Hints & Secrets to Creating a Champion Sammich!

Heidi Gibson: Three-Time Grilled Cheese Champion claiming her trophy at the 2nd Annual NorCal Regional.

Heidi Gibson: Three-Time Grilled Cheese Champion claiming her trophy at the 2nd Annual NorCal Regional.


Linda Williamson & Kasey McMahon celebrate their sweet vindication!

Linda Williamson & Kasey McMahon celebrate their sweet vindication!

People often ask us here at the GCI what makes a champion sammich.

There are many things that go into a perfect Grilled Cheese — some of them are secret and stay that way. Here are some great things you can do to win a trophy. They may work, they may not. Just read ‘em and get wise.

The best way you can make the best Grilled Cheese is to cook them all the time and to eat them all the time. Take notes. Photographs. See what brand of butter works the best. Note how old the bread was. Graph your information. Be scientific. Wear protective goggles. All that.

Physical Preparation

The week before competition, try to do some physical exercises. Step out of your apartment or house and begin running. Be sure to breathe. Do not stop running until the bleeding from your ears stops. Once the bleeding stops, hail a cab and take it to the nearest FOSTER FREEZE (a Dairy Queen would also work) and get the largest amount of ice cream you can possibly hold with two hands. Eat it all. Once completed, run back to your home and call your mother. Do not trust the mailman.

As it gets closer to game day, enlist a partner to throw medicine balls or rocks of various weights at you while you practice the grilling of cheese. This may seem dangerous and unnecessary, but trust us, it’ll help you stay alert and ready for any full contact cheese grilling that may come your way.

Mental Preparation

On game day, try to find a nice quite place for some meditation, an abandoned mine, for example. Sit in complete stillness and try to focus on the grill, the cheese, and the butter. Let all aspirations and hopes and desires for victory escape you. Think back, long and hard, to the point in your childhood where your dad dressed up as a clown and beat you with a grilled cheese sammich to make you cry. Wonder about who would play you in the “ABC Family Movie of the Week” about your winning of the Grilled Cheese Invitational. Imagine the process of milk turning into cheese and then melting back into a liquid. Awesome, isn’t it?

When you have completed this exercise, stand up and immediately smoke at least four or five cigars in quick succession. You are now ready to be a champion!

SUGGESTIONS THAT MIGHT ACTUALLY HELP YOU WIN A TROPHY

But seriously:

1) Bring Your Own Pan – Even though we will be providing Olympic Cooking Surfaces™, you’ve got a better chance at cooking a better sammich if you’re working with a frying pan you know. So bring your best fry pan and use it. Just make sure it’s clean and sanitized. You don’t have to let anyone else use it, just you. This way, you’re comfortable with the pan and the cheese can grill just like you like it.

2) Practice – We can’t stress this enough. Before you even show up at the competition, you should have cooked one or two at your house and tasted them to make sure that the ingredients go together well and everything works. Some people often host tasting parties for their friends to help refine their recipes. Throw some variables in there. Change up the amount of butter. See what’s better and what’s not.

3) Prep Ahead – Try to prepare your materials before hand. Slice your cheese, choose your bread, fry your bacon, etc. There is always a bottleneck during the competition, with people waiting to slice cheese and what not, and that’s dumb. We’re not here to see ham sizzle; we’re here to watch cheese grill! Plus, you’ve only got 45 minutes to grill up all your samples. You don’t want to be spending that time waiting for cheese to slice.

4) Innovate – Don’t be afraid to try new things here. The grilled cheese sammich represents the collection some of the most primal of mankind’s favorite tastes. Go ahead and play around and come up with something that works just for you.

5) Slow Down! – Many people scorch their sammiches because they are nervous and cooking too fast. Slow down! Just because the grill goes up to 11 doesn’t mean it HAS to. Adjust the heat on the grill and take your time. Focus. Just be sure to grill all your sammiches in the time alotted.

6) Grease’ll Getcha – Be careful when adding meats to your sammich. As we all know meats is greasy bitches! Bacon is very, very greasy. If you are using meats, choose wisely and don’t bog the sammich down in meat grease. You think you’ll win with that? Yeah right! Bacon is fine to use, just drain it. For the love of all that’s good and holy, don’t you realize that bread is like a sponge? Sheesh!

7) Burns - This is an event involving a grill. Grills get hot. So does whatever you put on it, including the frying pan. If you’re the type who is clumsy, bring yer own damn mitts and protect your damn hands and arms! It’s not my fault you burned your own dumb ass. Be safe. Also, don’t burn other people.

8) Dress for success – Try to wear something that says, “I’m a f#@%ing Grilled Cheese Champion!” Just be sure to make it flame proof. See number 7.

9) Don’t sweat it! – If you don’t win, don’t sweat it, it’s only a Grilled Cheese Invitational.

10) Don’t steal! – Don’t just follow someone else’s recipe, be it published or not. Go ahead and CREATE your own and modify it to your personal tastes.

Remember, you have it in you to BE A CHAMPION. Not everyone in this life can be a chef, but anyone can be a Grilled Cheese Champion!

Holly Rose Larson collects her trophy for Lick It, her Spaz winning sammich.

Holly Rose Larson collects her trophy for "Lick It," her Spaz winning sammich.

Now go on out there and knock ‘em dead, tiger!

Filed in: 1, News • Friday, April 24th, 2009

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About

The Grilled Cheese Invitational (GCI) is the largest, craziest, and most exciting Grilled Cheese cooking contest in the country and is the best thing to happen to sliced cheese since sliced bread! The GCI promotes an almost scary pursuit of perfection in a Grilled Cheese Sammich and allows for amateur and professional chefs to compete side-by-side in the hopes of becoming a true Grilled Cheese Champion.

The event was created by Tim Walker in 2003, in an artist loft in Downtown Los Angeles as a competition between friends and since then, has grown into a national movement dedicated to perfecting the art of grilled cheese, with thousands of cheese fiends and regional competitions across the country.