Chicago q Chef/Partner Lee Ann Whippen will appear on World Food Championships Thursday, July 10 at 9p.m. CST. The show premiering on A&E’s new network FYI chronicles the 2013 World Food Championships held November 7 through 10 in Las Vegas, Nevada. To celebrate Whippen’s Dry Rubbed Cherry Smoked Rack of Lamb that placed less than one point away from a first place win Chicago q will feature this dish July 10 through 13 for $38. Guests can enjoy this wonderful dish while watching Lee Ann’s time in Las Vegas on the TVs in the bar.
The 18-year veteran competitor shares her feelings on competing with over 80 teams from around the world in Las Vegas: “Well it’s kind of a rush not just because there’s so many teams, but it’s the caliber of the teams. They are champions from around the world from previous contests, so you’re competing against the best of the best in the world, so that makes it really intense.”
Whippen competed in the First World Championships that took place in Washington D.C. advancing her to Las Vegas in 2012 to compete in that barbecue contest. Returning world champions who qualified in 2012 received an invite to the 2013 World Food Championships. “I also qualified for potato salad two years ago in Washington D.C. and I won first place in potato salad,” Whippen shares about her win in addition to the barbecue.
Last year in Las Vegas Whippen competed in the categories of beef brisket, pork shoulder and ribs. “They take the top 10 finalists and you had to go into the final round and in the final round I created a rack of lamb, it was a apple smoked rack of lamb with a white barbecue sauce and that’s what had us coming in second place,” she shares about her dish that placed less than one point away from a first place win.
The Dry Rubbed Cherry Smoked Rack of Lamb was made with a white barbecue sauce similar to the one made popular in North Alabama. Whippen remembers it being Big Bob Gibson who brought the white barbecue sauce into the barbecue world. “Instead of a tomato based barbecue sauce it’s a mayonnaise based barbecue sauce and it also has some garlic in it which makes it very unique and it complemented the lamb rather well, better than I thought a tomato based sauce would.”
It’s no secret Whippen is recognized for being a female leader in a male dominated barbecue world. How does she do it and how does she find a balance between her incredibly busy work schedule and life at home?
“I definitely think it’s the independence, but also I’m a fierce competitor and I find it very intriguing and inviting to be able to compete against men in a male dominated sport.” Whippen explains. “Competing for 18 years you just have to do your own thing and not be intimidated and you win awards and gain respect from them and I’ve hung in there.”
In regards to balancing a career and family life Whippen gives a great tip every family could benefit from: “I find that getting your family involved in what you do rather than keeping it separate.”
The restaurant business has many perks, “My oldest daughter worked in my restaurant when she was of age and therefore we were able to spend time together and she was getting the experience of work and getting work ethic so that helped a lot with the balance. You know, a lot of professions out there you can’t do that, but fortunately restaurants are a little bit easier to make that happen.”
Lee Ann Whippen possesses an independence and a no nonsense attitude that has greatly contributed to her success in competitions and restaurant ventures. Female competitors in barbecue are extremely rare and that’s why Lee Ann is such a strong force to be reckoned with. Watch Whippen Thursday, July 10 as she battles 80 of the highest quality teams in the world on A&E’s new network FYI.