how it all started

Where did the idea of a Grilled Cheese Championship come from, you wonder? First and foremost the event's purpose is to highlight and celebrate Wisconsin Dairy Farmers! Second, because anyone who has had the delicious pleasure of eating Wisconsin produced cheeses knows they are the best of the best. And what's better than a creative rendition of a traditional Wisconsin Grilled Cheese?

This fabulous event is the brainchild of Lorin Toepper, a late Highland resident. 

"I created the idea of having a Grilled Cheese Championship in order to increase the awareness of the important role that Wisconsin's dairy farmers play in our state's economy," he said. "Then I saw that other states, most notably California, have a competition and knew that if California could have a competition, we certainly could have a better one -- since our cheese is better!"

Lorin was well known in the Hospitality Field. He held positions ranging from Associate Professor of Hospitality to Associate Dean of Business and ending his career as the Executive Director of Economic & Workforce Development. It was during this time, through a collaborative effort between the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and the Iowa County Area Economic Development Corporation that the idea of this event came to Lorin.  

"Who doesn't like to eat a grilled cheese sandwich?" he said. "We all ate them as kids, and so they have a special place in our hearts and in our memories. A grilled cheese sandwich is like a blank canvas: You can go so many different ways with it by using a variety of cheeses, adding ingredients, being clever with your bread selection, or making a compound butter to enhance the flavor even more."

Our taste buds are forever grateful for Lorin's delicious idea!