The World Cup of Food is a tournament designed to determine which world cuisine is the greatest. We nominated sixty-seven national cuisines from every part of the world and pitted them against each other, by featuring a dish or meal from each cuisine then choosing a winner, until only one remains as champion. From the sixty-seven, thirteen cuisines have been granted automatic inclusion in the final round of thirty-two. These are the major international cuisines that are available in almost any large city in the world. The remaining fifty-four are vying for the last nineteen spots, as drawn below in the tournament bracket (click to enlarge):
Qualifying is set to conclude around June of 2014, and by Spring 2015 we will have crowned our champion. Recipes are typically presented on Wednesdays and Sundays, with a winner determined at the conclusion of each match as judged by the authors. Victory is determined based on everything we know about the cuisine and not just the result of the most recently presented dish (though, to be fair, a lot is riding on those dishes if we don’t know a lot about a cuisine in advance).
We have created a list of sixty-seven cuisines we feel are worthy of a shot at the World Cup of Food. Criteria was not strictly defined, and we are well aware that many readers will feel that omissions have been made. Every other day it seems one of us reads something about another amazing world cuisine that we forgot to put through qualifying. That said, we feel that our sixty-seven-nation shortlist represents most of what’s great about our food.
In some cases, like Italy or Mexico, we are including cuisines with which we have a lot of familiarity already. Others, like Tanzania or Chile, have been featured in interesting articles or television shows and we want to give them a try. Sometimes, like with Austria and its Wiener schnitzel, there exists one specific iconic dish that merits inclusion by itself.
The remaining nineteen places in the final round will be determined in qualifying matches waged over the first several months of the competition. Single-elimination groups were drawn, with the winner of each group earning a place in the final thirty-two.
Qualifying groups were drawn together based on region (Africa, Americas, Asia and Oceania, or Europe). The tournament proper was drawn such that cuisines of the same region avoid direct competition until at least the final sixteen and that no more than two countries of the same region are together in the same eighth of the bracket.
We can’t wait to present each nation’s unique and complex food traditions, and we especially can’t wait to eat them all.