Rules

RULES TO THE GRILLED CHEESE INVITATIONAL

(revised 02/13/2014)

PREFACE

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 questions regarding the rules can be sent to competitors@grilledcheeseinvitational.com.

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 made available to any competitor on the day of the event, should you have any questions regarding the rules.

REGISTRATION

For Competitors

All competitors must register on-line in advance of the competition.  There will be NO ON-SITE REGISTRATION ALLOWED.

There will be a maximum of 200 competitors (150 amateur/50 professional) 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.

Before registration, all competitors MUST familiarize themselves with the rules as well as educate themselves as to safe and sanitary cooking and handling of food.

For the purposes of fairness, each person will only be allowed to enter ONE (1) sammich per category. Also, since there are only three competition sessions, competitors will only be allowed to compete in 3 of the 4 categories.

That means each contestant can try and win with a total of THREE (3) grilled cheese sammich entries, choosing to compete in Love, American Style; in Missionary Position; in Kama Sutra; and in Honey Pot.

There is a NON-REFUNDABLE competition fee per entry, $30 for Amateur competitors and $60 for Professional competitors.  Your competition fee gets free admission for you and ONE (1) assistant to the event (regardless of how many heats you enter).

Competitors and assistants MUST STILL REGISTER ONLINE AS JUDGES and MAY NOT judge any heat in which they are competing.  Note: Teams are permitted, however you will have to fight amongst yourselves as to who gets the trophy if you win.  Teams may be no larger than one competitor and one assistant.

See the Competitor Rules below for more details.

For Judges

Judging of the competition will be conducted by the GCI’s executive judges and by the official GCI registered judges ONLY.

The Judging Registration Process has been incorporated into the ticket purchasing process for the event.  All judges (including MINORS) must register for membership in the judging society via beTicketing Judge ticket option and present their wristband at the entrance to the competition arena in order to judge.

All judges must still purchase a ticket to the event.  There is no free admission for judges.

THERE WILL BE NO ONSITE REGISTRATION FOR JUDGES. YOUR MEMBERSHIP IN THE SOCIETY AND ADMISSION FEE TO THE EVENT DO NOT GUARANTEE YOU A JUDGING SPOT IF THE ARENA REACHES CAPACITY.

If you are not signed up as an official judge, there is still PLENTY of fun stuff for you to do and you will be more than welcome to attend the event and enjoy the entertainment, pack in as many free samples from our sponsors as you can and purchase samples from the event vendors.

See the Judging Rules below for more details.

COMPETITOR RULES

What Will Be Provided to You

Each competitor will receive one kit per entry that contains the following:

  • 7″ Skillet (Mandatory cookware)
  • Spatula
  • Grilling Hats
  • Grilling Apron
  • Cutting Board
  • Knife
  • Cheese Flag
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Safe Food Handling Information Sheet
  • Official Sammich plates w/votes attached
  • Paper towels
  • Rules sheet

Onsite, you will be assigned a numbered grilling station relative to your grilling heat.  The GCI will provide at least 75 new, electric “Olympic-Rated” cooking stoves for the event and tables so that supplies can be kept off the ground. There will be sanitizing stations available for competitors to sanitize their cooking equipment before, during and after they compete.

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 (below 45F), and all foodstuffs must be stored off of the ground, at least 6”.  Please be sure to label your bags/coolers with your name.

NO OUTSIDE COOKING EQUIPMENT OR COOKWARE ALLOWED.

Due to the switchover to electric cooking appliances, no outside cookware will be allowed for competition.  The hot plates have a 6″ heating surface and do work extremely well with the fully approved and tested sanitary 7” skillet in their competition kit.

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, aprons and gloves provided in your competition kit, or your own if you’ve brought them, as per board of health regulations. When handling foodstuffs, all competitors WILL wear sanitary, disposable gloves, which are provided in your competition kit.  If you are grilling in costume, make sure your costume provides a hat and an apron and make sure to wear gloves.

Each competitor should have an assistant who will help you with cooking.  The assistants will also need to wear gloves and maintain a safe food environment.

ASSISTANTS ARE NO LONGER ALLOWED TO HAND OUT SANDWICHES TO THE JUDGES.  WHEN A COMPETITOR HAS COMPLETED A SANDWICH, THEY WILL RAISE THEIR CHEESE FLAG AND THE GCI  STAFF WILL THEN DISTRIBUTE THE SAMPLES 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, thereby creating the twenty (20) possible votes from the salivating judges. Obviously, consistency will be a key element to a sammich’s performance.

Time Limits

All grilling will be done in separate 50-minute heats and each competitor will have only 50 minutes to complete their grilling.  No exceptions!  Spatulas down means spatulas down.  Go ahead and practice so that you can grill 5 sammiches in 50 minutes.

Each competitor, regardless of whether 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.

Competition Fee

Each competitor must pay 1 competition fee per sandwich category entry.  The competition fee is $30 for amateurs and $60 for professionals.  This competition fee allows for the competitor and (1) one assistant admission to the event (regardless of how many heats you enter).

When It’s Time For You to Grill

When you check-in at the event, you will be assigned your cooking time and a numbered cooking station based on your sammich number(s).  You will be able to store your supplies backstage.  When it comes time for you to compete, you’ll report to your cooking station and get ready.  Don’t go and steal someone’s spot and crowd them or anything like that. All stations will be numbered and officially assigned.

How Your Sammich Will Be Judged

See the Judging Rules below for more information.

JUDGING RULES

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

Each sammich will be able to score a total of 50 points per vote. Points are 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

DEFINITIONS

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

Butter - 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 (OLIVE OIL, INFUSED WITH GARLIC, ETC.) ARE NOT PERMITTED IN THE LOVE, AMERICAN STYLE CATEGORY.  Save that for the Missionary Position or Kama Sutra.

Cheese - Made from milk, be it mother’s, goat, cow, cat, rabbit, soy, or almond-derived.

CATEGORIES OF COMPETITION

(click on a category to get an expanded definition)

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

Love, American Style – White bread, butter, orange cheese (American or Cheddar). NOTHING ELSE.

The Missionary Position - Any type of bread, butter and cheese. NO ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS.

The Kama Sutra - A sandwich of the savory nature, with any type of bread, butter and cheese PLUS additional ingredients, and 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, and the interior ingredients of the sammich must be at least 60% cheese, PLUS additional ingredients, and with an overall flavor that is sweet and would best be served as dessert.

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.

AWARDS

Once the scores have been received and tallied, the top three scores of each sammich category will be declared winners for both the Amateur and Professional competitions. 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.

RULES

THESE ARE THE RULES. IF YOU DON’T LIKE ‘EM, TOUGH!

GCI pix on Flickr

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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.