Big Cheesy Aftermath: Contestants, Winners And Grilled Cheeses

We’re looking to make The Big Cheesy a permanent fixture in Manhattan Februaries, and this weekend was step one. In the past two days we’ve had roughly 45 grilled cheese sandwiches, been in about six food comas, and seen more than 1200 happy faces. We experienced seven of the most creative cheese chefs in New York City, tasted pulled pork and sharp cheddar, a trio of Swiss cheese and mac n cheese grilled cheese. There was also that gigantic carved Big Daddy’s wheel. Check out what the guests thought about the contestants’ recipes and what they were. Turns out that at this grilled cheese championship, the full-time grilled cheese shops won out.


The Big Cheesy champ!
Melt Shop’s sandwich trio: Sharp cheddar and pulled pork with homemade BBQ sauce on sourdough bread; blue and cheddar cheese with bacon and cranberry pepper jam on sourdough; goat cheese and fontina with roasted wild mushrooms and parsley pesto.


Big Cheesy runner up
Little Muenster rounded grilled cheese: Gruyere, tallegio and fontina cheeses with membrillo, a pear and apple paste, and prosciutto on organic peasant bread.


Big Bronze
Lucy’s Whey’s Chelsea Market classic: Prairie Breeze cheddar with fig jam, sea salt and olive oil on Amy’s Bread.


Fourth Place
Big Daddy’s gigantic recipe: Macaroni with a parmesan crust and six different types of cheese, bacon, tomato, truffle oil on Orwasher’s Bread.


Casellula’s elegance: Scharfer Max, gruyer and Emmenthaler Swiss cheeses with pickled pepper relish.


Most Underrated
Murray’s Atomic Bomb: Taleggio with braised short ribs, caramelized onions, spicy relish, jalapeno peppers, arugula and mazi piri piri hot sauce.


Most Avant Garde
Tartinery’s Croque Madame: Gruyere and ham with a fried egg on poliane bread.


Fancy Cat Productions shot a great story about The Big Cheesy including interviews with all the contestants. Watch it right here.



The Big Cheesy – Openhouse Gallery from Fancy Cat Productions on Vimeo.


An Americanized Croque Madame from Tartinery.


Over the course of two days we had all the guests voting and with a very clear winner of the Big Cheesy 2012 in Melt Shop. It might have been that precious blue cheese, or the wild mushrooms, or maybe it was the seriousness with which they handled their grill presses… but their score was way ahead and we’re happy to announce them as the Big Cheesy Champions of 2012. Runner ups were Little Muenster followed by Lucy’s Whey.


Spencer Rubin of Melt Shop works out of a snack shack on 53rd so he was ready to take the stand at Openhouse’s Big Cheesy. 


Thanks to all the participants and guests. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. Special shouts to Sixpoint beer, it really helped clear the palette and get lots more grilled cheeses in our system. And much love to Raphael of Tartinery for being the most enthusiastic and the friendliest person of The Big Cheesy. See you all at the next Big Cheesy!


Rafael of Tartinery working on his masterpiece.


Lucy’s Whey came in third!


Little Muenster’s little monster of a grilled cheese that took second place.


Casellula&’s entry with a punch of pickled relish.


The brightest stand, Murray’s, serving the short rib Atomic Bomb sandwich.


Big Daddy’s obviously very popular mac’n’cheese-with-bacon grilled cheese.


If you have photos to share, comments, suggestions, your food coma stories, please post on our Facebook wall. Cheese out.

0 Comments on “Big Cheesy Aftermath: Contestants, Winners And Grilled Cheeses”

  1. There needs to be more rules for this next year.  Once you have added other things to a grilled cheese sandwich, things that cost more than and become more of the flavor of the sandwich than the cheese, it’s no longer a grilled cheese sandwich and instead a “whatever (pulled pork, mushroom, ham, etc” sandwich W/ cheese.  In my opinion ONLY Caseulla and Lucy Whey should have been entertained for the top spot based solely on compliance with what should seem to be an obvious rule.  

    A grilled cheese is a grilled cheese.  It shouldn’t contain vegetables or meat.  Little Muenster’s tomato bisque and Caseulla’s grilled cheese w/ pickled pepper relish garnish (my favorite entry) would both be compliant with this simple rule, but prosciutto, pulled pork, and mushrooms all make it no longer a grilled cheese (Big Daddy’s bacon may slide by this rule because it was a smaller part of the flavor, but the mac n’ cheese might be harder to justify, though still a tasty entry and somewhat compliant with the general premise).This event was a huge success, and a lot of fun to be a part of, but there should be more guidelines for entries.  It also seemed unfair that one entrant had 3 sandwiches as opposed to one.  And another entrant was buying votes with Jello shots!  A brilliant strategy, but not in the spirit of the competition.  All and all a brilliant idea for a pop-up, and well received by all.

    Thanks to Openhouse Gallery and all of the entrants!


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