Cheese dip is nothing new in the south or even the country, but what you may not know is that cheese dip was invented right here in Central Arkansas in 1935 by the owner of Mexico Chiquito restaurants, Blackie Donnelly. That’s right, cheese dip, that is a culinary staple in so many restaurants and food vendors across the country, doesn’t just belong to history as a piece of southern culture, but first and foremost as a part of Arkansas’s cuisine that is as unique as BBQ or sweet tea.
In honor of this great creation, the World Cheese Dip Championship competition was created in Little Rock to benefit the Harmony Health Clinic. The event, which was first held in 2010, gained instant popularity among Arkansans with over 6,000 people attending and over 225 gallons of cheese dip was served. The World Cheese Dip Championship has gained such rapid popularity each year and grown in size so much that it requires sizeable venues, which in the past have included Dickey-Stephens Park, War Memorial Stadium, and the Clinton Presidential Library.
The World Cheese Dip Championship isn’t just for professional cooks and chefs though, so if you think your cheese dip recipe is something special don’t be shy; enter this year’s World Cheese Dip Championship! The “Big Dipper” category has divisions for professional and amateur and the winner will be chosen by the WCDC judges, but if you are attending as taste tester of great cheese dip, don’t fret because there is also the “People’s Choice Champion” category with divisions for professional and amateurs alike to be decided by WCDC Guests in attendance.
So how, you ask yourself does cheese dip obtain such notoriety that that an entire world championship competition was created to celebrate its discovery? In 2009 an Arkansas lawyer by the name of Nick Rogers, who had a passion for both cheese dip and film making, made and released a documentary titled “In Queso Fever: A Movie About Cheese Dip”. Roger’s documentary tells the story of how cheese dip was invented, its roots in Arkansas cuisine and the impact that cheese dip had on not just the south, but also the country.
If you are crazy enough about cheese dip you can even submit a written letter on the World Championship Cheese Dip’s Facebook page for a chance to be a VIP judge of this year’s competition. Personally, I can’t think of a better way to spend a fall Saturday in Arkansas then taste testing various kinds of cheese dip. Find out more info about this native Arkansas event and make your plans to attend the World Cheese Dip Championship this Saturday, October 25 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bernice Garden in Little Rock.
On your mark, get set, go! Dip your chip!