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Artisanal's Grilled Cheese Sandwich contest

TrishUntrapped Apr 13, 2012 12:29 PM

April is Grilled Cheese month, and Artisanal Bistro on Park Avenue, the mecca of all things cheese, is holding a Grilled Cheese Contest on Wednesday, April 18.

The judges are Terrence Brennan, Chef-Proprietor of Artisanal and Picholine restaurants, Mario Batali, Rocco Dispirito, James Mulcahy of Zagat, Helen Rosner of Saveur, Anne Saxelby of Saxelby Cheesemongers, and Alyssa Shelasky of Grub Street.

I'm one of the six finalists and was wondering if any other Chowhounds are as well.

Read more about the contest here:


To read more about the contest and finalists "Like" Artisanal Bistro on Facebook.

Smile, say cheese!

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  1. LeahBaila RE: TrishUntrapped Apr 16, 2012 12:01 PM

    Wow, that's freakin' awesome, Trish! Congrats!

    4 Replies
    1. re: LeahBaila
      TrishUntrapped RE: LeahBaila Apr 16, 2012 02:56 PM

      Thanks Leah,

      I'm looking forward to the event, should be a lot of fun!!

      1. re: TrishUntrapped
        LeahBaila RE: TrishUntrapped Apr 17, 2012 05:52 AM

        So cool. Let us know how it turns out!

        1. re: LeahBaila
          TrishUntrapped RE: LeahBaila Apr 17, 2012 11:30 AM

          Thanks Leah. I understand that Mario Batali is no longer judging. ;-( Not sure about Rocco DiSpirito. NBC News I think is going to televise it. Not 100% sure. So it might be on TV.

          In any event, it's all good to me! I just have to go, sip champagne and have fun! I never expected to make the finals, it's pure shock.

          The winning sandwich is going to be featured on Artisanal's menu and 10% of the proceeds from its sale goes to the charity of the winner's choice. There is a charity very dear to me called Neighborhood Studios of Fairfield County which provides arts education programs for underprivileged and special needs children.

          Some Neighborhood Studios people are coming to the judging. If I win, great the charity gets $$$$!

          But my motto is "Expect the unexpected, and always have a Plan B."

          Actually, I expect to lose. But my Plan B anyway is I have asked friends for "losing pledges" for me to give to the charity should that happen. In return I will thank them with some homemade sweet and savory treats. Win/Win/Win. I've collected some money to hand over tomorrow to the charity. And most people have said give it to the charity anyway even if you win. Some people are really really nice. And like the hokey pokey, that's what its all about.

          1. re: TrishUntrapped
            LeahBaila RE: TrishUntrapped Apr 17, 2012 11:35 AM

            Wow, what a great post, Trish. This all sounds so incredible. I love your motto, too! That sucks about Batali, but amazing that it may be televised!! :)

    2. Caroline1 RE: TrishUntrapped Apr 17, 2012 12:05 PM

      Wow, that's TOMORROW! Break a leg, as they say. And here's hoping you get to sample every kind of cheese under the sun. Great good luck to you AND your charity!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Caroline1
        TrishUntrapped RE: Caroline1 Apr 17, 2012 12:29 PM

        Thanks Leah and Caroline! ;-)

      2. TrishUntrapped RE: TrishUntrapped Apr 18, 2012 02:36 AM

        Here is a local story about the contest. I heard last night that both Mario and Rocco are out now. An NBC New York reporter is filling in and I believe NBC is going to broadcast the contest but not sure when. As they say, stay tuned.


        7 Replies
        1. re: TrishUntrapped
          LeahBaila RE: TrishUntrapped Apr 18, 2012 05:42 AM

          What a great write-up!! The sandwich sounds AWESOME. Please, please, please report back! Good luck!!!!

          1. re: TrishUntrapped
            LeahBaila RE: TrishUntrapped Apr 19, 2012 07:48 AM

            How'd it go???

            1. re: LeahBaila
              thegforceny RE: LeahBaila Apr 19, 2012 08:22 AM

              Google'd it: she lost.

              1. re: thegforceny
                Miss Needle RE: thegforceny Apr 19, 2012 09:28 AM

                That was last year. May 4 is a Friday this year.

                1. re: Miss Needle
                  thegforceny RE: Miss Needle Apr 19, 2012 02:11 PM

                  so sorry.

                  EDIT: She still lost. :(

                2. re: thegforceny
                  ellenost RE: thegforceny Apr 19, 2012 11:57 AM

                  According to their Facebook page, Lizz Spano won this year's contest with her "Drunken" Raclette Griled Cheese sandwich.

