Paul Inserra was right to feel confident about his American Meltdown entries at last Saturday’s Grilled Cheese Invitational in Los Angeles. He competed in three categories and was honored in each one.
“All of the melts had some ingredients from North Carolina, which is great,” says Inserra, who called from LAX Monday while awaiting his flight home.
Inserra was especially pleased to have snagged a Judge’s Award for excellence in the Kama Sutra, or “anything goes,” category for American Meltdown’s Hangover Melt. The signature sandwich features homemade pimento cheese, a runny egg and salsa verde in bread from Durham’s Guglhupf Bakery.
In the Honey Pot dessert group, where he had minimal expectations, Inserra took third place for a not-too-sweet combination that tucked sheep’s milk ricotta, toasted pecans and a peach-balsamic compote between slices of buttery brioche from La Farm in Cary.
He also claimed second-place honors for a still-unnamed entry in the Missionary group, which allows just bread, cheese and butter. Inserra amped up his original plan by melting Durham Jack cheese from Cultured Cow inside Guglhupf bread— with a game-changing slice of grilled Havarti seared to the outer crust. “I’ll have to come up with a good name for it because we’ll sell it now,” Inserra quips. “Maybe, Grilled Cheese of Champions.”
Fans get to share the love when American Meltdown resumes its mobile food truck schedule on Tuesday. New award-winning melts will debut on May 1 at the Stuff Your Face Food Truck Dinner in Raleigh. The five-course meal, to be held at City Market’s Cobblestone Hall, will spotlight several vendors and raise money to defray costs of staging Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo events. Mint Julep Jazz Band will perform.
Jill Warren Lucas is a freelance writer in Raleigh who blogs at Eating My Words. Follow her at @jwlucasnc.