When it comes to grilled cheese, most of us keep it simple. A good cheddar, some fresh sliced bread, a little butter in the pan and voila, the perfect All-American sandwich. But, if your grilled cheese game goes way beyond the usual and you often find yourself experimenting with creative combinations—using unlikely ingredients to turn your melty lunch uber-gourmet—well, you may be able to make some cash off your talent.
In honor of April being National Grilled Cheese Month (really just an excuse to eat more cheese and bread), a website called The Grilled Cheese Academy is kicking off its 5th Annual Grilled Cheese Recipe Contest. Note: This Academy isn't actually academic at all; it's just a fun grilled-cheese-recipe-and-food-porn-portal run by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. The organization will be giving out more than $28,000 in cash prizes, including $15,000 to the grilled-cheese maker who impresses them the most. Starting April 1, you can submit your creation via their website, and entries must include the sandwich name, a quick description, preparation instructions, ingredients, and a good photo of the finished product.
But it's clear you're going to have to think outside the recipe box. Past champs and runners-up have come up with some killer concoctions. Last year, an amazing-looking Hawaiian-style sandwich took the bronze. The Mahalo (below) included chipotle jack, aged cheddar, a pineapple-bourbon chutney and a Chinese-five-spice-and-brown-sugar-rubbed pork belly on what just might be our favorite bread product of all time: the pretzel roll.
In 2014, The Madisonian was named as a judge's choice. And no wonder: It was basically a mac-and-cheese sandwich layered with bratwurst and sauerkraut and served on jalapeno-cheese bread—because, you know, more cheese:
2013's big winner was The Kennebunkport, which ingeniously combined Mascarpone and Provolone with lobster and tomatoes, proving you actually can mix fish and cheese, at least on a sandwich:
And the first grilled cheese to ever take gold at the contest's kickoff in 2012 was the sweet-and-savory Bewitching, where Gouda and Provolone were paired with blackberries, spinach and arugula on basic white bread:
May the ooziest invention win.
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