                3. re: LeahBaila
                  Caroline1 RE: LeahBaila Apr 19, 2012 11:18 AM

                  If NBC (or ANY TV network/station) is going to broadcast the contest at some future date, there's about a 99.9% chance that all contestants are not allowed to talk about who won/lost until the show airs. But maybe not. We'll see.

              2. TrishUntrapped RE: TrishUntrapped Apr 19, 2012 06:28 PM

                Okay, I'm back!! Sorry for the delay! I didn't get home until late after the contest and had to go to work early the next morning. I'm a journalist and the news never sleeps...and sometimes neither do I.

                My Three-Cheese Crisp did not win. The delightful Lizz Spano won with her "Drunken" Raclette Grilled Cheese. The finalists were all very nice interesting people and I truly enjoyed meeting them. All the best and congratulations to Lizz! Her sandwich (on Peasant bread) included French Raclette, smashed red potato, whiskey caramelized onions, and six, that's correct, six, cornichons sliced in half.

                My Three Cheese Crisp on sourdough bread contained homemade Parmesan Crisps stuffed between a layer of shredded Fontina cheese and a layer of shredded Gruyere, grilled in fresh rosemary infused butter. Afterwards, two judges told me they loved my sandwich and gave it perfect scores. One said "This is what a grilled cheese should be!" Bless them!

                Other entries were:

                Grilled Cheese with Crispy Pork Belly, Apple Chutney and Aged Cheddar (Lynn Albright)
                Grilled Cheddar with Indian Mango Pickle (Rachel Prince)
                Diana Rowell's Grilled Cheese Sandwich (Pierre Robert cheese, Barely Buzzed Cheddar, Gruyere, Granny Smith apple) (Diana Rowell)
                Mac & Cheese Grilled Cheese (Elbow macaroni, Gruyere, Cheddar, Parmiggiano Reggiano, tomato) (Richard Sandhaus)

                Judges were: Chef Terrance Brennan, James Mulcahy - Editor at .zagat.com, Helen Rosner, Editor at Saveur, Anne Saxelby, Saxelby Cheesemongers in the Essex Street Market, Alyssa Shelasky, Grub Street, and Lauren Scala from NBC New York Live was added as a judge.

                Mario Batali and Rocco Dispirito were no shows. Chef Terrance said Mario had forgotten it was his father-in-law's birthday and could not attend, and Rocco had a paying job to go to instead.

                Lauren Scala was a good sport and a snippet of the contest was featured today on NBC New York Live. The ladies on the show also ate Lizz's winning sandwich. Cool!

                I was thrilled to turn over a nice envelope of donations to members of Neighborhood Studios in attendance.

                1. A friend samples one of my Three Cheese Crisps
                2. The Grilled Cheddar with Indian Mango Pickle
                3. Crispy Pork Belly, Apple Chutney and Aged Cheddar
                4. Dianne Rowell's with Pierre Robert cheese, Barely Buzzed Cheddar (with rind of lavender and coffee), Gruyere and Granny Smith apple on Walnut bread.
                5. Judges
                6. More judges
                7. And the winner is...
                8. Parting gifts
                9. Souvenir menu with my Grilled Cheese on it. Only the winner's is actually being sold...however for a price...just let me know ;-)

                What a blast! I'm very proud and honored to have been part of Artisanal's Grilled Cheese Contest and loved every minute!

                4 Replies
                1. re: TrishUntrapped
                  diva360 RE: TrishUntrapped Apr 19, 2012 09:33 PM

                  How fun! Thanks for reporting back, and congrats on making it to the finals.

                  1. re: TrishUntrapped
                    LeahBaila RE: TrishUntrapped Apr 20, 2012 05:28 AM

                    Bravo, Trish! You're still the winner to us! Great report and photos. Thanks so much for the update!

                    1. re: TrishUntrapped
                      michele cindy RE: TrishUntrapped Apr 23, 2012 08:58 AM

                      Congratulations Trish! What a fun time! Thanks for posting.

