People's Choice Recipe from the 5th Annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown

At the end of March we proudly hosted our 5th annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown. For those of you who are not familiar with this event, the Grilled Cheese Smackdown is the biggest cooking competition west of the Los Padres Mountain Range. With competitors prepping and practicing their grilled cheese creations for weeks before the competition, attendees and competitors alike are treated to mouthwatering creations where bread, cheese, and butter are just the beginning. With so many delicious sandwiches premiering at the Grilled Cheese Smackdown, we couldn’t keep all of the cheesy goodness to ourselves. To win the Golden Spatula at the Grilled Cheese Smackdown means that you impressed the judges more than any other team in the contest. While that is all and well, impressing the attendees of the Grilled Cheese Smackdown may be even more of an accomplishment. To recognize such an achievement, the People's Choice award is voted on by anyone in attendance and can be awarded to any team that makes a sandwich in the competition. This year it was none other than the Alpha Resource Center who took home the People's Choice Award. Their sandwich Pure Cheese featured a touch of spice from pepper jack cheese as well as the satisfying taste of sauteed mushrooms, spinach, and garlic. Rather than making you salivate by thinking about the sandwich, Alpha gave us permission to share their recipe so you can make Pure Cheese for yourself! Comfort food secured.

Pure Cheese by Alpha Resource Center

Ingredients: 1 slice of pepper jack cheese 1 slice of Cheddar Cheese 2 teaspoon of parmesan grated cheese (spread across the challah bread) 1/4 cup of mushrooms 1 teaspoon of fresh cut garlic 2 slices of challah bread Two teaspoons of butter (spread on the challah bread) 8 leafs of spinach A pinch of chives


  1. While the grill is heating up, dice up the mushrooms, garlic, and slice the challah bread into two pieces, then spread butter over the outside of the bread.
  2. Press the buttery surface of the bread with parmesan to ensure that every bit of the bread gets some cheesy love!
  3. Both bread slices and both types of cheese go onto the grill. Once the cheese is soft, sprinkle a teaspoon of parmesan in to add some of that salty taste.
  4. Use a little of the oil coming off the cheese, or a dab of butter on the grill to assist as you put the garlic, spinach and mushrooms on the side. Don’t let them mix yet, giving them a chance to get good and roasted before bringing them all together.
  5. Press the cheese down to ensure it’s frying, then scrape away the excess oil to prevent it from being absorbed by the bread which will make it soggy.
  6. Put one piece of bread on top, and use a spatula underneath to get everything off the grill, then complete the creation by resting it down on the other piece of parm grilled bread. Sprinkle a pinch chive on top, let it cool for about 3 minutes, and you’re ready to experience Pure Cheese!