REVIEW: The 2012 Grilled Cheese Champions Are Crowned
With over 65 contestants vying for the title of Grilled Cheese Champion, they did everything they could to stand out on the last Saturday in April.
They incorporated unordinary ingredients such as home-cured duck bacon, squid ink and masala, as well as creative garnishes such as paper dinosaur heads, candied $5 bills, and rose petals.
There were four heats of competition throughout the day, as well as photo ops, free samples of grilled cheese, potato chips, drinks and pickles, and even a "cheesy" costume contest.
In four different categories of grilled cheese, ranging from traditional to dessert, trophies were awarded to the best of the best. The audience could partake in the judging if they had VIP status, and I must say it was a delicious and exciting privilege, albeit cholesterol-laden.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was that for the amateur Honey Pot dessert sandwich category, a vegan grilled cheese won first place. The "Friggin' Figgin Vegan" winning sandwich consisted of figs, olive bread, vegan mozzarella cheese, fig butter, and an orange reduction glaze.
Additionally, the vegan "Aurora Borealis" won third in the Honey Pot professional category using sourdough bread with vegan mozzarella, vegan cream cheese and vegan butter, plus maple syrup, brandy-soaked peaches, and blueberry and strawberry reductions.
"This Little Piggy" had sourdough bread, pulled pork, cheddar & jack cheese, provolone, prosciutto, mustard, roasted chiles, and a Chimichurri sauce. It was so delicious that it was crowned All-Around Champion.
There were also food trucks featuring grilled cheese, such as the Border Grill Truck and the The Grilled Cheese Truck. In fact, the latter brought two trucks, and both had very long lines.
For the costume contest, there was a variety of cheese-centric costumes that contestants such as "Toastbuster" (a cheese-themed Ghostbuster getup) and "Cheesus" (a guy resembling Jesus) wore.
It was a cheese, bread, butter, and trophy-filled day of fun and sun. Stay tuned for the 11th annual Grilled Cheese Invitational. The crowd awaits to see what extreme levels can be reached for the American classic, the grilled cheese.