Devils in the Details

This was the first time in cheesesteak bracket tournament history that judges ate every Cheesesteak in every match.  The judges used Philadelphia Cheesesteak Adventure’s 5 category 100 point scoring system to grade the cheesesteaks and determine a winner in every match.   We love making history and we love getting everyone involved so we also had a People’s Bracket.  The People’s bracket was completed by online voting and hosted by PhillyBite Magazine.  We started with 64 Cheesesteaks in a bracket style tournament.  We ended with a People’s Champion and a Judge’s Champion.  

My name is Jim Pappas.  I have eaten 834 different cheesesteaks in the last 3 years.  I am on a Philadelphia Cheesesteak Adventure, My quest for the ultimate cheesesteak.  I use a 5 category 100 point scoring system to grade each cheesesteak.  I take pictures and video of every cheesesteak.  On my website, www.philadelphiacheesesteakadventurecom I have a spreadsheet that has the score, notes, amenities and physical location for every cheesesteak I have eaten. 

This was the 2nd Annual March Cheesesteak Madness.  It is a bracket style tournament that mirrors the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament.  The tournament begins with 64 cheesesteaks seeded in 4 regions.  The regions are: 1. Philadelphia. 2. Delaware County. 3. NJ/DE. 4. The Other Philadelphia area counties (Chester, Montgomery, Bucks and Berks).  To ensure each region had an equal number of high scoring cheesesteaks, I sorted my cheesesteak spreadsheet by score and county (Philadelphia is also a county (NJ/DE is a collection of their counties)).  Each region had roughly 36 high scoring cheesesteaks.  From those 36 cheesesteaks came the 16 that represented their region in March Cheesesteak Madness.

The judges made a big gastronomic and time commitment to March Cheesesteak Madness. 64 cheesesteaks is a lot of cheesesteaks.  We were very happy that 9 people wanted to be judges.  Our judges represented the cheesesteak eating universe very well; one was a contestant on the TV show Chopped, one was a contestant on Master Chef, we had several ceWebrities, an expert eater, a photographer and an intern (someone else’s intern).  The judges for the round of Sweet 16 through the Finals were our most seasoned (pun intended) judges; 1. Chef Mark ‘The Brain’ Twersky, Corporate Chef and subject matter expert. 2. Diane ‘The Hammer’ Farina, event Planner extraordinaire and our hardest grading judge. And 3. Amigo Dan, regular contributor on Philadelphia Cheesesteak Adventure and resident ‘Roll Snob.’  We have ‘meet the judges’ videos, for all 9 judges, on www.marchcheesesteakmadness.com and on our facebook page; March Cheesesteak Madness.

This was a history making tournament.  Not only was this the first time in cheesesteak bracket tournament history that judges ate every Cheesesteak in every match.  And, we named both a 2021 March Cheesesteak Madness Winner And a People’s Champion.  We named Best of Philadelphia, Best of Delaware County, Best of NJ/DE and Best of Other Counties.  The Philadelphia Cheesesteak Adventure is my quest to find the Ultimate Cheesesteak and the tournament is designed to name a champion.  But, both are intended to celebrate all of the great  cheesesteaks and the wonderful people that toil behind hot grills to make them from us! 

For those of us that know the devil is in the details and want to know exactly how we got our winners, we will be posting a detailed summary of 2021 March Cheesesteak Madness in future articles. Thank you for reading and please stay tuned.

Drive to 1,000.  My name is Jim Pappas and I’ve eaten 835 different cheesesteaks as of today.  I want to get to 1,000 by the end of 2021.  I’m looking to have guest eaters join me.  Do you have a favorite spot I haven’t been to? Do you want to be a guest eater?   E-mail me; cheesesteakadventure@gmail.com

#driveto1,000