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The three finalists in our 4th annual Tillamook Cheese Factory Grilled Cheese Contest cook-off competed last Saturday, April 12th at the Cheese Factory to determine who makes the best darned Tillamook Grilled Cheese sandwich on the planet. From a field of 40 entries, narrowed to 6 semi-finalists, these three grilled cheese lovin’ finalists did their best to impress six judges to take the Grand Prize Winner title.  And impress they did with three very different, unique and cheesy recipes. Unlike last year’s contest, where the judges took only about 5 minutes to choose a winner, our judges this year took nearly 20 minutes of deliberation to come to a decision. And at the end of the day, the creator of the unique Raspberry Black Pepper Melt walked away with the $500 Grand Prize, along with a gift basket chock-full of Tillamook goodies and bragging rights for the best Tillamook Grilled Cheese. Kelly Aldrich of Spokane, Washington packed her sandwich with thick slices of Smoked Black Pepper White Cheddar, then grilled it up on thick, fluffy Grandma Sycamore’s white bread with tender grilled chicken and raspberry jam. The slightly sweet jam was a perfect contrast to the rich white cheddar with smoked black peppercorns.
Grilled Cheese Contest
But as we said, it was close!  The runners up were Renata Stanko of Lebanon, Oregon with her Johnny Appleseed’s Grilled Cheese Hog Sandwich featuring Sharp White Cheddar and Smoked Medium Cheddar with pork and apples, and local Amy Spence of Tillamook brought her Smokin’ Grilled Cheese Veggie Supreme, which she called “a salad in a sandwich” showcasing our Vintage White Smoked Extra Sharp Cheddar. Amy also took home the People’s Choice award, as determined by a round of applause from our audience, who had the opportunity to sample all three of these sandwich creations.
Grilled Cheese Contest Winner
Grand Prize winner Kelly’s sandwich will be featured at the Creamery Café at the cheese factory beginning Saturday, April 19th so come on out and give it a try!  Make plans now to join us next year for the 5th Annual Contest, and thanks for celebrating National Grilled Cheese month with us this April!


Jennifer G.

Way to go, Kelly! Your sandwich rocked! Plus, the win couldn't have been given to a nicer person. Way to hit it out of the park!

April 17th, 2014 at 9:37 am

Emily Vallies

Way to go mom! :)

April 20th, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Frances Benthin


The winning recipes look really great this year. Would have loved to have been there, but I'll try again next year!

The thing that always amazes me is that no mater what is combined with Tillamook, it always tastes better. You can't go wrong when Tillamook is on your table.


April 22nd, 2014 at 8:55 am

Tillamook Team

Hi Jennifer,

Woohoo! We're excited too! Kelly's sandwich was so delicious, I can't wait to recreate it at home.

All the best,

Lauren of the Tillamook team

April 22nd, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Tillamook Team

Hi Emily,

Is Kelly your mom? You must have had some great sandwiches growing up! She did a fantastic job and we're so happy to have her sandwich on the menu at the Creamery Cafe!

All the best,

Lauren of the Tillamook team

April 22nd, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Tillamook Team

Hi Frances,

Wow, thanks! We agree, the winners of our Grilled Cheese Contest made some pretty tasty looking sandwiches! Hopefully we'll see you at the Cheese Factory for the Grilled Cheese Contest next year.


Lauren of the Tillamook team

April 22nd, 2014 at 1:11 pm

The College Admissions Consultant, Inc.

We want to be in this contest next time.. the bread is as important as the cheese, and we will get a small side salad and wine to go with our cheese sandwich ---- please let us know!

April 23rd, 2014 at 10:02 pm

Tillamook Team


You should definitely enter our grilled cheese contest next year! Be sure to check our Loaf Life blog for more information in late March of next year!


Lauren of the Tillamook Team

April 25th, 2014 at 1:54 pm
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