(revised 04.02.09)


The following explains the official rules and regulations for competing in the Grilled Cheese Invitational (GCI) Competition. The GCI retains the right to amend, modify, or terminate the rules at any time and at our sole discretion. Any game day interpretation of the rules will take place only at the approbation of the Chief Instigator. The opinion of the Chief Instigator will take precedence over any interpretation of the rules. Any questions regarding the rules can be sent to

It is the responsibility of the competitor to be familiar with the rules of competing in the event. A copy of the rules will be included with each competition kit, should you have any questions on the day of the event.


For Competitors

There will be a maximum of 300 competitors for this event. Once we have reached capacity for competitors, we will start a waiting list for people to compete. There will be no guarantee of competition implied with the waiting list.

Due to the delays caused by lazy bastards who waited until the last minute to register their sammiches, there will be NO ON-SITE REGISTRATION ALLOWED. This is to help make the competition run more smoothly. It’ll also allow us to prepare for how many people will be competing.

For the purposes of fairness, each person will only be allowed to enter ONE (1) sammich per category. That means each contestant can enter a total of THREE (3) grilled cheese sammiches for the GCI: ONE (1) in Missionary, ONE (1) in Kama Sutra, and ONE (1) in Honey Pot.

Note: Teams are permitted, however you will have to fight amongst yourselves as to who gets the trophy if you win.

See the Competitor Rules below for more details. If you want to grill but not compete, see the Exhibition Grilling section below.

For Judges

Judging of the competition will only be open for up to 1,700 attendees who sign up as judges at the event. YOUR ADMISSION FEE DOES NOT GUARANTEE YOU A JUDGING SPOT. If you are not signed up as a judge, you will be more than welcome to attend the event and enjoy the entertainment, pack in as many Kraft Singles sammiches or the other free samples offered by our sponsors.

See the Judging Rules below for more details.


What Will Be Provided to You

For competition, each competitor will receive a GCI competition kit that will contain the following:

  • 11″ Frypan
  • Spatula
  • Grilling Hats
  • Grilling Apron
  • Cutting Board
  • Knife
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Health info sheet
  • Sammich plates w/votes
  • Paper towels
  • Rules sheet

Onsite, you will be assigned to a grilling station relative to your grilling heat. The GCI will provide at least 75 “Olympic-Rated” cooking stoves for the event and tables for supplies to be kept above the ground. There will be a sanitizing station available for competitors to sanitize their cooking equipment, before, during and after they compete. You must bring all perishables in a cooler and keep them on ice.

What You Need to Bring

Please be sure to bring any and all supplies and ingredients necessary to make twenty (20) judging samples. That means bread, butter, and cheese at the very minimum. See the Sammich Categories below for more details on what is allowed for each category. Do not take anyone else’s supplies to complete your sammich. You will be shunned for stealing, disqualified from competition, plus, it just ain’t nice.

PLEASE NOTE: Any perishable items MUST be kept in a cooler with ice and be stored at safe temperatures and all foodstuffs must be stored off of the ground. Please be sure to label your bags/coolers with your name.

If you’ve got a frypan at home that makes “f#*king awesome” grilled cheeses, we encourage you to bring it and use it. You will be responsible for your own equipment. You will be responsible for the sanitation of your own equipment. If you don’t want somebody screwing up your pan, keep an eye on it, dumb ass!

All other cooking apparatuses such as the George Foreman Grill, deep fryers, or toaster ovens are not allowed.

All competitors must wear the grilling hats and aprons provided in your competition kit, as per board of health regulations. The only exception to this rule is if you are grilling in costume; in which case, make sure your costume provides a hat and an apron.

Also, you need an assistant who will act as a runner to deliver your sammich to the judges.

How Many Sammiches to Make

Be prepared to cook at least five (5) regular sized sammiches for judging purposes. You can then cut those five (5) sammiches into quarters, therby creating the twenty (20) possible votes from the salivating judges. Obviously, consistency will be a key element to a sammiches’ performance.

Time Limits

All grilling will be done in separate 45-minute heats and each competitor will have only 45 minutes to complete their grilling. No exceptions! Spatulas down mean spatulas down. There will be an official countdown clock that will provide the time remaining in the grilling heat. Go ahead and practice so that you can grill 5 sammiches in 45 minutes. Hint: Try grilling 2 at once!

Each competitor, regardless if they are competing in multiple categories, will be required to break down their station and clean up at the end of each heat. This is to guarantee that each competitor squares off with the same obstacles.

Cheese Runner

All competitors MUST have an assistant who will also act as a runner to get those damn sammiches to the judges. No Runner, no judging. No judging, no glory!

When Your Number is Called

When it comes time to compete, your sammich heat & number will be called and you will then begin to grill. Don’t go and steal someone’s spot and crowd them or anything like that. This time, it will be orderly so that every one gets a chance to grill. It’ll be fine. You’ll see.

How Your Sammich Will Be Judged

See the Judging Rules below for more information.


Each sammich gets 20 votes. Any sammich that does not get at least 16 of its ballots turned in will be disqualified from competition, so it is imperative for judges to turn in their ballots after they have sampled a sammich.

