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Savory Award-Winning Grilled Cheese

For those of you who didn’t read my L.A. Grilled Cheese Invitational, I’d suggest you start there to grasp the meaning of this particular grilled cheese. I’ll summarize by saying this sandwich is labor-intensive however worth every single minute!

No this is not quick, can’t be done in 30 minutes or less, and no its not healthy or vegan or gluten-free! It is a 2nd place award-winning sandwich in the largest grilled cheese competition in the world!

My friend, Adam, and I competed in the Grilled Cheese Invitation here in Los Angeles in 2013 amongst thousands of amateur as well as professional chefs. We created a savory sandwich so packed with flavor that we knocked it out of the park! Read the post for more details!

2013 L.A. Grilled Cheese Invitational (2nd place)!

Adam’s specialty was in roasting meats and mine was to create ingredients that played a tune to each of your taste buds so when you took a bite of our sandwich your mouth reached food orgasmic levels!


Sourdough bread

Smothered with Arugula Pesto

Jalapeno Apple Chutney

Thyme Infused Garlic Confit

Layered with Apple/Maple Glazed Ham

Candied Maple Bacon

All bounded together with ooey gooey Brie Cheese

The outside of the bread lathered with Thyme Infused Butter! Bam!

I recently had to re-create that sandwich seven years later to share with you all! In doing a colleague of mine and a few friends heard about this infamous sandwich known as P*rk Brie Baby One More Thyme. Due to COVID I couldn’t invite them over, therefore I made sandwich cook kits for them to make.

Each of them were astounded by how incredible the flavors were and unlike anything they have ever had!

Savory’s Tips and Tricks

Savory’s Pairing Recommendations

Since the sandwich is so incredibly savory I’d go with a light red or a dry rose or even a glass of bubbles!


grilled cheese sandwich

Award-Winning Grilled Cheese

Gourmet grilled cheese sandwich that is packed full of savory flavors that will leave you wanting more!
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Lunch
Cuisine American


  • 4 slices of sourdough bread
  • thyme infused butter
  • 2 tbsp jalapeno apple chutney
  • 2 tbsp arugula pesto
  • 2 tsp garlic confit
  • 4 slices of maple candied bacon
  • apple maple glazed ham, thinly sliced
  • brie cheese, thinly sliced and stretch it out the thinner the better for melthing

Thyme Infused Butter

  • 1 stick butter or 1/2 cup, unsalted at room tempature
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped thyme


  • For the butter mix all the ingredients and store in fridge if not using immediately.
  • Heat a non stick or iron caste pan over medium heat. Place one side of bread down and layer with arugula pesto, jalapeno apple chutney, garlic confit (make sure to smash the garlic), place a thin layer of brie cheese on top then layer with bacon and ham and top it off with another layer of brie cheese. Place 2nd slice of bread on top. Lather with the butter and place butter side down in pan.
  • Heat until golden brown and flip over. Sit heavy pan or a brick on top for even browning and ensure even cooking. Serve immediately!
Keyword corona comfort, grilled cheese, quarantine cooking, sandwich

Arugula Pesto

Becky Shergill
Made with parsley, walnuts, garlic, and parmesan for a unique twist on the classic!
Prep Time 10 mins
Course condiment
Cuisine Fusion


  • Food processor or blender


  • 3/4 cup olive oil, more or less pending on taste
  • 2 cups arugula, packed
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon, zest and juiced
  • 1 tsp salt

Jalapeno Apple Chutney


    • In a food processor, combine all ingredients except olive oil and pulse to blend. With the machine running, pour in the olive oil through the food tube in a slow, steady stream and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Taste and adjust the seasonings.


