This year’s Grilled Cheese Invitational was my 4th year as a competitor and the 10th year of the competition. This year they moved the thing to the Rose Bowl which gave me visions of grilling on the 50 yard line. The reality was grilling outside in 150 degree weather while EVERYONE else at the event had covered tents and shade to enjoy. The hosts of this event are sick monsters to not think about giving us some sort of shade during our scorched earth skillet cooking going down for a possible 4 hours. I am one of those stupid people that enters all 4 categories in the professional division.
I was lucky enough to compete alongside the Grilled Cheese Truck of LA, which got its very start at the GCI. This year my goal was to make sure my retired recipe earned a trophy while having fun with the other entries. We launched some T-shirts from our booth and the stage, we showed off some racy signs, and we fed the crowd for four categories and brie-yond during the intense heat. I have to admit that the lust and the allure of competing has definitely gone by the wayside in this event. My biggest gripe is that the cooks have become a small side show to the whole thing due to bad layout or something and now most people are just milling about getting samples and waiting in food truck lines because those lines are shorter than the lines to get a bite from us! I still give props to the men behind the show as they have tried hard to keep up with the crazy cheezy demand for this event.
With rumors going around that this year might have been the last, I am proud to say I walked home with 2 more trophies to bring the number up to 7. I placed 2nd in the Missionary Category giving my winning recipe another notch in the history books. I scored 3rd for Love, America style showing my American roots still run deep, red, white, and blue cheese deep. Although this was the first year I didn’t walk away with a 1st place, I did lose to a catering company and a restaurant that shared the 4 1st places, which makes me the little David against these Goliaths.
A big thank you to all those who voted for us, talked with us, laughed with us, and won a free T-shirt with us. This is always a fun trip for me and my friends to LA every year and I am proud to leave a winner yet again.
PS – I know you guys don’t give me the spaz award, but that is prob because you don’t know the real story. If you saw how we deep fried the bread portion of the Honey Pot category this year in the bathroom of a Westin the morning of the event, you might have changed your vote. Oh and yes it was still sanitary and yes it reached boiling oil temps so relax.