The Big Cheese at Provision: On the other side of the lens

The Big Cheese at Provisions

Grilled Cheese Competition at Provision Market

I LOVE eating. Period. You’ll usually see me taking pictures and write about the latest and greatest events. However, I had an opportunity to be on the other side of the lens tonight. I became one of the Chefs competing for the #TheBigCheese2016 at Provision Market in Orange.  I became….one of them. One of the Chefs.

To be honest, I didn’t expect to win the Instagram contest hosted by Provision Market.  I mean, what are the odds I submit a picture of the ugliest looking grill cheese and win to become the “Pro-Amateur” and be part of the competition?  I never think my “Asian” Grill cheese will make it but the ingredients inside was everything I loved to eat.  So my ingredients was everything you would normally put on top of rice, but for today it was inside a cheese sandwich.  The ingredients included:

*Pineapple infused roast pork

*Charred Spam

*Kimchi & Pickled Cucumbers

*Wasabi Nori


All of this on a brioche buttered bun. Oh, I also made some of my famous Japanese sweet potato chips.  Sorry, I don’t have a picture of my sandwich (Thank goodness @Chef_Jay took one for me below) but I can attest the Spam lovers out there enjoyed my grilled cheese. It definitely was “different” and the cucumber was a “refreshing” take according to the attendees.

The Big Cheese-Asian Persuasion Grill Cheese

The Big Cheese-Asian Persuasion Grill Cheese. Photo Cred: @Chef_Jay

I do have to back up a bit though in my story-line since I had to prep everything for this event on the day of.  The pulled pork, the spam, the kimchi (wait, I bought that!), the pickled cucumbers, and the wasabi nori for garnish.  It was a LOT of work and I never knew there was so much involved as I had to prep in advance and set up everything myself during the competition. I have a LOT of respect for Chefs. Personally, I have worked in a kitchen before and the long hours associated with working inside a kitchen equals a LOTS of love from the  same people who makes your food.  The next time I attend these food events, I have even more RESPECT for the Chefs that puts their heart and soul into their creations.

Speaking of making food, you never expect to do so much work in a home kitchen until you’re notified to feed 100 people for the event. I pretty much took the whole day prepping my ingredients and I was just one of 12 lucky chefs for this event. This fun event at Provision Market, was perfect because they’re known for their beers.  They were one of the few places that was able to have Ground State from Bottle Logic. If you know about FO, you know this beer was the next most popular Stout form BL. Today, in addition to the grilled cheese tasting, it was also a Modern Times tap take over. They had Lomalands, Fruitlands, City of the Sun, City of the Dead. A ticket of an all inclusive price of $60 in advance in an intimate setting included all the samples you wanted and the Modern Times beer you wanted. It was definitely worth it’s weight in gold.

An list of amazing chefs were on hand, and I was humbled to be part of this great event.

Host Chef – Executive Chef Greg Daniels
OC Baking Co – Master Baker Dean Kim (supplying all breads)
ADYA – Executive Chef Shachi Mehra
Anepalco’s Café – Executive Chef Danny Godinez
Break of Dawn – Chef/Owner Dee Nguyen
Crema Café – Chef Tarit Tanjasiri & Chef Erick Simmons
Haven Gastropub – Chef de Cuisine Craig Brady
Mesa – Executive Chef Niki Starr
Orange Home Grown Farmers & Artisans Market – Lisa Gilmore
Provisions Market – Sous Chef Anthony Latteri
Sessions West Coast Deli – Executive Chef Max Schlutz
Vaca – Executive Chef Amar Santana
Working Class Kitchen – Executive Chef David Coleman
ProAm Challenger – Peter Hsieh

Amar Santana (Top Chef) with Me

Amar Santana (Top Chef) with Me

Of course, going up against all of these GREAT chefs were super intimidating. However, I did my best to pull through and crank out everything despite working in the hottest day of the week surrounded by butane grills. Thank goodness I like to cook.

Three hours of crazy assembling my grilled cheese sandwiches, it was coming to an end. It was a LOT of work and big thanks to my daughter to help stamp the tasting cards as every attendee was required to eat and get a stamp from every station in order to vote.  Big thanks to Chef Greg Daniels and Sous Chef Anthony Latteri from Provision for letting me use your grill and kitchen tools.  It was a super fun and memorable night.  Also big congrats to Lisa Gilmore from Orange Home Grown for her grilled “Cheese Maki” (A take on a Rumaki) and taking home the trophy tonight. Vaca, Provision, and Adya were tied for 2nd place.

Orange Home Grown (Winner 2016 Big Cheese Contest) Fontina, caramelized onions, dates, stuffed goat cheese, water chestnut, bacon, harvati, on marbled rye.

Orange Home Grown (Winner 2016 Big Cheese Contest) Fontina, caramelized onions, dates, stuffed goat cheese, water chestnut, bacon, harvati, on marbled rye.

To check out some of the other food pictures, please take a look at FastFood Maven’s Facebook Page.

Happy #NationalGrilledCheese Month. Thank you Dean Kim from OC Baking company for the bread and Tilamook for the cheese. It was a cheesy night I’ll never forget.

3rd The Big Cheese Grill Cheese Competition

Provision Market

143 N Glassell St, Orange, CA 92866

Craft beer lover, BBQ enthusiast, Wine taster, Tequila aficionado, All 'Kine Hawaiian and occasional marathoner to burn all this off.

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