2019 Rapid Fire Challenge


Bring your best foot forward for our 2019 Rapid Fire Challenge!

Each year, the Rapid Fire Challenge has a new theme and challenges chefs to bring their talent to our Center Stage and battle for the best dish with the surprise theme incorporated. The 2019 theme will be announced within the next couple of weeks.


The winner will be crowned the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo Rapid Fire Champion, receive $1,000, bragging rights and gain exposure to over 100 media outlets including the Food & Beverage Magazine, Nation's Restaurant News, local television and radio affiliates as well as 9,000 of your industry peers!




Shaun O’Neale exploded onto the culinary scene in September 2016 when he claimed the title of America’s best home cook and was named Season 7 Champion of MasterChef on FOX.  He graduated from reality star to culinary star in May 2017 with the release of his debut cookbook “My Modern American Table”. 

During his season of MasterChef, Shaun won over the palates of Gordon Ramsay, Christina Tosi, Daniel Boulud and Wolfgang Puck with his bold flavors and flawless presentation.  He carried the same techniques that earned him a record-setting eight wins in the MasterChef kitchen through to the completion of his cookbook.  “My Modern American Table” teaches other home cooks how to recreate Shaun’s upscale, modern American dishes like his lobster ravioli and salted caramel chocolate tart. 

For the past 20 years, Shaun has been orchestrating dance floors as a DJ with the highlight of his career culminating on New Year’s Eve 2011 as he became the first DJ to perform on Las Vegas Blvd in front of over 100,000 people.  Beginning in Tampa, FL and now calling Las Vegas, NV home, Shaun has taken the same skills and determination that helped him to become a successful DJ and used them to start the next phase of his life as the next up-and-coming culinary star. 

Shaun is a self-taught chef who educated himself by reading cookbooks, studying the history of food and traveling the globe to absorb different cultures and flavors.  As he continues his world-wide travels promoting his cookbook and building his brand as DJ/Chef/Author, Shaun will continue to work hard for his fans and the people who support him and look forward to joining him on his culinary journey.

Click here to learn more about Shaun



Chef Jodi Taffel a.k.a. The Fabulous Bacon Babe, Bacon Babe Catering 

Presenting Dish: Dark Chocolate Espresso Mousse with Balsamic Bacon Marmalade


Roman Cota, Regional Manager & Culinary Leader, Wedgewood Weddings 

Presenting Dish: Pork Belly Bowl of Fire

Karla Flores-Ybaceta, Executive Chef, Mikhuna Authentic Peruvian Cuisine 

Presenting Dish: Shambar 


David Rose

Private Chef & Caterer; Food Network Star Finalist; Founder & Creator, TLC Experience; National Culinary Ambassador for Big Green Egg, Nissan Trucks USA, and Camacho Cigars

Ben Diaz

Executive Chef, Luxe City Center; Director of Culinary Innovations, CBD Cuisine

Betty Fraser 

Chef/Owner, Dish Functional, Inc.; Grub; As You Like It Catering; Bravo's Top Chef Season Two




Supporting Partners:







Interested in being a judge or supporting the Rapid Fire Challenge Competition?

Please contact Patricia Copela for more details: pcopela@urban-expo.com or 203.202.3823