Leslie Roark Scott started cooking competitive BBQ in 1989 alongside her father, Pitmaster Garry Roark. In 1992 she was the first female to win a Memphis in May sanctioned Grand Championship. Leslie is an owner and chef for Ubons Restaurant in Yazoo City, Mississippi.
Kevin Bludso is a third-generation pit master who learnt the skill of classic Texan barbecue in his family's hometown of Corsicana, Texas, where they've been barbecuing for over a century. In 2008, he opened Bludso's BBQ in Compton, just outside of L.A., and based on its success, opened a second in West Hollywood. They are now renowned as America's favourites.
John David Wheeler is one of the most award-winning BBQ cooks in the world. Among his many accomplishments, he’s a two-time winner of the overall Cooking Team of the Year award, winner of the World Grand Championship at Memphis in May, winner of three separate World Championships and over 75 Grand Championships, not to mention winning literally thousands of other awards. As co-Pitmaster of the Memphis Barbecue Company, John and his co-partner Melissa Cookston own and operate one of the hottest BBQ restaurants in the USA. Melissa is a wildly celebrated Pitmaster and multiple World Championship winner. Together, the two of them establish Memphis Barbecue Company as the only restaurant in the world to feature two World Championship Pitmasters at the helm.
Jim Johnson is a KCBS master barbecue teacher, and highly decorated barbecue pitmaster, having won 76 Grand Championships during his 28-year competition career. Jim has finished first in every category at four Memphis in in May contests on four occasions, and has finished in the top ten nine times. Jim has also been crowned the Whole Hog World Champion at the prestigious Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational.
Jim is a regular on TV and radio, and has acted as an ambassador for Kraft Foods, Big Green Egg and a range of other products. Most recently, Jim was featured in SBS Australia’s Food Safari Fire with Maeve O’Meara.
Jim regularly teaches students across North America and Europe on a variety of barbecue topics ranging from the basics and barbecue essentials, to the tips and tricks of cooking competition-grade barbecue.
Jim and his wife Becky are part of the KCBS International Outreach team.
Craig Verhage began his professional BBQ'n career in 1994 with team Pork Inn to Please and was asked to join Ubons BBQ of Yazoo to continue this in 1996 by Pitmaster Garry Roark. Craig is an insurance agent Monday thru Friday and on the weekends he is known as the BBQ Ninja. "The BBQ Ninja title was given to me many years ago in New York. We had a film crew there following us and I always put on a bandanna then clap my hands together and throw it in the sky to get my mind ready and one of the producers saw it and said its BBQ Ninja time and it stuck." "It is more of a mode or a state of mind that I go into on competition day or what I like to call GAME DAY!"