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Warner Robins Chef Scottie Johnson Headed to World Food Championship

Helms College grad earned ticket to the big stage in Dallas

To cheers of “Scott-ie, Scott-ie, Scott-ie!” Warner Robins-based Chef Scottie Johnson was crowned the 2019 Georgia Seafood Champion at the annual Georgia Seafood Fest last weekend at The Battery in Atlanta.

With the crowd gathered around the four competitors - each vying for the win and a chance to compete at the 2020 World Food Championship (WFC) in Dallas, TX next spring - the winner was announced by celebrity Food Network Chef Jernard Wells.

“The Georgia Seafood Champion for 2019, and who gets the Golden Ticket to the World Food Championship…Make some noise for Chef Scottie Johnson!” announced an enthusiastic Wells in crowing Johnson the festival’s champion chef.

This was the first cooking competition for Johnson since his days as a culinary student at the Polly Long Denton School of Hospitality at the Macon campus of Helms College, when he competed with his classmates in the “Chop It Up” challenge.

“Naturally I was a little nervous right before the competition, but once we got started, I just went into my groove and focused on being myself,” said Johnson, who graduated from Helms College in 2016 and now owns Blessed and Highly Flavored Private Chef Services. “I just wanted to execute as I always do when cooking for my clients as a private chef.”

Johnson’s performance at the Georgia Seafood Festival started with responding to a message from Wells on social media inviting applications for the four spots in Atlanta. Johnson said he was seeking exposure, experience and elevation by participating in the competition.

There were three 30-minute rounds of cooking, with each round including two secret items that had to be used in the dish, along with pantry items made available for use. He knew what pantry items and equipment would be available, but the secret ingredients were not unveiled until the competition. Johnson’s dishes included Seafood Succotash, Tequila Salmon Carre and Grilled Lobster Opelousas and Squid Ink Pasta.

The judges were quite impressed by his dishes, with comments including, “Great appearance, great flavors, great presentation, great execution.” His Tequila Salmon Carre was called a “$10,000 dish.”

By earning entry to the invitation only WFC, Johnson will compete against top chefs from around the world for a $100,000 cash prize for the winner.

“Helms College was where I learned the basic skills, culinary discipline and knowledge of food and increased my interest in this industry,” noted Johnson. “I guess I can say Helms was the foundation, with great instructors – and now mentors – for me.”

Johnson’s short-term goal includes winning the World Food Championship title in the spring. Longer-term, he’d like to expand Blessed and Highly Flavored, and teach and mentor young adults who are interested in a culinary career.

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About Helms College

Helms College, a private, independent postsecondary career school sponsored by Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia, Inc. and licensed by the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission, offers accredited programs through its two hospitality schools as well as its new School of Health Services. Helms College is an institution of higher education that provides a unique approach to experiential learning and career education. Named in honor of Rev. Edgar Helms, the founder of Goodwill Industries, Helms College creates opportunities for students to discover their strengths and build upon their knowledge, skills and attitudes through extensive integrative and experiential learning.

Photo cutline: Chef Scottie Johnson of Warner Robins is crowned Georgia Seafood Champion, earning an invitation to the World Food Championship, vying for the $100,000 grand prize