Each heat can hold up to 20 competitors. Once capacity has been reached, a waiting list for competitors will be created.  Each competitor will be allowed to enter only one sandwich per category in a maximum of 4 categories for the entire competition. Young Chef Competitors aged 12-17 may only enter in the Young Chef category but may serve as assistants with an adult competitor in other categories.

Amateur Competitor is a person who engages in cooking as a past-time rather than as a profession. 

Young Chef Competitor is a person aged 12-17 who engages in cooking as a past-time rather than as a profession (note: Young Chef competitors must be accompanied by an adult during the competition). 

Professional Competitor is a person who engages in cooking as part of their profession or is an expert with specialized knowledge in culinary arts and in which one is practicing professionally.

ENTRY FEE is non-refundable and you must pre-register using Eventbrite (
The entry fee includes admission for 1 competitor and 1 assistant. 

Amateur and Professional 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.

Amateurs: $10 per Category
Young Chef: $10 per Category (Competitors aged 12-17 may only enter as a competitor in the Young Chef category but may serve as an assistant with an adult competitor in other Amateur categories.)
Professional: $15 per Category

Competitors may enter in up to 4 categories.  


1. Competitors are responsible for checking in from 9:30-10:15 am at the designated Check-In stations located at the ticket entrance. Failure to do so may possibly prohibit you from competing if you are not checked in before your heat time.
2. Upon checking in and verifying information each competitor will get a packet with the following materials:

  1. 4 Voting Score Sheets for each category you are competing in.
  2. 4 Sandwich Description Cards* for each type of sandwich you are making. 2 will be for the competition arena and 2 will be for the VIP area to accompany your sandwich creations.
  3. Safe Food Handling Information Sheet
  4. Rule Sheet

*All Sandwich Description Cards should be completely filled out before entering competition arena.

3. Competitors are responsible for attending the mandatory meeting at 10:30 am on the day of the event to obtain:

  • Event information.
  • Competition Station demonstrations.
  • Rule updates.
  • Have competitor ingredients inspected and approved.
  • Any other additional information important for the event.

4. When a competitor’s designated heat is called, they will have 5 minutes to gather their supplies and report to their designated cooking station and get ready to compete. 

5. Equipment:
      A. Competitors will be supplied with the following equipment:

  • Sterno ActionStation butane portable stove
  • 12” American Kitchen by Regal Ware Stainless Steel fry pan with Eco-Satin non-stick coating (mandatory equipment, no substitutions)
  • Disposable Grilling Hats
  • Disposable Grilling Apron
  • Official Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Competition Cheese Flag
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Event Plates
  • Paper Towels

      B. Competitors are responsible for bringing the following items to the competition:  

  • Spatula or Turner
  • Cutting Board
  • Knife
  • Ingredients needed to make 6 sandwiches for each sandwich category entered      
  • Appropriate coolers and supply storage containers to hold ingredients in a sanitary manner

6. Each competitor will bring any and all supplies and ingredients necessary to make 6 sandwiches (2 for judging, 2 for our VIP attendees to sample and extra ingredients for 2 more sandwiches in the event of error) for each category. 

7. Competitors may prepare certain items ahead of your competition heat. (e.g., sauté onions and mushrooms, make a compote, make a compound butter, etc.).

8. FOOD:

  1. All perishable items must be stored in a cooler with ice and stored at safe temperatures below 45 degrees F.
  2.  All food stuff must be stored off the ground at least 6 inches. 
  3. Coolers and supply storage units should be labeled with competitors’ names. 

9. NO outside cooking equipment or cookware is allowed. The table-top, butane burners are tested to work well with the 12” skillet provided.  All other cooking devices and tools such as George Foreman Grills, deep fryers, toaster ovens, Panini grills, waffle irons, foil-wrapped bricks, PAN LIDS/COVERS, etc. WILL NOT BE ALLOWED.

10. All competitors must wear grilling hats, aprons, and sanitary gloves either provided or each competitor may bring their own hats, aprons, and sanitary gloves. 

11. When handling food and equipment, all competitors will wear sanitary, disposable gloves. 

12. While costumes are permitted and encouraged, they must include a hat, an apron, and sanitary, disposable gloves.

13. Sanitizing stations will be available to competitors to sanitize their cooking equipment before, during, and after they compete and after cooking in VIP area.



