Send one local Bismarck, Mandan, or Lincoln food truck or restaurant to the 2023 World Food Championships!

You will have the chance to vote for your favorite mac and cheese dish, sending one restaurant to the World Food Championships, the World’s Largest Food Sport Competition! It’s going to be an epic battle, but only one restaurant will be crowned the best mac and cheese in Bismarck.

How am I involved?

When you arrive at the event, you’ll receive an event map, menu, and tokens (number varies by ticket) to be used at the various vendors’ stations. Once you’ve tasted your fair share of mac and cheese dishes, it’s then up to you to pick your favorite!

Place your vote in your winning vendor’s box by the Judge’s Panel and if your choice has the most votes, they’ll receive bonus points towards their score.

Looking to become a vendor?

Become a Vendor

What is the World Food Championships and how are they related to Mac & Cheese Fest?

Mac & Cheese Festival in Bismarck is a qualifying event for the Rice/Noodle Category for the 2023 World Food Championships. As a Golden Ticket event, the official winning chef will receive free entry ($2,500 value) into the 2023 WFC.

The five day tournament has vendors from all over the world competing through several rounds for a chance to win. The winning vendor in each food category at the WFC will receive $7,500 — plus a shot at an overall purse of $100,000 at the Final Table Competition.

Vendors will create a presentation dish, then 5-10 individual servings for the judge panel.

How do you judge the dishes?

We follow official World Food Championships judging methods — specifically the E.A.T Method.

The E.A.T.™ Methodology is the World Food Championships’ own proprietary scoring system and process that allows all WFC competition categories to be judged on the same criteria, in a consistent manner. Each entry will be judged on three key evaluation criteria: Execution, Appearance and Taste. The judges will give a score out of ten for each criterion, 1 being inedible, 10 being excellent.

Our panel of local celebrity judges — better known as the Cheddar Council, will be announced soon!

The Cheddar Council’s Official Rules


Did the dish come together? In your opinion, did the cook successfully accomplish their recipe describes? Does the dish meet the criteria of the specific category? Within a category, “Execution” is scored specifically based on the category in which it belongs. “Execution” will be evaluated by the judge’s interpretations of how the given recipe should look and be presented. Examples of why a judge might score poorly for execution may be a soggy bun on a burger or undercooked meat in a steak.

Specific category requirements/challenges will be detailed to the judges in the same manner that they have been detailed to the competitors. It will be up to the judges to determine the success of the competitor at accomplishing the requirements of the round.


Is it pleasing to the eye? Does it look appetizing? Do you want to take a big bite out of it right now? Although listed second, the criteria “Appearance” should be scored first based on the designated category. For example, mac and cheese that looks like a cheese soup should not score well. Secondly, only the primary dish is judged for “Appearance”, meaning that sample dishes are not scored for its appearance since it may need to be portioned to fit on the turn-in tray. Judges will be instructed to base their assessment on the appearance of the turn-in, but should also consider the overall presentation of its components. For example, a Barbecue Mac and Cheese that is over-saturated in barbecue sauce, obstructing visuals of the noodles, may be scored lower than a dish that presents the barbecue sauce, cheese and noodles in a balanced and visually pleasing manner.


Is it pleasing to the taste buds? Does it make you want to eat more? Is there an appropriate balance of flavor? The criteria “Taste” is defined specifically to the category in which it belongs. Judges will rate the dishes on a scale of 1, being inedible, to 10, being perfect. Additional “Taste” considerations will be based on the balance of flavors and ingredients used by the cook. Judges are instructed to NOT use personal bias when it comes to spicy or savory preferences. However, a Spicy Mac and Cheese that is not spicy, but perhaps sweet due to another ingredient used, will score poorly compared to a dish that achieves the recipe’s title and description.

Overall, E.A.T.™ category scores will be added up to score the dish out of 30 total points (10 per category). But that’s not all… Fans will get the chance to be involved in the judging process. Each ticketed entry includes a vote for their favorite dish overall. The dish that receives the most votes will receive 5 bonus points to their score with the dish with the second most votes receiving 3 bonus points. The most total points a dish can get is 35 points.

If a tie does occur, the following totals will be compared in order, starting with #1, until the tie is broken:

  1. Highest score on the Taste category
  2. Higher score of Taste and Execution category scores combined
  3. Most votes received from the fan vote
  4. Computer-generated random sequence (coin toss)