Acie Vincent the Redneck Chef

Our Conversation with "The Redneck Chef", Acie Vincent

This past November, Acie Vincent, from Oviedo, Florida, was crowned World Sandwich Champion with his Smokey Lionfish Crab Cake with Bacon Tomato Jam at the five day tournament held in Orange Beach, Alabama.  The World Food Championships is the highest stakes food competition in the world.  Showcasing the best of the best in multiple food categories, chefs square off to crown champions in ten food categories.  The category champions then meet at the Final Table in Alabama in April to where the ultimate title of "World Food Champion" will be crowned.

We recently sat down the "redneck" himself to talk about cooking, competing and how he is preparing for the Final Table this next month.

When did you develop your passion for cooking?
As far back as I can remember, I have had a passion for interesting food combinations and cooking.  I grew up in the Central Piedmont area of North Carolina in a family of farmers and restaurant owners.  I love to eat good food and see others enjoy eating what I create.  I like the correlation that can be made between his "root passion" and upbringing to our products.

Who is your recipe taste-tester?
My wife most days, but also friends and family.

What one piece of advice would you give to new cooks?
If you have the passion for cooking and food, find a great mentor.  I am a firm believer that you should never stop learning, always learn something new every day.

What's your favorite ingredient to cook with?
That changes all of the time.  Right now it's Lionfish.  I love interesting ingredients as well, so it is hard to say.

What is your go-to meal to cook at home?
Shrimp and Grits with North Carolina Country Ham.

What is your favorite Red Gold product?
I love the Diced Tomatoes, but I like all of the other products also.  Top quality ingredients mean top quality dishes and that is very important in Food Sport.

Why do you buy Red Gold?
I like that Red Gold is a family-owned business and frankly the products speak for themselves, just top quality.

Describe your first experience at the World Food Championships
WFC was great that first year meeting some great people/competitors.  I was totally unprepared for the quality of the competitors you have to compete against.  I learned a lot that year though.  My wife was also competing and we were running around, very busy all week long, but we had a blast.  If felt like we were at the Super Bowl of food sports.  It was just a great experience.

How does if feel to be the 2017 World Sandwich Champion?
I am still a little shocked with the win, but I will say if feels good to be recognized for something I am passionate about and have worked so hard to achieve.

What inspired you to create your award-winning dish?
I have been competing at The Lionfish Throwdown in Juno Beach, Florida for the past two years, winning the first year and placing second the following year.  I feel since Lionfish are an invaive species that do not belong in the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf, that we need to spread the word what a versatile and delicious fish it is.  By using it and getting people to try it, then they will understand.  I had great ingredients to work with and having Red Gold Tomatoes as the Sandwich Sponsor, I just went to work to create the best sandwich I could.

Can you describe what it was like to win?
I thought I was going to have a heart attack.  It was one of the most exciting and satisfying times of my life.  Just so sweet...and I think I like this because it takes me back to that moment too...

How are you preparing for the Final Table?
I am trying out some new ideas.  Trying to figure out how to make the best sandwich anyone has ever eaten, while sticking to my thoughts of spreading the word about foods some people may have never heard of or tried.  I do a lot of planning and practice.  The Final Table is both exciting and a little intimidating at the same time.  I intend to enjoy the ride I am on, doing what I love to do.

Red Gold wishes Chef Acie all the luck at the Final Table and would love to see him crowned World Food Champion!  Good luck chef!