  1. Prior to the heat competitors will be assigned a working station number. Station number layout can be previewed after mandatory competitor meeting. 
  2. Competitors may enter the competing arena when the last competitor of the previous heat has left. Please allow previous heat competitors the space to move out of the arena and to the VIP cooking station.
  3. All grilling will be done in separate 15-minute heats.  Each competitor will have only 15 minutes per category to complete their grilling. 
  4. Competitors & Assistants will also need to wear sanitary, disposable gloves and maintain a safe food environment. 
  5. The competition will begin with the command:  “Spatulas up!”  When the time limit is reached, time will be called with the command “Spatulas down!” 
  6.  The competitor will grill 2 regular sized sandwiches, using the equipment provided, during the competition. 
                         - 1 sandwich will be cut up into quarters and presented to the judges to sample. Each quarter must be no smaller than 2”x2” in size for the judges to sample.
                               - 1 sandwich will be kept whole and given to the judges to determine presentation points. Afterwards, the whole sandwich will be cut in half by event staff and displayed to the
                                  spectators along with a description of the sandwich’s contents. 

  7. When the sandwiches are completed the competitor will decide which sandwich is cut up for the judges to sample and which sandwich will remain whole and judged for presentation. One of the sandwiches will then be cut by the competitor into four quarters, thereby creating four judging samples.  The other sandwich must remain whole.
  8. The assistant will be responsible for raising the designated cheese flag when the competitor has completed grilling their 2 sandwiches and are ready for the event staff will pick up the sandwiches.
  9. 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 individual heat.
  10. Upon completion of the competitor’s heat they will immediately move to the VIP area to grill 2 of the same sandwich from the completed heat. So additional ingredients should be ready.  The 2 prepared sandwiches will be cut into quarters. Each quarter must be no smaller than 2”x2” in size for sampling. These sandwich samples are for the VIP ticket holders. No additional sandwiches will be permitted to be given to non-VIP ticket holders.


  1. There are a total of four judges for each heat in the Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Championship. 
  2. The 2 sandwiches, the competitor is required to grill for each category entered,  will be presented to the judges to sample and critique presentation. 
  3. Each sandwich entry can score up to 40 points per judge for a total of 160 points possible. 
  4. The sandwich with the highest points awarded by the judges will be declared the winner of that category. 
  5. In case of a tie, a cook-off will be held.
  6. Sandwiches determined by judges or the floor monitor to be non-compliant (e.g., fails to use required ingredients or in required proportions, failure to follow sanitary requirements, etc.) will be disqualified. 
  7. Points will be awarded by the judges based upon the following criteria:

                                                                     -  Presentation 10 points possible

                                                                     -  Taste 20 points possible

                                                                     -  Style 10 points possible


Bread:  Any leavened or unleavened, flour-based and baked item that is considered to be “bread” (e.g., pita, whole-wheat, sandwich thins, etc.).  Gluten-free products ARE ALLOWED.

*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. 
(Note: processed cheese is prohibited and will result in disqualification.)



  • Any type of bread.
  • Real Wisconsin Butter.
  • Only 1 kind of real Wisconsin cheese. 
  • No additional ingredients.
  • Compound Butters can be used on the outside and do not count as an ingredient on any sandwich. Use them on the inside and it does count as an ingredient.

Classic Plus One: 

  • A savory (as opposed to sweet) sandwich with any type of bread.
  • Butter*
  • Only 1 kind of real Wisconsin cheese
  • 1 additional ingredient (note:  compound ingredients such as jams, spreads, etc. can be counted as one). 
  • The interior ingredients must be at least 60% cheese.

Classic Plus Extras:

  • A savory (as opposed to sweet) sandwich with any type of bread.
  • Butter*
  • Real Wisconsin cheese (multiple cheeses accepted).
  • Unlimited additional ingredients.
  • The interior ingredients must be at least 60% cheese.

Classic Dessert:

  • Any type of bread.
  • ​Butter*
  • Real Wisconsin cheese (multiple cheeses accepted).
  • Additional ingredients to create an overall sweet (as opposed to savory) flavor that would be best served as a “dessert” grilled cheese sandwich. 
  • The interior ingredients must be at least 60% cheese.

Amateur Young Chef Open:  Amateur-Young Chef competitors may prepare either the Classic, Classic Plus One, Classic Plus Extras, or Classic Dessert sandwich as defined above.  A Young Chefs must be accompanied by an adult during the competition.


The top 3 scores for each category will be declared first, second, and third place winners for both Professional, Amateur, and Young Chef classifications. Winners will receive various prizes. The Lorin Toepper “Best of Show” will be awarded by the judges for the most outstanding grilled cheese sandwich of the Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Championship for the Professional categories.  All Young Chef Competitors will receive a participation ribbon regardless of the outcome of that special heat.