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The Championship BBQ & Cookout is regarded by food industry insiders as a “must attend,” high-powered networking event that takes place each year during the National Restaurant Association show in Chicago.

It showcases the best chefs in Chicago as they face off over flames to feed up to 1,000 of the industry’s leading chefs and operators.

The BBQ also attracts many high-quality sponsors integral to the event’s success. It brings together these manufacturers and suppliers with restaurant personnel.

Barbara Mathias, former Food Arts publisher, founded the event two decades ago and continues to produce it along with her colleague Beverly Stephen, former executive editor of Food Arts.

The BBQ benefits World Central Kitchen, an international hunger relief organization led by chef José Andrés and the Greater Chicago Food Depository.