Sara Swanson

Manchester graduate wins 1st in bacon category at 2016 World Food Championships

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Photo courtesy of Curley family.

Photo courtesy of Curley family.

Can you make a Bacon dish that is worth $100,000? Chef Colleen Curley, 1985 graduate of Manchester High School, believed she could, and went on to prove it at the world’s largest event in Food Sport – the World Food Championships (WFC) – in Orange Beach, Alabama. Colleen competed from November 9 – 15 against 419 teams from around the world. Competitors from 48 U.S. States and 14 countries comprised of over 1,500 contestants, all vying for their chance at the $100,000 Grand Prize.

The World Food Championships is the largest competition in food sport, where champions of previous events convene for a chance at winning the ultimate food crown and a share of over $300,000 in cash and prizes. In four short years, WFC has awarded more than $1 million in prizes and money, spawned a TV series, garnered more than 5 billion media impressions and launched numerous professional careers for many contestants.

Chef Curley was invited back for WFC2016 after placing second in the Bacon category in 2015. This year she was up against the reigning Bacon Champion, who also finished second in the Final Table competition last year.

“I knew that I had to beat the best, to be the best,” Curley said of her challenge to take down the current Bacon Champion. “I respect every competitor there; they are professionals, winners on popular television cooking shows, and they are like me, self-trained and hungry.” Curley continued, “We all earned the right to be here and anyone can win – and I’m here to win it all!”

Curley, who lives in Onsted, is the owner of Cuisine with Colleen, a venture she started in 2013 after more than 20 years in corporate human resources. “I was given the opportunity to depart the corporate day to day and decided to do what I love to do, so I started my own business to bring the joy of food to my clients,” said Chef Curley. She continued by explaining, “What I do is not catering; I come to your home for an amazing experience – Five Courses: Artisan Cheeses, Soup, Salad, Entrée and Dessert.

“I explain to my clients; It’s not catering … It’s an EXPERIENCE!”

With her First Place Finish in the Bacon competition, Curley won the right to the Final Table, competing against all other category winners: BBQ, Chili, Dessert, Sandwich, Seafood, Burger, Steak and Recipe. On the final day of the “Ultimate Food Fight,” Chef Curley put her best up against the best from all other groups. In the end, it was a tie with Burger for eighth place.

Curley was pleased with the outcome, saying, “I accomplished more than I wanted to in 2015 with a 2nd Place Finish. This year, my son and sous chef, John Curley and I, accomplished our intended goal of winning the Bacon competition.” If Chef Curley continues on this upward trajectory, we can look forward to a Manchester graduate as World Food Champion in the near future!

For more information about Cuisine with Colleen, visit her website at

Chef Colleen Curley and her sous-chef and son Jason. Photo courtesy go Curley family.

Chef Colleen Curley and her sous-chef and son John. Photo courtesy of Curley family.

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