The first Grilled Cheese Cook-Off at the Mt. Washington Tavern was a sizzling success yesterday. The event, which benefited Moveable Feast, was a sell-out and also provided a few hours of family fun.
The kids had their own craft table and were able to vote on their favorite sandwich. There was even a kid—Eli Knauer—on the official judges' panel. Eli, who is nine but will quickly tell you that he will be 10 in May, has his own food blog, Adventures of a Koodie.
Eli joined me and several other eaters: Ron Matz of WJZ, Brenda Carl of WCMB, and Sara Hisamoto, director of public relations at Visit Baltimore in the food fest. We sampled five sandwiches from professional chefs and three sandwiches from home cooks, whose recipes had been previously selected from a pool of entries.
Former Top Chef contestant Jesse Sandlin, who is doing restaurant consulting since leaving Vino Rosina, announced the winners:
Kids' Favorite—Chef/owner Matthew Milani, Rumor Mill Fusion Grille.
People's Choice—Executive chef Chad Gauss, City Café, who brought along his lovely wife and two adorable children.
Home Cook: Michelle Howell of the Parkville area.
And, drum roll, the Professional Favorite:
Kevin Miller, executive chef at Widespread Concierge Services and formerly of Ixia.
His dish, pictured, was called a Dutch Toasty and was served with a spring-pea soup topped with crispy prosciutto. Kevin said he based the sandwich on foods he had in Holland.
The grilled sandwich featured brioche bread layered with two-year-old Gouda, Jarlsberg, and goat cheese with fresh dill, topped with pickled cucumber chips. Kevin recommended that we dip the sandwich into the pea soup. It was a great flavor sensation.
Chefs Patrick "Opie" Crooks of Roy's and Darrick Granai of Baldwin's Station also participated. Their sandwiches were delicious, too. I was told the voting was very close.
Although a few judges were heard to say that it would be a while before they ate grilled cheese again, we're all hoping the organizers put on this event next year.
Photo by me