From left are Johnny Magno, Jarvis Green and Bill Howard at the WFC Soup Or Bowl competition.

By John Mullen

November 16, 2018 – Orange Beach, AL (OBA®) – Bill Howard is no stranger to winning. His Wild Bill’s Hot Sauce for wings has won a handful award in the past few years.

During the recent World Food Championships at The Wharf, he added a first place in the Soup Or Bowl contest, one of three side contests entrants in the WFC’s main events were eligible to enter.

“It means anything you can serve in a soup or bowl,” Howard said. “Our entry was a Southwestern Shrimp Soup with rice grits and spicy Alabama crackers. We roasted peppers, onions, corn and hatch chiles we got from New Mexico.”

Bill Howard's Southwestern Shrimp tied for first in the WFC's Soup Or Bowl contest.It was a people’s choice contest where members of the public visited the contestants and voted on their favorites. The shrimp was provided and contestants had to supply their own cooking tools, had to cook the soup on site beginning at 9 a.m. and had to make a total of four gallons.

“There were 28 registered contestants and, in the end, it came down to two of us tying,” Howard said. The top prize was $500 and second was $300 so he and fellow contestant Johnny Magno each got $400.

Howard qualified for the WFC in the Alabama Seafood Showdown sponsored by Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism. But by the time he qualified the 40 slots in seafood had been filled.

“Because seafood is such a popular category to get into it was full and we had a limited choice of other divisions to go into or wait until next year to compete,” he said. “Our structured dish that all 40 contestants had to do in chicken was your take on chicken parmesan. The second one we did a chicken Thai with winter vegetables.”

He and partner Matt Biles didn’t finish as high as they would have liked but say each competition is a chance to learn.

“We were in that division but 39 other chefs and home cooks from all over the world you never know what you’re going to get,” Howard said. “It’s a tough competition. Every day you compete in food you learn something else and you can do the exact same thing the next day and do better. It all depends on the judges.”

Even though Howard has extensive experience in local restaurants he doesn’t work full time at one now so he was entered as a home cook but sponsored by Wild Bill’s Wing Hot Sauce and Island Time Daiquiri Bar.

“It’s just home cooked and simple,” Howard said. “I tell people my theory on cooking is if people keep coming back to hang out when you’re cooking they like your food. I’m by no means a trained chef. As far as the World Food Championship I’m a home cook.”

The Soup Or Bowl was an ancillary event at the World Food Championships in Orange Beach, Alabama.The man he tied within the soup contest, Magno, is the executive chef with District Pour House Kitchen in Kansas City and he was competing in the WFC contest in the sandwich division.

Howard’s creations can sometimes be found at Island Time Daiquiri Bar at The Wharf where he cooks wings on the weekends for football games using 18 different flavors, most homemade by him (try the Caribbean jerk and garlic parmesan). Island Time is thinking of adding food through the week like gumbo or Wild Bill’s beer and barbecue sausage bites.

“Something filling and something that is perfect bar food,” Howard said.

Among the many awards his Wild Bills Wing Hot Sauce has won include the three-time winner of World’s Best Wing Sauce, the International Flavor award in both 2017 and 2018 and Chile Pepper magazine’s best wing sauce 2017.

“One of my favorites is the National Barbecue Association’s best hot sauce,” Howard said.