National grilled cheese recipe competition begins

Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Wisconsin State Farmer
A panel of culinary experts tasted, deliberated and ultimately selected The Mississippi Comeback as the winner of the sixth annual Grilled Cheese Academy Recipe Showdown competition.

What says Wisconsin better than cheese? What better way to celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month than entering the 2018 Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Recipe Showdown with more categories and more than $40,000 in cash prizes?

The Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Recipe Showdown runs through May 15. One grand prize winner will receive $15,000 and be crowned the 2018 Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Champion. More than $25,000 in additional cash and bonus prizes will also be awarded throughout the competition.

For the first time ever, the contest, now in its seventh year, offers multiple categories — Open, Classic, Junior and Fan Flavorites. 

Seoiul Food was the silver award winner of the sixth annual Grilled Cheese Academy Recipe Showdown competition.


The Open Class is for recipe creations without any limitations, as long as the recipe has Wisconsin cheese.

"There are no restrictions on ingredients, so sky's the limit, think big," Charley and Michael, the Cheese Twins, explain in a video on the contest. 

The winner of the category gets $15,000 and the runner up gets $5,000.


For those who want to keep it simple, or as the Cheese Twins describe, "for the grilled cheese purists out there," so "no melts, no funny stuff." Recipes must have six ingredients or less.

The winner of the Classic class takes home $7,000 and runner up $3,000.

Grilled cheese lovers from across the U.S. put their personal stamp on a time-honored comfort food during the 2017 Grilled Cheese Academy Recipe Showdown sponsored by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.


Added to this year's competition is the Junior class "for you up and coming chefs who are under 18," the Cheese Twins explain. Recipes in the Junior class have no restrictions. 

The Junior class winner will receive $5,000 and the runner up $2,000.

Fan Flavorites

Another new category in the recipe contest is the Fan Flavorites, "geared toward you content creators," a video competition. A recipe is not required to enter.

"Just send an entertaining recipe video," inspired by your love of grilled cheese, "the cheesier the better," say the Cheese Twins. 

Four winners will be chosen by social media and each will win $1,000. 

The Mardi Gras sandwich was the bronze award winner of the sixth annual Grilled Cheese Academy Recipe Showdown competition.


Celebrity judges will critique recipes based on incorporation of Wisconsin cheese, creativity, presentation and taste.

This year's top grilled cheese recipes will be judged by a panel of experts, including editors from Rachael Ray Every Day and, bloggers from Cheese Sex Death and Grilled Cheese Social, Laura Werlin, author of Grilled Cheese, Please!: 50 Scrumptiously Cheesy Recipes and previous grilled cheese champions.

The 2018 winners will be announced live on the Wisconsin Cheese Facebook page in June.

2017 winner 

Last year's grilled cheese glory was awarded to Lorie Roach of Buckatunna, MS for her Mississippi Comeback, a tasty combination that brings together Wisconsin fontina and cheddar cheeses with fried okra and the signature southern comeback sauce.

Lorie has been cooking since she a little girl, but started getting creative when she got married, according to the 2017 Book of Champions, which is available for free download. 

For more information about the 2018 Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Recipe Showdown or to submit an entry visit For more information about Wisconsin cheese, visit