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Grilled Cheese Invitational

Grilled Cheese Invitational

How often have I had blissful dreams like the picture above? In the dream, I am hungry. Then some kind stranger appears from nowhere and smilingly hands me a huge pile of freshly melted, warm, buttery grilled cheese sandwiches.

But just like Mia Farrow said in Rosemary's Baby, "This is no dream, this is really happening."

On Saturday afternoon in Griffith Park the 1st 6th Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational took place, with hundreds showing up to grill and be judged. Hundreds more came for the free cheese sandwiches.

And while I've been genetically bred to despise corporate sponsorship of all kinds at all times, I must say there was something sweet about the Kraft table with it's Modern Times-esque production line of grilling, cutting, arranging and serving almost 2,000 sandwiches - and those were just the appetizers.

Grilled Cheese Invitational

Rico Gagliano provided the blessing/invocation/praise of the grilled cheese, which also marked the beginning of the competitive grilling.

And then it was on to the grilling. For the next several hours dozens of teams created twenty plates of samples, then set them out on huge orange tables, which held back scores of hungry mouths.

Grilled Cheese Invitational

The categories ranged from simple (The Missionary) to complex (the Kama Sutra) toi desert-ish (The Honey Pot), with total pros grilling next to amateurs.

Grilled Cheese Invitational

A couple of hours into it, the grilling was still going strong, though the crowd was starting to congeal into a blobby mess.

Grilled Cheese Invitational

I didn't really think I'd last until the last sandwich and the winners were announced, just like I never last until last call at most bars. I get my fill and then I'm off, wobbly legs and all.

Grilled Cheese Invitational

Luckily, the winners have just been posted online, and though it's tough to imagine without seeing pictures of each sandwich next to the names, it'll have to do.

Many more photos of the cooks and sammiches posted here.

Grilled Cheese Invitational

All photos and footage by Mark Mauer

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