While Slow Food Edmonton does host many events that allow citizens to celebrate and partake in local food, such as the ever-popular Indulgence, the annual Greens, Eggs and Ham picnic and the Wild Boar and Beer BBQ (which I am helping to put together this year), I do think the organization needs to plan more accessible (price and time-wise) activities to engage the public.
For that reason, I was delighted to hear about the Grilled Cheese Olympics. Taking place at Coast Wholesale Appliances on March 14, 2010, the event will see competitors prepare their best grilled cheese sandwiches in one of two categories (classic or contemporary), to be evaluated by a panel of judges. Prizes include gift certificates for Paddy’s International Cheese Market and a grilled cheese sandwich from Madison’s Grill. All ingredients used must be good, clean and fair (that means no Kraft Singles!), and it is a fun, light hearted event that inspired cooks of all ages can participate in. Moreover, all proceeds ($25/$20 to compete, $2 to watch) go to support a young Albertan producer to Slow Food International’s Terra Madre, a yearly event where attendees learn sustainable food production methods.
Thea Moss, Slow Food Edmonton Convivium Leader came up with the idea. “Slow Food Edmonton thought it would be great to get people out of the doldrums of winter with some friendly competition,” says Thea. “Expect to see some sort of comfort food smackdown every year!” When asked if she has a favourite sandwich creation, I was surprised to hear that she doesn’t. “I have childhood memories of getting a grilled cheese sandwich after drama class with my mum. In Australia [where Thea is originally from], grilled cheese is not really a thing, so it’s not something I’ve explored. I hope to discover my favourite at this Grilled Cheese Olympics!”
If you’re interested in participating (either as a competitor or a spectator), the guidelines are worth a read, particularly because the playful spirit of the event quickly becomes apparent. And you have to love Chad Moss’s description of a winning grilled cheese sandwich:
- Presentation: How does the sandwich look. Is there obvious melty goodness oozing out the sides. Is it evenly browned. Were the edges cut off due to crust carbonization…(1-10, 10 being highest)
- Taste: Does the sandwich evoke memories of grilled cheesy goodness that make you want to call your parents and apologize for everything you ever did wrong as a kid. Is it a revelation in the art of grilled cheese, or is it just – schmeh… (1-20, 20 being highest)
- Texture: is the cheese stringyness in perfect balance with the crisp outer toasted crust. Is the bread soggy. Did anyone break a tooth on the bison jerky lurking under the crust. (1-5, 5 being the highest)
- Style: was there a garnish. Did it need a garnish to begin with. What made this sandwich special and/or better than the rest. Is the sandwich balanced. Was bigger actually better. (1-5, 5 being the highest)
- Slowness: How well did the sandwich and it’s ingredients represent Slow Food principles? Judges will need your written submission here to learn about the ingredients you chose. (1-10, 10 being highest)
The deadline to enter the Grilled Cheese Olympics is March 10, 2010. Hope to see you there!
Slow Food Edmonton’s Grilled Cheese Olympics
March 14, 2010, 3-6pm
Coast Wholesale Appliances, 5345 Gateway Boulevard