August 15, 2019
More than 1,500 of the best chefs in the world are headed to Dallas for the World Food Championships this October. And there, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with them, will be one of Downtown Springfield’s finest.
Chef Kymberlee Mattney-Schmitz is the executive chef and general manager at Lost Signal Brewing Company (address). She punched her ticket to the largest food sport competition in the world by winning first place at the 417 Burger & Beer Wars July 13 at Moon Town Crossing.
It wasn’t easy — and not just because of the talented chefs she was competing against.
“Our fryer blew the circuit,” Mattney-Schmitz said. “So we just broke it down, put oil in a pot and did it grandma style.”
That speedbump wasn’t enough to slow down Mattney-Schmitz and her cooking team, which includes Aaron Rosario and Amanda Chavarria. Their burger wowed the judges and captured first place.
It was a burger that was special to Mattney-Schmitz. She used a biscuit for the bun in honor of her mother, who would’ve turned 65 the day of the competition.
“My mother was kind of a hardcore Southern cook. That’s what we ate growing up,” Mattney-Schmitz said. “And beyond that she was a pastry chef. I decided to forgo any sort of burger bun and use a biscuit instead. There was kind of a Southern theme to the burger. There was pork and fried green tomatoes and all of that.”
Sounds delicious, right? Anyone who’s tried the food at Lost Signal is already well familiar with the delicious food Mattney-Schmitz creates on a regular basis.
“For Kym to qualify for this event I think that it speaks highly of her ability, creativity and determination to make the best product she can,” Tyler Hoke, owner and head brewer at Lost Signal, said. “I know that she’s extremely excited and we all here are super proud of her and can’t wait to cheer her on in Dallas.”
Mattney-Schmitz was one of two chefs at the 417 Burger & Beer Wars to earn a “golden ticket” to the World Food Championships. Chaz Koeppen, from Cafe B-29 in Ozark, won the people’s choice award. Mattney-Schmitz was the 40th and final chef to qualify for the burger competition. Koeppen was slated in the chef division, but the two decided to switch categories.
“(Koeppen) called me freaking out, saying ‘I don’t make food like that. I make burgers and stuff. I run a cafe. I can’t do this.’ So we switched,” Mattney-Schmitz said.
It should come as no surprise that Chef Kym is comfortable in that category. She earned her culinary arts degree in South Carolina and has been in the restaurant industry for almost 18 years. She was named Chef of the Year for southwest Missouri by Feast Magazine in 2018 and her talents have been utilized all over the country by corporate and down-home restaurants alike.
“They’re rock stars,” Chef Kym said. “We’ve probably got a combined 50 years experience in the kitchen.”
The terrific trio will be making two dishes at the World Food Championships, which will be held Oct. 15-20.
“You have to cook a structured dish that they give you guidelines for. For this year it’s a roulade, which is a rolled meat that’s stuffed with something,” she said. “The second dish is literally anything you want it to be. You have a two-hour cook time. After hour one you turn in your roulade, after hour two you turn in your signature dish.”
With 1,500 chefs and 500 chefs from across the world competing for $100,000, this isn’t going to be an easy task. So what will it take for Mattney-Schmitz to feel successful?
“Was I happy with what I put on the plate and did I have fun? Once those two hours of craziness are up, was I happy and was it fun for me? Because if it wasn’t fun, then you shouldn’t compete,” she said.
The trip to Texas won’t be cheap, so Mattney-Schmitz is raising money. Want to help out? Donate at her GoFundMe page. SGC Foodservice has come on board as a corporate sponsor. If your business wants to do the same, email Mattney-Schmitz: firstname.lastname@example.org.