    • If you find it to bitter add in a little honey, sugar, or even maple syrup.
    • Add in a little pepper for added spice however arugula is already peppery. 
    • Add it to a pasta dish if not making my award-winning grilled cheese.
    Keyword arugula pesto, italian, pesto
    jalapeno apple chutney

    Jalapeno Apple Chutney

    Spicy, sweet, and warm is what you get with this recipe that is the perfect condiment to a cheese board, pork loin, or even ribs!
    Prep Time 10 mins
    Cook Time 20 mins
    Total Time 30 mins
    Course condiment
    Cuisine Fusion


    • 3 granny smith apples, cored and peeled
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 red onion, finely diced
    • 1 jalapeno, deseeded, minced
    • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar I prefer to use coconut palm
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • salt to taste


    • Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, jalapeno, and saute until lightly browned (about 5-7 minutes). Add in bay leaf and cumin. Reduce heat to medium-low.
    • Stir in apples and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add brown sugar, vinegar, and salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer over low heat and cover for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.
    • Let cool. Serve at room temperature or chilled.


    • Adjust seasonings according to taste-if you want more spicy add in cayenne pepper; if you want more sweet add in some honey or more sugar; if you want more tangy add in a little lemon/vinegar. 
    Keyword jalapeno apple chutney,, spicy jam

    Garlic Confit

    Course condiment
    Cuisine French


    • 2 cups garlic cloves, peeled I like to buy the pre-peeled cloves
    • 6 thyme sprigs
    • 3 dried red chiles, chiles de arbol
    • 1 cup pure olive oil


    • Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer over low heat until the garlic is tender but not browned, about 30 minutes. Let cool.
    • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic, herbs and chiles to three 1/2-pint canning jars. Pour the cooking oil over the top and seal. Store in refrigerator for up to 4 months.
    Keyword garlic confit

    Candied Maple Bacon

    So savory and finger licking good that is perfect in my award winning grilled cheese or served in a bloody mary 🙂
    Prep Time 5 mins
    Cook Time 30 mins
    Total Time 35 mins


    • 1 lb. thick cut bacon, good quality
    • 1/2 cup maple syrup, grade A or B
    • 1 tsp dijon mustard
    • freshly ground black pepper


    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy foil. Place a baking rack over the lined sheet tray and arrange the bacon slices across the rack next to each other, not overlapping.
    • In a small bowl, whisk the maple syrup and mustard. Generously spoon over the top of the bacon, and bake 12 to 15 minutes. Turn the bacon over and baste with syrup mixture.
    • Bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until the bacon has reached desired crispiness. Carefully remove the pan from the oven. Sprinkle hot bacon with a scant pinch of finely ground black pepper. Let the bacon rest on the rack for 5 minutes.


    • I don’t have a baking rack so I used my inner rack for the roaster and it worked! You’ll need something to drain the fat so the bacon can carmelize and not come out into a sticky fatty mess. 

    Apple Maple Glazed Ham

    Quick flavorful way to enjoy ham whether its in my grilled cheese or in a salad or for dinner!
    Prep Time 10 mins
    Cook Time 25 mins
    Total Time 35 mins
    Course Dinner
    Cuisine American


    • 2 bone in ham steaks
    • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 1/4 cup apple jelly
    • 1/4 cup maple syrup
    • 1 tsp whole grain mustard
    • 1/4 tsp allspice
    • 1/8 tsp nutmeg


    • Whisk the vinegar, apple jelly, maple syrup, mustard, allspice, nutmeg in a small bowl.
    • Glaze both sides and bake in 350 F. degree oven in baking dish for 20 minutes.
    Keyword grilled cheese, ham steak

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    3 replies on “Savory Award-Winning Grilled Cheese”

    Good Lord what a sammich! I’m horrible at cooking but this sandwich made me feel like a 5 star chef. Never have I eaten a homemade sandwich which tasted like it should be in the menu of a high priced restaurant. This sammich truly deserves its award and quite savory indeed. I encourage you to try this sammich and NOT have your eyes bulge out on the first taste… Freaking amazing 👌

    Pork Brie Baby One More Thyme again and again. Like a party for your tastebuds! What a wonderful combo of sweet and savory. I didn’t know it was possible to improve on the grilled cheese but you have gone way above and beyond.

    Thank you, Becky, for sharing your talents, your stories, your journey.

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    Too taking this journey with me—lets see where it takes us……


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