Andrea Woolf, owner of Tucker Meat Market, recently returned from Texas where she and her team took fourth place, in the world for burgers; not in Tucker, not in Atlanta, not in Georgia, but in the world! WFC is the largest competition in Food Sport, where grand champions of previous events convene for a chance at winning the ultimate food crown and a share of hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money.
“You’re already up against the elite of the elite once you’re there, so even the opening round is against the top chefs and cooks in the industry,” Woolf explained. “It’s game’s on, right out of the gate.
“I only lost it by 1.41 points, that’s how tight it was between fourth and first place. I could easily have taken first place, but the judges took a more simplistic burger. You never know exactly what they’re looking for, but there’s always room to grow as a competitor.”
The WFC is a five-day, outdoor cooking competition that brings top chefs and home cooks from all over the globe to battle it out for a Category Champion title and $10,000. There are ten categories from bacon to steaks, and the whole point is that you go into your category and try to make the top 10. The 10 Category Champs will move on for a shot at the World Food Champion title and an additional $100,000.
Woolf took first place of the top ten best burgers in the world with her Southwest Chili burger, a vegetarian delight that she had never created prior to this competition. In addition to a medal and a certificate, she was also awarded a nice cash prize.
“It wasn’t about the money, I actually forgot about that part of it,” she admitted. “For me it was about the thrill of it, really. The end goal is just to do what I can do, and a win puts your name out there. I’m known now on that circuit.” She added that this particular event has produced over 75 Food Network-type stars.
Woolf took ownership of Tucker Meat Market nearly a decade ago, but it wasn’t in her original plans.
“It kind of fell in my lap. I was actually in school for nursing,” she said, adding she was initially asked to “help out” but eventually bought out the previous owner. With no background as an entrepreneur and no experience in running a restaurant, “I just went with it,” she said.
Now she’s proud to say that everything they do at Tucker Meat Market is from scratch. “I smoke my own briskets, we grind our own meats, it’s my own particular meat blend I put in the Mammoth Burger.”
Like most businesses and restaurants, Woolf said they’re still dealing with the impacts of COVID-19.
“We were very blessed early on, but now it’s starting to affect us with the shortages and the pricing, so right now I’m taking it day by day. But I am looking to expand maybe not the meat market itself, but open up more of a restaurant so I can offer sit down and then the meat market will be in the commissary or the supplier for it.”
Woolf credits her very loyal customer base for the Market’s success and longevity.
“When I first took this over, it was a struggle for years, but I always refused go down in quality to get the sales,” she shared. “So I chose to struggle instead of compromising, and it’s paid off” in what she described as a good foundation to incentivize her to move forward and give her customers the opportunity to enjoy her gourmet specialty burgers through a quality in-restaurant experience.
“Food is a creative outlet to be able to see people smile or, you know, putting something out there that you know people will enjoy.”
As she continues to delight customers, Woolf will also delight in her championship-caliber performance and look ahead, relishing the opportunity to improve next year on the world stage.