2015 Grilled Cheese Academy Recipe Showdown Winner Fuses Favorite Pub Flavors


Couple awarded $15,000 for winning recipe in national grilled cheese contest

MADISON, Wis. – This year's 2015 Grilled Cheese Academy Recipe Showdown winning recipe, The Sports Bar, rose to the top of a record-breaking 1,732 entries by impressing judges with a medley of flavors and masterful use of creamy Wisconsin cheese. Based on taste, creativity and sandwich photography, three top prizes were awarded, with the winning sandwich taking home a grand prize of $15,000.
This year's Gold award-winning sandwich, titled The Sports Bar, was inspired by nostalgia and elevated with a fusion of classic pub flavors. This sandwich marries together two favorite sports bar favorites – shredded chicken smothered in a zesty BBQ sauce and creamy gorgonzola fondue with gooey mozzarella. Matchstick carrots and celery add a crunchy texture, and crispy slices of mustard-coated bread add a final show-stopping element. Stefanie Abi-Rached and Chris Schaldenbrand from Santa Ana, California, the culinary brain power behind this masterpiece, developed this appealing flavor combo as a tribute to their favorite sports bar.

"The bar had gourmet hot wings to die for, and so after discussing a million ideas, protein options, cheeses and sauces, we decided nothing would be more true to ourselves than paying homage to football season and our favorite bar's chicken wings," said Abi-Rached and Schaldenbrand.

The Silver award-winning sandwich, The Picante, harnesses classic taco truck flavors like chorizo, poblano peppers and corn salad tied together with aged cheddar on jalapeƱo cheddar cheese bread. Bronze award winning sandwich, The Mahalo, meaning "thank you" in Hawaiian, proves its namesake with crispy pork belly and spicy pineapple chutney topped with oozing chipotle jack and aged cheddar cheeses. The winners received $5,000 and $3,000, respectively.

Due to the amount of cheesy recipes submitted this year, judges also named three judge's choice sandwiches. Each received $1,500, inclusion in the 2015 Grilled Cheese Recipe Showdown Book of Champions and a Wisconsin cheese gift basket.

Hosted by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and Wisconsin Cheese, the contest invited contestants from around the country to create the tastiest, most unique grilled Wisconsin Cheese sandwich. Now in its fourth year, the contest collected 33 percent more recipes than in 2014 – resulting in 1,732 creative entries from cheese-lovers throughout the U.S.

Downlaod a photo of The Sports Bar. To view all the winning recipes, including the Judges Choice winners, visit Full recipes for all winning sandwiches are also available for download in the Grilled Cheese Academy's 2015 Grilled Cheese Recipe Showdown Book of Champions.

For additional grilled cheese recipe photos or information, contact Heather Porter Engwall at or 608-203-7235. For more information about Wisconsin Cheese, visit