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It was a sunny Spring day in Downtown Los Angeles. It was one part cook-off and one part Renaissance Fair with a Wizard of Oz twist and Christopher Guest flair. It was a crisp, blustery afternoon filled with all the grilled cheese sandwiches imaginable… and unimaginable. It wasn’t quite heaven, but it was close. It was the 1st 7th Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational, and it was all the cheesy fun we could have hoped for! Check out the highlights of Betty’s cheesy day in a tidy, grease-free video: Best in Grilled Cheese.
Link to the Best in Grilled Cheese video.
Feelin’ cheesy? Then check out some of our cheesiest recipes…
Link to the Tomato Soup and Three Cheese Grilled Cheese recipe.
Link to the Caprese Panini recipe.
Sara met fantastic people at the Invitational and sampled some of the most interesting grilled cheese sandwiches ever to grace non-stick cookware! Here’s a sampling, and you can check out all the photos on Facebook. Friend Average Betty up while you’re there!
Truly Best in Grilled Cheese, Michael Davidson is the Grand Prize Winner of the Missionary Category! The Missionary competition is all about classic grilled cheese, and it’s the most difficult category to win.
There were a lot of great take-home messages from the event, but first and foremost: The Brick is the Trick! Mike uses foil-wrapped bricks to weigh down his sandwiches on the grill, and the judges eat it up!
The spirit of The Grilled Cheese Invitational was embodied by Doc, the 2008 Missionary Category Winner. Doc’s winning sandwich? Mud Flap Girl Madness! Doc’s philosophy? “Once you’re a winner, you’re always a winner.”
If you have a Doc, then you need a hot nurse… especially when there’s this much cheese on-hand! Fortunately (or unfortunately), nobody required CPR this year.
Fourth Place Missionary and Spaz Winner, David Spancer, is a true Grilled Cheese Champion! With his deliciously refined Grilled Cheese Fries and deadpan humor, David is innovative and entertaining.
Team Thai Grilled Cheese, competitors in the Kama Sutra Category, are fierce on every level! From the threads direct from Thailand to the deadly spatula-chucks, Team Betty loved every Lucky minute of it! Thanks for the sweet Thai robe, Pirate King.
Shannon, Michelle and Stephanie, the three lovely ladies that make up team Grilled Cheese B*tch Please, are cute and hilarious! They entered every category with recipes steeped in family tradition and film lore. We loved how they embraced every facet of the competition, but we didn’t love being denied samples of their sandwiches (because they were so dang popular). B*th, please!
Crystal and Brian, Honey Pot Grand Prize Winners, are the (newly-engaged) creators of Cake and Mivens ©, a sweet grilled cheese with everything from Peeps to Glazed Donut Popems… to whatever Mivens are? Do you know what a Miven is?
Yep, that’s the The Mayor of Cheese.
The most delicious sandwich we sampled was the Buncha Berry Cheesy Love. It may be “love” but it tastes like ecstasy!
And here’s Chrysta, the chef behind the Buncha Berry Cheesy Love. In true Average Betty spirit, Chrysta made everything on her sandwich… from the pound cake to the strawberry preserves. No wonder it was sooo yummy! we want that recipe, Chrysta. We’re coming to find you!
The cherry on top was meeting a great online friend… in real life! Christy Jordan, who can grill up a wicked grilled cheese sandwich in her own right, was representing Alabama with all the charm, wit and grace one might expect from a Southern gal. And in true LA spirit, Christy came packin’! No, not heat… Dishpan Cookies, yo! Thanks, Christy!
And what day of cheese would be complete without a chance to meet Tim Walker, Founder and Chief Instigator of The Grilled Cheese Invitational. Yes, he is The Big Cheese. We learned a thing or two after interviewing Tim: He’s not into competitive eating, he welcomes a salary cap, and if his dream comes true The Grilled Cheese Invitational is rolling into the Los Angeles Coliseum!
You gotta watch the Best in Grilled Cheese video!
The Kraft Grillers grilled up approximately 18,000 grilled cheese sandwiches to help satisfy the cheese cravings of the 5,000+ attendees! That’s a lot of Kraft Singles. With multiple grills fired up and a team of about a dozen, it was definitely the biggest grilled cheese production Betty has ever witnessed.
Special Thanks to Lauren Cobey and Erika Simms of Edelman, and Basil Maglaris of Kraft for making Betty’s cheesy day possible!
WHAT’S BETTY UP TO?
Exploring The Art of Pairing Wine and Food with UCLA Extension! Held at one of L.A.’s newest and more innovative wine-centric restaurants, Palate Food + Wine in Glendale, the course goes way beyond classic pairings and examines the many ingredients that can help you connect wine and food through their interaction in texture, flavor, intensity, and taste. This evening course begins May 4, 2009, but space may still be available. Get more information and enroll now!
AVERAGE BETTY SIGHTINGS
Surely you know Betty’s on Twitter! MapleLime sure does! Got a question about a recipe or just want to see photos of Betty’s cat on TwitPic? Follow Betty on Twitter!
Link to the Roasted Vegetable Hummus recipe.
omg you go to so many fun events , i want to be Betty! grilled cheese is my fave :)
Average Betty says
OMG! Thanks for your sweet comment :) I love grilled cheese too, so it was a really fun treat to go to the Invitational.
I don’t know where you live, but they have these events in different parts of the US and it’s only $5 to get in or $10 to judge (judges get to sample and vote on sandwiches!).
Hopefully they’ll have one in every state soon!
I love grilled cheese almost as much as I love Betty!
The Pirate King of Elephant Island says
As you now may be aware, Grilled Thai Chi-ze did not win the GCI.
But, the cheese is strong with us, and next year we will prevail.
Bread, Butter, Cheese and Victory.
WOW betty those sandwiches look awesome!!! who knew that a grilled cheese could be taken to a higher level? I am inspired, as always, by your website. Great job Betty, Jody loves ya!!!
Average Betty says
Ahhh, Dottie! I <3 you too ;)
Pirate King, you are all winners in my book… it was such a fun day and a complete honor to spend time with Thai Chi-ze!
Jody, So many grilled cheese sammiches, so little time! I was blown away at the creativity – from the cuisine to the costumes… thanks so much for stopping by!
Golden Age Cheese says
Nice blog and recipes. Grilled cheese panini are great with fresh mozzarella cheese. have you ever hand stretched mozzarella cheese from the curd?
Average Betty says
Thanks, Golden Age Cheese!
I love, love panini with fresh mozzarella! But, no! I’ve never had stretched mozzarella from the curd – I’m missing out!
Richard Johnson says
Great grill cheese, My wife love your blog I wish I can build a blog like this one.
John David says
When I was a kid, I lived near the interstate, and one of my favorite things to do was to go to the truck stop to get a grilled cheese. They came with a side of pickles, and were out of this world. You are bringing back great memories.