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Merced’s World Champion Sandwich Maker Adds to Her Legend



Photo of Merced caterer Kelli Fairchild-Cochran in Indianapolis.
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Two-time World Sandwich champion Kelli Fairchild-Cochran has added to her culinary laurels.

The Merced caterer finished fourth at “Final Table: Indy” this month, winning $2,000.

The Indianapolis competition hosted by World Food Championships was filmed for a one-hour television special airing Oct. 3 on Cooking Channel.

Photo of a pork dish made in a Cooking Channel competition

Kelli Fairchild-Cochran made this pork dish in the first round of “Final Table: Indy.” (WFC/Michael Durr)

She Won WFC’s Main Event Last Fall

Fairchild-Cochran qualified for the event by winning the sandwich category and $10,000 last fall in WFC’s Main Event in Dallas.

She won the World Sandwich Championship in 2014 and 2019.

At Indianapolis, she missed the title round by a quarter-point in the judges’ scoring. Fairchild-Cochran and her team made two dishes — one featuring pork, the other duck.

The three finalists were required to sign non-disclosure agreements so that the 2020 World Food Champion is revealed on the Cooking Channel.

The winner takes home $100,000.

More About Kelli

In her WFC profile, Fairchild-Cochran says that she grew up in Planada and “has a deep love and appreciation of scratch-made Mexican food and loves preparing homemade sauces of dried chiles, salsas, and tortillas.”

Her specialty is creating unique handmade appetizers for clients.

The Competition

In addition to Fairchild-Cochran, these were the other Indianapolis contestants:

  • Lidia Hadaddian, two-time category champion, Pasadena
  • Jodi Taffel, 2019 Bacon World Champion, Altadena
  • Matthew Statham, 2019 World Chef Champion, Fultondale, Alabama
  • Morgan Cheek, 2019 World Burger Champion, Muscle Shoals, Alabama
  • Ryan Hegland, 2019 World Steak Champion, Lakeville, Minnesota
  • Josh Cooper, 2019 World Seafood Champion, Tallahassee, Florida
  • Evette Rahman, two-time Dessert Champion, Orlando, Florida
  • Rocky Julianelle, 2019 World Open Chili Champion, East Haven, Connecticut
  • Ryan Murphy, 2019 World Barbecue Champion, Kansas City, Missouri