You know that your day's going well if—on a visit to one of your favorite cheese makers—you happen to stumble upon the final stages of a grilled-cheese contest. Which is what happened last Saturday, when I stopped by the Tillamook Cheese Factory, in the course of finishing up a scouting trip on the Oregon coast. (Okay, I was there on a personal errand … a friend back in San Francisco had begged, begged me to bring him back a wedge of their extra-sharp white cheddar—"the special five-year vintage limited edition!" It's not even listed on the Tillamook website, and the best place to find it is at the factory store.)
At any rate, by noon the three finalists, Brandon, Joshua, and Dallas, were busy grilling for the judges and the crowd.
The crowd favorite, judging by my utterly unscientific poll of anyone within range, was eleven-year-old Dallas. Obviously, the kid is a grilled-cheese prodigy: his Melty Mook recipe called for four different cheeses, including the (aged two years) Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar.
Today's lesson? Never bet against the crowd: here's Dallas with his first-place prize ($500 and a gift basket that's nearly as big as him). And, of course, his winning recipe.