Hi folks! So I entered the Grilled Cheese Invitational for the first time along with two of my friends. I decided to give it a go for each of their four category and I made it into the top ten rankings for two of em. Complete list of results are here.
St. Yoon’s Missionary
The rules for the Missionary category was strictly white bread, yellow cheese (American or cheddar), and regular butter. I used Cake House’s “buttered bread” which browned nicely, a mix of Kraft American singles and sharp cheddar, and a delicious fleur de sel French butter. This was my favorite of all my sandwiches. I have a soft spot for classics. Any other grilled cheeses are just an homage to the og sammy.
Spoons 8th place!
Now the Spoons category expands the boundaries a bit by allowing any kind of bread, any kind of cheese, and any kind of butter. However no extra ingredients whatsoever are allowed. I ended up making my spoons sandwich with Trader Joe’s garlic-cheddar sourdough, sharp cheddar, comte, truffled Italian cheese, and black truffle butter. The sourdough crisped up so nicely and looks appetizing speckled with truffles for the truffle lover. That would be me! I got 8th place in this category. I wonder what the other winning sandwiches were like. My friend Allison got 9th place with her Ultimate Queso sandwich.
Kama Sutra 6th place!
Kama Sutra was a freestyle category. The only thing a contender had to abide by was to keep the ratio of cheese to other ingredients 6:4. I ended up baking a bacon-gruyere loaf for the Spoons category but accidentally ended up using it for this category. By the time I had smeared romesco on the slices it was too late to salvage them. But it ended up working out because the garlic-cheddar worked well for the truffle flavored sandwich and the bacon-gruyere bread turned out to be perfect for my romesco inspired sandwich. After the smear of romesco on one side the sandwiches were layered with pepperjack, smoked gouda, chopped Nueske’s bacon, and roasted jalapenos. Since Nueske bacon is super smoky the toasting bread gave off such a nice aroma. When I was serving them at the competition I topped each mini sandwich with a round sliver of fresh jalapeno for an extra kick and final little juicy crunch. I got 6th place in this category. Number one spot was gloriously snatched up by Chef Eric Greenspan of Foundry.
Cinna Toast Redux
I didn’t get placed for the Honey Pot category which is a dessert version of the freestyle similarly just requiring 60% cheese. My sandwich which started off as a cinnamon toast somehow turned into a strawberries and cream sorta ‘wich. Whipped cream cheese flavored with lemon and orange zest, brown sugar and honey was sandwiched between two slices of brioche along with macerated strawberries and toasted hazelnuts. It was then dusted with cinnamon powdered sugar and speared on top with a little section of a strawberry. Unfortunately I forgot the strawberry and sugar on about half of my samples so that might have cost me. My friend Ellen got an honorable 7th place with her Moons Over My Sammie sandwich though!
All in all it was a fun silly time. Sooo much bread, cheese and butter. Allegedly there were many contestants cheating but I was too busy grilling my sandwiches to really notice. No matter how arbitrary an event seems cheating at something like grilled cheese seems a little ridiculous. Kind of takes all the fun out of it, no? I hope all the cheating didn’t affect my rankings at all because that would really suck big time. For the pounds of cheese and loaves of bread I went through, and minutes spent grilling it up (and perhaps inches gained on my waist) I think I at least deserve a fair chance! Now time to go work off the cheese…