There will be a maximum of 20 competitors in each heat. Once capacity in a particular heat has been reached, a waiting list of competitors will be created. Each competitor will be allowed to enter only one sandwich per category in a maximum of two categories for a total of two sandwich category entries for the entire competition.
An “amateur” competitor is a person who engages in cooking as a past-time rather than as a profession. A Young Chef competitor is a person who is aged 12-17 and engages in cooking as a past-time rather than as a profession (note: there is only one cooking heat for Young Chefs and they must be accompanied by an adult during the competition). A “professional” competitor is 1) a person who engages in cooking as part of their profession or 2) an expert with specialized knowledge in culinary arts and in which one is practicing professionally.
The entry fee is non-refundable and you must preregister using Eventbrite (http://2013grilledcheesewisconsin.eventbrite.com/): $10 per category for Amateurs, $10 for the “open” category for Young Chefs, and $20 per category for professionals. Competitors may enter in up to only two categories while competitors aged 12-17 may only enter in the Amateur-Young Chefs category. The entry fee includes admission for one competitor and one assistant. Except for the special Young Chefs heat, competitors must be at least 18 years of age to compete. Assistants must be 12 years of age or older and must be accompanied by an adult competitor during the competition.
There are four categories of Grilled Cheese Sandwiches: Classic, Classic Plus One, Classic Plus Extras, and Classic Dessert.
- Classic: any type of bread, real butter, and real Wisconsin cheese. No additional ingredients.
- Classic Plus One: a savory sandwich with any type of bread, “butter,” and real Wisconsin cheese plus one additional ingredient. The interior ingredients must be at least 60% cheese.
- Classic Plus Extras: a savory sandwich with any type of bread, “butter,” and real Wisconsin cheese plus unlimited additional ingredients. However, the interior ingredients must still be at least 60% cheese.
- Classic Dessert: any kind of bread, “butter,” and real Wisconsin cheese plus additional ingredients to create an overall sweet (as opposed to savory) flavor that would be best served as a “dessert” grilled cheese sandwich. However, the interior ingredients must still be at least 60% cheese.
- “Open” (available only during the Young Chef heat): Competitors between the ages of 12-17 may cook either the Classic, Classic Plus One, Classic Plus Extras, or Classic Dessert sandwiches during this heat.
“Bread”: any leavened or unleavened, flour-based and baked item that is considered to be “bread” (e.g., pita, whole-wheat, sandwich thins, etc.). “Butter”: a sandwich grilling aid that includes, butter, margarine, plain or flavored oils, etc. are permitted, especially in certain categories. However, only real butter may be used in the “classic” category. “Cheese”: must be made in Wisconsin from an animal source.
There are a total of four judges for each heat in the Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Championship. Competitors must grill two sandwiches within a category: one will be cut up into quarters for the judges to sample and one will be kept whole for the judges to award presentation points. Each sandwich entry will able to score a maximum of 40 points per judge for a total of 160 points possible. The sandwich with the highest points awarded by the judges will be declared the winner of that category. In case of a tie, a cook-off will be held. Points will be awarded by the judges based upon the following criteria:
- Presentation (how does the sandwich look?): up to 10 points possible
- Taste (how does the sandwich taste?): up to 20 points possible
- Style (is this sandwich special?): up to 10 points possible
The top three scores for each category will be declared first, second, and third place winners (see the Prizes section for more information). A “Best of Show” will be awarded by the judges for the both the Amateur and Professional most outstanding grilled cheese sandwiches of the Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Competition. All participants in the Young Chef competition will receive a participation ribbon regardless of their performance.