By Miranda Cyr
Rock the Fork Phoenix takes hot cheese and bread to the next level with their Grilled Cheese Festival from Saturday, February 9 to Sunday, February 10.
The Grilled Cheese Festival, one event in their “Battle of Culinary Masters!” series, will host 10 grilled cheese vendors who will compete to earn the title of Culinary Master. On top of enjoying the sandwiches, attendees will become the judges as they taste dishes from the different vendors, then take to social media to talk about their favorites.
“It’s very hard to find a good grilled cheese, and we’ve vetted these guys thoroughly before booking them,” says Aspen Decker, Executive Producer of Rock the Fork Phoenix. “We didn’t want to have just any random vendors in here. We had to make sure they were recommended by our users.”
The competing vendors will be High & Rye, Panini and a Prayer, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, North Mountain Brewing, Cheese E Wagon, Frashers Smokehouse, Burchies, The Hangar Scottsdale, Sundail Garden Café and Munchbox, which will each serve their unique twist on the simple snack. The event will also feature live and DJ music and a sit-down restaurant area for guests who want to take a break from the vendor lines. The sit-down experience will be run by Grilled Cheese Festival’s sponsor, Bites, which is a mobile app that finds personal chefs to cook in your home.
Selling cheesy treats isn’t this festival’s only goal. The venue, Horse Lover’s Park, is run by a nonprofit that Rock the Fork Phoenix supports.
“We saw the opportunity to do something here, instead of paying the city some random budget,” Decker says. “We would rather pay a charity that has the same mission and goals as we do.”
Although Rock the Fork is a for-profit company, their goal is to positively impact the community with their ideals of park conservation and beautification, environmental protection and sustainability, and ending hunger.
The Grilled Cheese Festival will be held at Horse Lover’s Park, where all of Rock the Fork Phoenix’s events will be held. Decker says they plan to develop the park to better suit their needs for future festivals, but for now they will prepare for the weekend event as is.
“If they love grilled cheese this is the place to be,” Decker says. “Who doesn’t love a grilled cheese?”
Grilled Cheese Festival – A Battle of Culinary Masters!, Horse Lovers Park, 19224 N. Tatum Blvd, Phoenix, https://rockthefork.com/grilled-cheese-festival, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, February 9, to Sunday February 10, students $10, general admission $15 and VIP $30.