed third in the Pork category. They have been making their mark in the BBQ circuit ever since. McGrath competed in the KCBS International competition in Mexico and placed first in the Brisket category. And has gone on to have many additional top 10 walks competing in California and Arizona. McGrath truly enjoy the competition circuit and the opportunity to meet so many great people. These days, you can now find The Porketeers roaming the streets of San Diego in their Porketeers Food truck. If you’re lucky, they might even serve up a championship burger for you!
Mark Medlin from Nashville, TN brought his Barnhouse Burger “to please the palates of Las Vegas and win the World Food Championship.” Mark learned the culinary way at an early age, when his mother and grandmother showed him the basics of the kitchen. He cut my teeth working in a family bakery for years, and later came into my culinary own in his early 20’s catering and cooking for who ever would have him. Medlin’s Barnhouse Burger name comes from Kurt Vonnegut, an Indianapolis native, and his first story about the Barnhouse Effect. Professor Barnhouse could give people what they wanted with the power of his mind; so too can Medlin’s burger. If you don’t believe me, just ask him.
Jeffery Boudreaux’s winning burger in Baton Rouge, the ‘Italian Burger,” was a flavorful mixing of ground beef and Italian sausage, Italian bread-crumbs and parmesan. A simple but complex burger, just like Boudreaux. The burger was masterfully topped with bacon, swiss cheese and a colorful display of green, red and yellow peppers. “My only professional experience is flipping burgers at Dairy Queen in high school,” says Boudreaux of his background. Professional experience or not, Boudreaux seems to have the recipe for burger success down pat. Call it beginner’s luck, or call it a natural inclination for building better burgers. Regardless, Boudreaux’s laidback confidence and drive to beat his brother, Brian Boudreaux, carried him all the way to the winner’s podium – lead by his ‘Italian Burger,’ of course.
Craig worked his way through college in the back-of-the-house in various restaurants in Pennsylvania and Annapolis, Maryland. After college graduation, he followed his passion to Portland, Oregon and into the kitchen of Assaggio, a popular authentic Italian restaurant, where he served as Chef. Over the following 19 years, he has excelled in the industry. His first restaurant and bar, Echo, in Portland was ranked one of Portland’s top 50 restaurants in 04’-05’ and one of its top 10 new bars of 2004. In 2006, Craig sold Echo to his business partner and relocated to Indiana.
Craig also has had recognition for his work in culinary competitions, industry publications and in the press. Some of his recipes have been featured in the “Best of” lists in both Indianapolis and Portland. In 2012 he was named by Best Chef’s of America, Urban Spoons -Top 100 lists for Family Friendly Meals and Gluten Free in the country, Top 10 Cocktails -best of Charcuterie-Top Meals-Hot Spots by Indy Monthly. In 2010 Craig Baker and Derek Means opened The Local Eatery and Pub focusing on farm to table cuisine for families, not just foodies bringing the ideology home. The Local Eatery and Pub has also been recognized by national publications and radio for their mission to support local economies, farms and artisans.
Chef Wade Fortin has never met a culinary challenge he couldn't handle. An accomplished chef with a love for competition BBQ, Fortin took his grilling skills to new heights winning a 2013 Bull Burger Battle, presented by Bull Outdoor®, which carried him all the way to the World Food Championships and ultimately the title of World Burger Champion. With over 15 years of food industry experience, Fortin specializes in developed tastes and impeccable technique. Fortin, as an accomplished chef and successful food competitor, combines his culinary acumen with his intense personal drive to achieve great culinary heights.