WFC's Final Table Will Feature Food "Sport" Legend
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (September 9, 2016) - Final Table contestants at the 2016 World Food Championships will definitely have to bring their "A" game this year. Otherwise, their dishes may get sacked by one of the judges affectionately known as a "Killer B."
Celebrating its 5th Anniversary in Orange Beach, Alabama, the WFC officially announced today that former Alabama great and Miami Dolphin defensive lineman Bob Baumhower will join its celebrity roster of Final Table judges this November.
The choice is not a "Hail Mary" call. It's backed by a robust career in both football and culinary achievement. In fact, Baumhower has a collection of restaurants to add to his list of athletic accolades. Baumhower is the CEO of Aloha Hospitality International, a culinary lineup of restaurants including Baumhower Restaurants, Bimini Bob's, Dauphin's, and La Floridita, a Cuban-themed speakeasy that will open in downtown Mobile later this year.
"As a former NFL All-Star and foodie, we know Bob has an appetite for success," said Mike McCloud, CEO of World Food Championships. "Bob puts 110% into everything he does - whether that's dreaming up unique and delicious culinary ventures, or on the football field as a ferocious linebacker. There's no doubt that he's going to be a discerning judge when it comes to picking the World Food Champion."
Baumhower's football career started in 1974 at Alabama, where he played for legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, who taught him a life-long lesson in success.
"Coach was focused, serious and smart," Baumhower said, remembering a time as a youth that he almost quit football. "He brought my father in to see him after he heard about me possibly quitting. Dad and I showed up, but he asked why I was present at the meeting. Once I mentioned I was there to talk to him too, Coach simply said, 'I don't talk to quitters.' Well, as you can imagine, that lit a fire in my belly that would never go away."
Following his career with the Crimson Tide, Baumhower played ten seasons (1977-86) at defensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins under another Hall of Fame coach, Don Shula. During his tenure in Miami, Baumhower was a key member of the famed "Killer B's" defense that helped propel the team to two Super Bowl appearances during that time. Baumhower notched 39.5 sacks in his career, which is tied for eighth in Dolphins history and is the most ever by a Miami defensive tackle. He led the Dolphins with nine sacks in 1981, and was a five-time Pro Bowl selection. Baumhower was inducted into the Dolphins Honor Roll in 2008 and was named to Miami's 50th season all-time team last year.
Baumhower took the passion that he showed on the gridiron into the hospitality industry in 1979 when he partnered with Joe Namath and Richard Todd of the Jets to create a Ft. Lauderdale hot spot called "Bachelors III." After its success, Baumhower returned to his Alma Mater, the University of Alabama, and opened the first counter-service wing restaurant in Alabama - Wings Sports Grille.
Since then, Baumhower has continued to develop and revive restaurants in the Aloha Hospitality International group to use the freshest, highest quality, locally sourced ingredients possible. Bob's Victory Grille, notable for its fresh, homemade mozzarella and artisan pizzas, brought the first coal fired pizza ovens to the state of Alabama.
The latest opening for Aloha Hospitality, called Dauphin's, is a creole and caribbean restaurant offering coastal cuisine in Mobile, Alabama. Each restaurant under the Aloha Hospitality umbrella has a strong dash of Baumhower's zealous attention to detail and passion for perfection. From the Italian glass chargers on the tables to artwork on the walls, to wait staff uniforms and design of the chairs, Bob's hand is at work. His vision and dedication earned him critical acclaim and business success among the best casual restaurants in Alabama.
Baumhower will join celebrated TV chef Robyn Almodovar and Chris Lilly, a veteran Alabama pitmaster and executive chef of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Que at the Final Table. These three judges will be joined by two more to award WFC's ultimate champion with $100,000 in cash and prizes.