Each sammich will be able to score a total of 50 points per vote. The points are be awarded as follows:

  • Presentation: How does the sammich look? (Scale of 1 – 10, 10 being highest)
  • Taste: How does it taste? (Scale of 1 – 20, 20 being highest)
  • Wessonality: Is this sammich special? Deliver Style points here (Scale of 1- 5, 5 being highest)
  • SPAZ: The Weird Factor (Scale of 1 – 15, 15 being biggest Spaz)

What is a Spaz? You tell us! Essentially, the Spaz sammich is the sammich with the biggest Weird Factor. It could be a sammich so lacking in style it’s a style in itself. Or it could be a sammich high on concept, but lower than dirt on taste. Or maybe a sammich clearly designed simply to annoy. It’s hard to define that elusive “Spaz” quality, but you’ll know it when you see it. Which one of the sammiches totally deserves that title? When you look at a sammich, does it scream SPAZ!? Award it here!

Sammich Categories



Any leavened or unleavened, flour-based and baked thing that looks like and is considered to be “bread” by any cultural or ethnic interpretations.


For the purposes of simplicity, all sammich-grilling lubricants will be hereafter referred to as “Butter.” You can use oils or margarines if you prefer, but make sure it fits within the sammich category you’ve chosen. FLAVORED BUTTERS AND OILS (MAYONNAISE, INFUSED WITH GARLIC, ETC.) ARE NOT PERMITTED IN THE MISSIONARY POSITION CATEGORY.


Made from milk, be it mother’s, goat, cow, cat, rabbit, soy, or almonds.


There will be three categories of sammiches in this competition. Each is outlined as follows:

The Missionary Position: Standard bread, standard cheese (or cheeses), standard butter and NO ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS.

The Kama Sutra: Any kind of bread, any kind of butter, and any kind of cheese PLUS additional ingredients(the interior ingredients must be at least 60% cheese).

The Honey Pot: Any kind of bread, any kind of butter, and any kind of cheese (the interior ingredients of the sammich must be at least 60% cheese), and with an overall flavor that is sweet and would best be served as dessert.

The Missionary Position

The Missionary Position Sammich is the standard grilled cheese we have all come to know and love through these many moons. In the past, there has been a slight controversy as well as plenty of confusion over this category. Standard bread means bread with no extra ingredients or flavorings. In other words, if you’ve got an Olive Loaf you want to make a sammich out of, then enter it in Kama Sutra category. Got some Rosemary Sourdough? Enter the Kama Sutra, Dragon! Cinnamon Raisin? Too bad, Charlie, enter it in Honey Pot.

Standard butter means just butter or margarine. No flavored oils or butters in this category. Truffle oil is flavored oil. Garlic Infused oil or butter is Kama Sutra. Garlic Butter is Kama Sutra…you get the picture. The only interpretation we’ll allow here is Mayonnaise. Some people grill with mayonnaise. We’ll allow standard mayonnaise in the Missionary position sammich.

Standard cheese means American (e.g., Kraft Singles), Cheddar (mild through sharp, NO FLAVORING — yes, “smoked” is a flavor), Swiss, etc. No pepper-jack in this category, jackass. No mean-o Jalapeño either. You get to use more than one cheese if you like, as long as these cheeses do not contain any additional flavorings or spices.

The Missionary Position grilled cheese sammich is all about the art of grilling simple bread, butter, and cheese together, NOT about what meats or spices you can put in a sammich. There is an art to the simplicity of the grilled cheese sammich and we celebrate that perfect icon of Grilled Cheesiness here in the Missionary Position category.

This is, by far, the most difficult category to win. You must have complete mastery over your grille, your cheese and your sammich in order to become a Missionary champion.

The Kama Sutra

The Kama Sutra sammich is any grilled cheese that is made with exotic bread or contains any other ingredients than the above mentioned.

The only rules to the Kama Sutra sammich are as follows: The sammich MUST be grilled and the internal ingredients must be at least 60% CHEESE. Other than that, this is a freestyle category, so go for it. This is where you can create any savory flavor concept your twisted mind will allow, so long as the internal ingredients are at least 60% cheese.

The Kama Sutra category is not only the most liberal, but also the most popular. So you must keep in mind that the competition is fierce and professional. You could be up against as many as 50 professional chefs, so you better get it right!

The Honey Pot

The Honey Pot represents a new frontier in Grilled Cheeses: Dessert! The rules for the Honey Pot are simple. The sammich is a freestyle sammich; therefore, many of the same rules that apply to the Kama Sutra apply here. Exotic ingredients, the sammich must contain at least 60% cheese and must be grilled. The additional rule is it must be dessert and be sweet in nature. Savory sammiches will not be allowed in this category. Sugar and spice and everything nice, however, WILL BE ALLOWED!

Note: GCI management reserves the right to re-assign a sammich to its rightful category or DISQUALIFY the entry completely if there is an obvious attempt at cheating.


Once the scores have been received and tallied, the top three scores of each sammich category will be declared winners. There will be one winner for the Spaz Award, plus a runner up. Winners will receive one trophy per placement for each category. See the “Entries” section for information on teams.


Because of the new location for the Grilled Cheese Invitational, we will have a stage where people who want to connect with the audience can grill in front of an audience. There will be special awards handed out for these contestants in the exhibition.

NOTE: All competitors will still have to cook their 20 vote sammiches in the cooking area. After they have completed they will then be free to perform to their hearts content in the EXHIBITION AREA. The exhibition area will also be open for those who do not want to enter the competition but would like to show off their grilled cheese cookery.



Filed in: 2, News • Monday, April 6th, 2009


By lucy acerno on April 8th, 2009 at 9:48 AM

i am SOOO excited for the grill-off!!

By Mimi Mayer on April 22nd, 2009 at 7:09 PM

Please ignore my last email – I didn’t see this part. I’m good. Yaay. This is gonna be FUN!!!


By ravi goundar on April 23rd, 2009 at 7:38 PM

how do i become a judge?



GCI pix on Flickr



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.