                      1. re: michele cindy
                        TrishUntrapped RE: michele cindy Apr 23, 2012 11:45 AM

                        Thanks Leah and Michele! ;-)

                    2. Professional_Amateur RE: TrishUntrapped Apr 20, 2012 06:19 AM

                      Your sandwich looked awfully good esp with the added rosemary. I used to do with a sandwich using feta cheese and the taste is just right. I'm sorry you lost but I'm sure others like myself have noted your recipe. I'd have to taste it but the potatoe in the winning sandwich didn't appeal to me much. Yours was cheese all the way!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Professional_Amateur
                        TrishUntrapped RE: Professional_Amateur Apr 20, 2012 08:29 AM

                        Thank you Leah and ProAm! Very nice and kind words. I'm going to post my recipe later tonight on the Home Cooking board.

                      2. Professional_Amateur RE: TrishUntrapped Apr 20, 2012 09:29 AM

                        I liked that the rosemary butter was on the outside. Also, I also kind of think that when does the sandwich stop being a grilled cheese and becomes something else say along the lines of a Reuben etc? I thought that yours was pretty sophisticated. The one with macaroni in it didn't sound like something I'd ever consider attempting to digest and cheese and chutney is fairly standard fare. The one with sliced apple and then the lavender rind cheese, well...Anyway, we liked your sandwich! Hope others do, too!!

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Professional_Amateur
                          LeahBaila RE: Professional_Amateur Apr 20, 2012 10:58 AM

                          Amen, P_A. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said.

                          1. re: LeahBaila
                            Professional_Amateur RE: LeahBaila Apr 20, 2012 03:39 PM

                            hey thanks. its a cheese sandwich, not a fried potatoe with cheese or macaroni with cheese sandwich. so unappetizing sounding plus I doubt its good for one's intestines. that's where the whole " food movement" thing can spin out of control!

                            1. re: Professional_Amateur
                              Pan RE: Professional_Amateur Apr 22, 2012 04:05 PM

                              I agree. Your sandwich really sounded like the only fully cheese sandwich.

                              Congratulations, Trish! And thanks for posting about this.

                              1. re: Pan
                                TrishUntrapped RE: Pan Apr 23, 2012 01:20 AM

                                Thanks Pan, it was a lot of fun. As an aside, after the contest my friends and I had dinner at Artisanal and the French Onion Soup was wonderful.

                                1. re: TrishUntrapped
                                  Pan RE: TrishUntrapped Apr 23, 2012 01:49 AM

                                  I've never been to Artisanal, though I've walked past it a lot on the way to or from a Korean restaurant. What else did you have?

                                  1. re: Pan
                                    TrishUntrapped RE: Pan Apr 23, 2012 02:22 AM

                                    We just snacked on a few things: Gougeres (Savory small Gruyere cheese puffs) which are addictive and go well with wine and cocktails. Skate, Cheeseburger and Fries, Macaroni and Cheese (luscious and decadent) (pictured below), desserts (pictured below).

                                    In past visits have enjoyed Cheese Fondue, Steak Frites, Chicken Under a Brick, Chocolate Fondue. My favorite cocktail is a Lemon Drop. Nice wines by the glass. The onion soup and a salad does it for me though, it's all I need.

                                    Upbeat, fun spot. Lively, not quiet. Good bar to eat at too.

                                    1. Artisanal's Mac & Cheese
                                    2. Chocolate Tart with Salted Caramel Ice Cream
                                    3. Lemon Curd Meringue with Blood Orange Sorbet, and behind that Creme Brulee Le Cirque. The Creme Brulee was the bomb. Flavor perfectly vanilla and texture was ultra smooth. The top was not crackly but the interior was so good it didn't matter.

                        2. TrishUntrapped RE: TrishUntrapped Apr 21, 2012 12:21 PM

                          I posted recipes for my Three Cheese Crisp Sandwich and the winning "Drunken" Raclette Grilled Cheese on the Home Cooking Board:

                          Artisanal also has links to all the sandwich recipes here:

                          If anyone makes any of the sandwiches I'd appreciate your feedback. Thanks!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: TrishUntrapped
                            TrishUntrapped RE: TrishUntrapped Apr 22, 2012 04:40 AM

                            There is a follow up story about the Grilled Cheese Contest in today's Danbury News Times. Really nice comments by Alyssa Shelasky of Grub Street/New York Magazine.


                            1. re: TrishUntrapped
                              LeahBaila RE: TrishUntrapped Apr 23, 2012 06:02 AM

                              Yummmmmmmmmm! Thank you!!

                            2. TrishUntrapped RE: TrishUntrapped Apr 23, 2012 03:39 PM

                              If anyone goes to Artisanal and tries the "Drunken" Raclette Grilled Cheese would you please report back? I didn't sample it and I'm curious what you think of it.



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