John David Wheeler and his team, Natural Born Grillers, hail from Mississippi; John is the founder of Memphis Barbecue Company. Wheeler is one of the most award-winning BBQ masters in the world. His many accomplishments include winning the overall Cooking Team of the Year award (twice!), winning the Memphis in May World Grand Championship, winning three separate world championships, over 75 grand championships, and thousands (yes, thousands!) of other awards. Wheeler is very active in Operation BBQ Relief and has cooked hundreds of meals for victims in areas hit by natural disasters. Wheeler’s team is anchored by famed NYC chef Shane McBride. McBride is currently Executive Chef at Balthazar and Schiller’s, and Co-Executive Chef at Cherche Midi and Augustine. In his free time as a self-admitted barbecue addict, Shane and some of his like-minded friends started the Ribdiculous Bar-B-Krewe, a NYC-based competition BBQ team.
Craig Kimmel and his team from Firehouse BBQ in Orlando, Florida have won over 200 awards and four state championships. These include a top five winner at the Jack Daniels World Championships, second place Whole Hog Memphis in May 2015, two-time winner on the TV show BBQ Pitmasters and has cooked on the TV show World Food Championship in Las Vegas. Steve Coddington was the National Barbecue Association’s 2013 BBQ Person of the Year. He will be teaming with Kimmel at TOP TACO DENVER. Coddington is currently the pitmaster at Woodpile BBQ in Clawson, Michigan.
Steve Coddington was the National Barbecue Association’s 2013 BBQ Person of the Year. He will be teaming with Kimmel at TOP TACO. Coddington is currently the pitmaster at Woodpile BBQ in Clawson Michigan.
Top Taco is excited to announce their surprise Denver chef entrant for VIP: Owlbear Barbecue. Karl Fallenius was not born into barbecue: even though his first taste of good ‘cue was in New York City, Karl found an overnight gig working at the now defunct Blue Ox BBQ. Soon after, Karl was lucky enough to land a job at Austin’s world famous Franklin Barbecue. Working at Franklin was one of the most difficult and rewarding experiences that Karl had ever had—Franklin showed Karl not only what BBQ was, but also what it could be. Excited to share what he had learned, Karl moved back to his home state of Colorado and opened Owlbear in 2015. Since then, Owlbear has been deemed “Best BBQ in Colorado” by First We Feast, “The Flat-Out Best Barbecue in Denver” by Dining Out Magazine, and “#3 Best New Restaurant in Denver” by Denver Life Magazine. Owlbear has also been included in the unranked “Best BBQ” lists from Thrillist and Eater, as well as in 303 Magazine’s “Best of What We Ate in 2016,” and Westword’s “The Ten Best Macaroni and Cheese Dishes in Denver.”
Kevin Roth opened La Estación, Fajardo in Puerto Rico in 2006. Chef Roth’s cuisine, and his radical move to Puerto Rico, received attention from not only Nation’s Restaurant News, but also The Wall Street Journal and major newspapers in Puerto Rico. At La Estación, Kevin combines his love for Puerto Rico and passion for barbecue, creating a new style of cuisine that he’s termed “Nuyorican BBQ.” La Estación’s continued success is fueled by glowing recommendations from major guidebooks that feature the restaurant as a Fajardo highlight, a top ten restaurant in Fajardo, and “a must stop at” in Puerto Rico. The restaurant is considered by Fodor’s as one of the top ten restaurants in the Caribbean. Kevin’s accolades include, first place CBBQA Whole Hog 2013, second place Whole Hog Memphis in May 2015, and Reserve Grand Champion Smokin’ Hot BBQ 2017. Kevin was featured on Man, Fire, Food, as well as Beach Bites with Katie Lee both on The Food Network.
TOP TACO DENVER will be held Thursday evening, June 22nd at the River North Festival Grounds. VIP entrance begins at 6:30 pm.